A Texas industrial developer plans to spend at least $325 million to build a massive, 7 million-square-foot business park in Whiteland for users in the logistics and distribution industry.
Dallas-based Mohr Capital has already broken ground on the first building in the master-planned Mohr Logistics Park—a 1 million-square-foot distribution center to be leased by Cooper Tire—and has several more in the early planning stages.
The project is expected to span about 475 acres west of Interstate 65 and north of Whiteland Road, and could cost between $325 to $350 million. The land required for the development is all under contract, with part of the site now going through town zoning approvals.
“I think it is a boost for Indianapolis that people are willing to come in and invest so much into industrial development,” Bob Mohr, president of Mohr Capital, told IBJ. “I think it says a lot for not only Whiteland, but for the city and the potential growth of industrial development in e-commerce.”
Most of the park is expected to be built on a speculative basis, so it’s unclear how many jobs could be created by its tenants. The buildings are all expected to be used for logistics and distribution purposes, rather than heavy manufacturing.
The master plan, which Mohr executives acknowledged could be modified over the next several years to adapt to client needs, includes 10 industrial buildings. Six of the buildings would be 600,000 square feet or more, while four smaller buildings would range from 111,000 square feet to 330,000 square feet. Four of the six larger buildings would be expandable.
A hotel and some retail are also planned for the development, along with 16 water detention ponds. CBRE is handling the leasing for the development.
Mohr is an Indiana native—his younger brother, Andy Mohr, owns several car dealerships here—and said he is looking forward to making central Indiana the site of his firm’s largest project to date. A specific timeline for the development has not yet been finalized, although it’s likely to take several years.
Indianapolis based Curran Architecture is the lead design team on the project, while American StructurePoint is the civil engineer. Chicago-based Pepper Construction is building the Cooper Tire building.
Plans for the park started to take shape after Mohr began looking for a new site to replace Cooper Tire’s Franklin facility, which it rapidly outgrew after locating there in 2009. The land deal for the Whiteland site included dozens of adjoining acres, leading the firm to pursue assembling more land for a large-scale industrial park, said Gary Horn, chief investment officer for Mohr Capital.
“We really like the market and we really like the labor force,” he said.
Construction of the Cooper Tire facility is expected to be finished by February. Incentives have also been awarded for the project.
Mohr said he considers the project “a shot in the arm” for Johnson County, which has long been a popular spot for industrial development. But most of the Greenwood and Franklin areas—particularly near Interstate 465 and U.S. 31—have little land still available, while the Whiteland area still has plenty of available land for industrial projects.
“This is by far the largest (project) that we’ve done,” said Horn. “And we think that this is superior site to a lot of the other options in the market, so we’re excited.”
The Mohr project is the second major industrial development announced for the Whiteland Road interchange in as many years. In June 2019, Kansas City, Missouri-based Jones Development Co. began work on a 167-acre industrial park on the south side of Whiteland Road, across from the Mohr project.
Jones will spend up to $30 million to construct two industrial buildings, as part of the first phase of its Whiteland Exchange business park. The project is expected to total up to 2.4 million square feet once it’s completed. Avison Young is handling the leasing for that project.