Indianapolis-based trucking company Celadon Group Inc. is starting to move dirt as it prepares to build a $24 million corporate campus in the Mount Comfort area.
Publicly traded Celadon has had its headquarters at East 33rd Street and Mitthoeffer Road in Indianapolis since 1996. In March, IBJ reported the company was looking elsewhere because the 40-acre site on the east side had no room for expansion and was landlocked. Mout Comfort was the leading contender at the time.
It bought the Hancock County site in July, based mostly on its proximity to Interstate 70, Celadon spokesman Joe Weigel said. The company also received a 10-year property-tax abatement from the county to offset development costs.
“The biggest thing is that it’s literally right off the interstate, so it will be very convenient for our drivers,” Weigel said. “There’s a lot of space. We won’t be landlocked.”
Celadon provides trucking services throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico and is one of the nation’s biggest trucking companies. The firm employs 900 locally and a total of 4,000, including drivers spread across the country.
Celadon intends to keep a presence on the east side, Weigel said. Its driving school is at 33rd Street and Post Road, and the company’s warehousing group moved into a former Walmart Neighborhood Market at 30th Street and Mitthoeffer Road.
But losing 500 corporate employees is a big blow for the city of Indianapolis and a major win for Hancock County.
“We’re already hearing a lot of land-use speculation [in Mount Comfort] for restaurants and retail space,” said Mike Dale, executive director of the Hancock County Area Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. “There’s a significant inventory of undeveloped land out there.”
Celadon is building on 168 acres on West County Road 300 North near Mount Comfort Road, north of Interstate 70. As envisioned earlier this year, the project would include a four-story, 54,000-square-foot office building, a 73,000-square-foot maintenance facility, a 30,000-square-foot dormitory for drivers in training, and a medical clinic.
Meanwhile, Celadon is uncertain about what to do with its current headquarters on the east side.
“Whether we’re going to sell it or have one of our other operations move into it is still to be determined,” Weigel said.
In its latest fiscal year, Celadon reported revenue of $901 million, ranking it 13th on IBJ’s 2016 list of largest public companies in the Indianapolis area.
Former CEO Steve Russell, who died in April, started Celadon in New York City in 1985 and moved it to more centrally located Indianapolis the following year. In August 2015, Russell relinquished his role as chairman to Paul Will, who had succeeded him as CEO in 2012.