Ambrose requests tax break for redevelopment of former Navistar site

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A rendering of a building at Indianapolis Central Logistics Park. (Image courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

Ambrose Property Group is asking city officials for a tax abatement on a new, $23 million speculative industrial building planned at the former Navistar property on the east side.

The Indianapolis-based firm plans to break ground later this year on the building—its first at the 93-acre site that Ambrose has branded Indianapolis Central Logistics Park at the intersection of Brookville Road and South Arlington Avenue.

The building would be a 616,000-square-foot warehouse along the western edge of the property. It could be expanded to 1.2 million square feet, depending on tenant needs. The initial structure, with about 600,000 square feet of leasable space including a 2,500-square-foot office area, is expected to occupy about 44 acres on the Navistar site.

Ambrose is asking the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission to approve a property tax abatement on the building that would save the firm about $2.6 million over seven years. The firm expects the facility will create at least 100 jobs with a base wage of no less than $18 an hour by the end of 2023.

A spokesperson for Ambrose said the firm hopes to secure a tax abatement because it will “aid in the attraction of qualified tenants that provide high quality jobs on the property,” while also making the new logistics park competitive with those found in surrounding counties.

The company plans to target “opportunity industries” for the project. Those industries are generally business sectors that provide opportunities for worker advancement without requiring a bachelor’s degree. The firm has hired Colliers to market the building.

At base level, the Ambrose abatement would be for five years with tax savings of up to $1.98 million. But it could increase to seven years and $2.64 million in total savings, if Ambrose is able to secure an opportunity industry tenant that occupies at least 51% of one of the buildings.

During the proposed five-year abatement period, Ambrose still would pay about $1.27 million in real property taxes on the improvements, on top of the nearly $51,500 paid annually on the existing property. After the abatement period, it would pay about $603,300 annually in real property taxes.

If Ambrose secures a tenant that would qualify the site for an abatement extension, the company would pay about $1.9 million in taxes on the improvements over the enhanced abatement term.

According to the logistics park’s website, the buildout for the first structure is expected to start in June and conclude by February 2022.

Ambrose acquired the Navistar property at 5655 S. Brookville Road in mid-July for $8.2 million, with plans to spend up to $75 million on its redevelopment. The property has been vacant since 2015, when Illinois-based Navistar International Corp. closed its foundry operations there.

The former International Harvester Co.—which employed as many as 1,650 workers in 2005—made a range of products, from farm implements to refrigerators to diesel engines. The engine plant ceased operations in 2009 after more than seven decades of production at the site, followed in 2015 by the foundry.

Former owner Cleveland-based Park Corp., which acquired the property from Navistar in 2016, demolished the plant in 2018 after efforts to lease the existing structures were unsuccessful.

The property was later included in the Brookville Road and Irvington Plaza Economic Development Area that the city created in May 2019, along with other major parts of the east-side corridor, such as the former Ford Visteon site and Irvington Plaza. The redevelopment area, which aims to create jobs and enhance development opportunities, provides a variety of tax credit and incentive programs to developers.

Ambrose told IBJ last year it has already responded to five requests for proposals from companies interested in the Navistar site, but declined to share details. The firm also indicated it plans to seek state incentives to develop the property, in addition to those it’s asking for from the city.

The company plans to spend about $103,000 on new sidewalks and crosswalk upgrades surrounding the property, including the addition of ramps and tactile pads for those with disabilities. It also plans to help add new street lighting to the area surrounding the development.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is expected to consider the request during its meeting Wednesday afternoon.

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6 thoughts on “Ambrose requests tax break for redevelopment of former Navistar site

  1. Why give Ambrose more City money? Didn’t they already pocket a huge profit for not doing their Waterside development at the GM Plant site?