In first major project since Waterside exit, Ambrose plans logistics center campus in Mount Comfort

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Mount Comfort logistics
The first building in Mount Comfort Logistics Center would be 508,000 square feet. (Rendering courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

In its first major project announced since backing out of its $1.4 billion Waterside project in September, Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group says it plans to spend at least $78 million on the first phase of a new industrial development near Mount Comfort in Hancock County.

The firm on Tuesday broke ground on a 508,104-square-foot logistics center at the northwest corner of West County Road 300 North and North County Road 400 West. It’s the first of four buildings planned for the 166-acre Mount Comfort Logistics Center to be developed by Ambrose.

According to public records, the land is owned by two parties—John Bell and New Urban Classic Communities LLC—although Ambrose has control of the property.

Ambrose foresees Mount Comfort Logistics Center targeting e-commerce and logistics tenants. The building is being constructed on a speculative basis—meaning that it does not yet have a dedicated tenant or buyer. It will be expandable to more than 660,000 square feet.

Ambrose said the $78 million does not include tenant build-out, which could cause the cost to grow significantly.

The logistics campus has additional significance because it’s the first development announced by Ambrose since it scrapped the high-profile, 91-acre Waterside project it had planned at the former General Motors stamping plant site on the west side of downtown Indianapolis. Ambrose had pitched Waterside as a transformational project for the west side, populated with office buildings and retail and residential development.

The firm is now embroiled in a battle with the Hogsett administration over disposition of the land and whether the city can claim it via eminent domain.

The four buildings in Mount Comfort Logistics Center are expected to range from 200,000 to more than 800,000 square feet. All four structures last month received 10-year tax abatements from the Hancock County Council.

It was not immediately clear how much Ambrose could save in property taxes from the abatements.

“The Mount Comfort Logistics Center is a key component of our proactive plan to prepare for the growth we know is coming to the Mt. Comfort corridor,” Randy Sorrell, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said in a media release. “We look forward to working with Ambrose to market this future-focused development to high-credit e-commerce and logistics tenants.” 

Each of the four buildings will be marketed by the Indianapolis office of Los Angeles-based real estate brokerage CBRE, although lease prices have not been made public.

“As we continue to focus our business on industrial and e-commerce development, we are excited to be part of Mount Comfort’s visionary plan for thoughtful economic growth,” said Grant Goldman, executive vice president at Ambrose, in a media release

He said Ambrose chose the land “because it was earmarked for exactly this type of development.”

Its logistics center project comes as the Indianapolis-area industrial market continues a years-long hot streak that has vacancies near all-time lows and rents near all-time highs.

Ambrose said it utilized the Mt. Comfort Corridor Regional Development Plan to determine the scope of its project, including a focus on the area’s history as a hub for agricultural practices, advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and agri-tourism.

“We look forward to partnering with area residents and business leaders to create a space that benefits the community,” Goldman said.

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