An IndyCar racing team and a vehicle engineering company could energize a struggling Zionsville business park with new headquarters buildings and 600 high-paying jobs.
The town of Zionsville is working with Brownsburg-based Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and an unnamed vehicle engineering company to build the headquarters on two undeveloped lots in Creekside Corporate Park. If both companies’ plans are realized, it would mean 600 new jobs in Zionsville averaging six-figure salaries, Mayor Emily Styron said.
Those deals aren’t set in stone, though.
“Just the fact that we’ve got two different entities that want to locate their work, their businesses, in Zionsville, is a step we haven’t seen in a long time,” Styron said.
The Zionsville Redevelopment Commission has purchase offers for Lot 10 and Lot 11 in the park. Styron said the town is under a nondisclosure agreement as it works with the companies to envision what the buildings might look like.
If Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing does choose to build in the park, the company is expected to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to serve as a place to showcase its race cars and educate the community about IndyCar racing. About 100 people would work at the facility.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s spokesperson was noncommittal.
“We are exploring options and Zionsville is one of them,” Kathi Luterbach, vice president of communications for the racing team, said in an email.
Founded in 1992, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is co-owned by three-time IndyCar champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. The team has operations in Brownsburg and Hilliard, Ohio.
Meanwhile, the unidentified vehicle engineering company also is planning to build a 100,000-square-foot office building. Styron said the tech company is already established outside of Boone County, and that its move to the park would bring 500 engineering and manufacturing jobs to town.
Creekside Corporate Park’s first six years have gotten off to a slow start, with just a couple of businesses actually developing facilities in the park’s 91 acres along West 106th Street, east of Zionsville Road.
Lids Sports Group was the first to build in the park in 2016, but the company moved its operations to Indianapolis last year, leaving behind a 150,000-square-foot building on 16 acres. Indianapolis-based insurance holding company Group1001 has plans to use at least some of the building this year after buying it for $18.25 million late in November.
Creekside Corporate Park’s only other tenant is health care reimbursement consulting firm DK Pierce & Associates, which spent $4.5 million to move into a new building at 5400 W. 106th St. in 2017.
“We’ve figured out what the log jam is and as a result, we are seeing immediate results,” Styron said. “Several of the folks who told me during the campaign that they’d tried to secure land for building a new corporate presence there found that there wasn’t a clear process, from A to Z.”
Styron said the town is now steering companies interested in Creekside Corporate Park to Wayne DeLong, the town’s director of planning and economic development.
Styron said the town has also eliminated a development standard at the park that required any company that built there to invest $1.4 million per square acre.
“They were trying to drive assessed valuation for the town by doing that,” Styron said. “We proved—over a five- or six-year period when we couldn’t get anyone to build there—that we spent more than the market believes it’s worth. It’s a sunk cost. What we have to do is look at the market today and attract investment based on what is going to secure a deal.”
Styron said the town is discussing incentive packages with companies that may include a land deal for as little as $1, but she does not anticipate offering tax-based incentives.
“I am more interested in helping you get in and start building and employing people in Creekside and lowering that entry point than giving a lot of tax breaks,” she said.