San Francisco-based Prologis is hoping to build more than a million square feet of warehouse space near the formerly contested border of Zionsville and Whitestown.
The Zionsville Plan Commission voted this month in favor of Prologis’ request to rezone 76 acres of farmland in Perry Township near State Road 267 and County Road 550. The shift from agricultural to industrial zoning paves the way for a $50 million project featuring two new 550,000-square-foot warehouses on land Whitestown and Zionsville once fought to annex.
Matt Price, a partner with the Dentons law firm in Indianapolis, represented Prologis at the meeting. He said the company has seen retailers increase their inventories and customer demand for e-commerce accelerate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The general feeling is the industry was healthy before, but I think in light of recent events with the pandemic, it has laid bare some of the weaknesses of a just-in-time supply chain,” Price said. “There’s a sense they’ll need more facilities to allow greater inventory holdings by those who deal directly with consumers.”
As Prologis seeks to add new warehouse sites, residents of Perry Township are worried their efforts to avoid industrial developments will fall to the wayside.
In 2014, Zionsville annexed Perry Township and Whitestown immediately filed suit to claim the area for itself. After a local court struck down the reorganization, the case ultimately went to the Indiana Supreme Court, and that body decided to uphold the merger. Though Whitestown’s Perry Industrial Park has expanded along Interstate 65, neighbors are worried Prologis will crowd an area they fought to protect from development.
“There was a whole group of people that petitioned to join the town of Zionsville just to prevent this from happening,” Zionsville Plan Commission member Larry Jones said.
Price said a great number of Zionsville residents also thought of the consolidation as an opportunity to diversify the town’s tax base. Even if Prologis were to pursue a tax abatement, the $50 million project could generate almost 2.5 times the assessed value of both sides of Zionsville’s Main Street, he said.
“It’s a very significant opportunity to increase our tax base even—with an abatement—in ways that are otherwise not available to the town,” Price said.
Prologis ranks first on IBJ’s latest list of the largest Indianapolis-area commercial real estate developers after developing 25 million square feet of industrial warehouse space in 2019. The company’s website lists 31 locations in Fishers, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Lebanon, Mt. Comfort and Plainfield. It also has a 500,000-square-foot warehouse less than a mile away from the Perry Township site, at 5300 Performance Way in Whitestown.
Representatives from Prologis did not respond to the IBJ’s request for comment. The proposed rezoning will be heard at the Zionsville Town Council’s July 6 meeting, and Prologis will have to submit a development plan for a public hearing before the project can be approved.