For more than a decade, a 13-acre property off County Line Road in Greenwood has remained empty while office buildings were constructed around it.
The property doesn’t front the busy road, but developers think it is the perfect spot for businesses looking for office space and storage.
Now, the plan is to build five, 24,000-square-foot office buildings on the property, with room in each for up to eight businesses, such as landscaping companies or a small construction firm, with warehouse space for storing equipment or shipments.
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County Line Properties, the company that wants to develop the office buildings, has asked the city of Greenwood for a 10-year property tax break on the first building, and could ask for more when future buildings are constructed, said Steve Huddleston, an attorney for the company.
Across central Indiana, construction of office buildings — including ones that don’t yet have tenants — is on the rise, said Trevor Kirsh, senior research analyst for commercial retail firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Northside communities, including Carmel and the Keystone at the Crossing area in Indianapolis, have already had an increase in construction of new office space, including speculative buildings that don’t yet have businesses lined up to move in. That type of construction had been on hold for years, Kirsh said.
Recent studies also have shown the amount of available office space in Greenwood and on the southside is shrinking.
For example, in the first quarter of 2016, the vacancy rate for office space on the southside was 10.5 percent, down 1 percentage point from the last quarter of 2015, according to reports from Cushman & Wakefield.
And the trend has been ongoing. In the Greenwood area, the vacancy rate in the first quarter was 16.9 percent, which is significantly down from 2014, when the rate was almost 10 percentage points higher at 26.5 percent, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE.
The developers estimate the new office buildings in Greenwood, which would be built off Airport Parkway, south of County Line Road, would bring new jobs that would pay higher than the county average. According to paperwork filed with the city, the company estimates the average salary for those jobs at $60,000, and that a company using 3,000 square feet of space would have at least six employees.
Two companies have already committed to move into the first building: engineering and surveying firm Projects Plus, which is looking to relocate and expand, and a real estate and construction firm that is moving from Indianapolis. The companies plan to expand and are looking to add up to five employees each in future years, the paperwork said.
The developers expect more businesses to be interested in the office space, including one company that employs 95 people, according to the paperwork filed with the city.
County Line Properties plans to invest $1.8 million in the first office building, and has asked for a 10-year break on property taxes for the building and property. That would save the company more than $137,000 in taxes, but would also bring in more taxes than the city is earning currently from the property, Huddleston said.
The city council and redevelopment commission would both need to approve the request.
If approved, construction on the office building could begin yet this year.