The future of 900 acres of farmland in St. Joseph County

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- St. Joseph County is trying to lay the groundwork for a new massive development.

A buyer is interested in more than 900 acres of farmland off Cleveland Road, but first it has to be rezoned as industrial.

Tuesday the county's area plan commission voted six to two to give a favorable recommendation for that rezoning.

The buyer is still unknown.

But according to filings with the county they're looking at building some kind of business tech campus, not a manufacturing site, at the property now owned by St. Joe Farms.

ABC57's Annie Kate learned Tuesday the buyer plans to build three buildings, up to 600,000 sq. ft. each, plus an electrical substation. The adjacent parking lot will include one spot for every 3,000 sq. ft. of developed land. They will have the City of Mishawaka extend utility services to the site. They will implement a 200-foot green space buffer surrounding Juday Creek.

The 900 acres of farmland off Cleveland Road between Bittersweet and Currant, now owned by St. Joe Farms, is the proposed site of what's only being described as a business tech campus.

The Director of Economic Development for St. Joseph County, Bill Schalliol, says the entire plot of land needs to be rezoned as industrial before it can be sold to the still-unnamed buyer.

"We really only have one industrial zoning classification. And this really, the proposed potential project doesn't really fall under a typically industrial classification," said Schalliol.

The first phase of the project would be on the north side of Cleveland with three buildings with a 300-person workforce and 1.1 million square feet of building space.

At Tuesdays' area plan commission meeting, owner of St. Joe Farms, Paul Blum, said he wants to sell his farmland to attract more development to the area.

“I am 100 percent in favor of prosperity, and I do not want my kids to leave and my 16 grandkids to be someplace else,” said Blum.

Tuesday's rezoning ordinance proposal moved forward with a favorable recommendation from the Area Plan Commission to the County Council and the rezoning ordinance proposal can be found in the agenda for the meeting.

Next the rezoning will go to the council committee on April 23, then to council for a final vote on May 14.

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