"The thought is this leverages the first investment for the park and we hope it will open up others," said Matt Reardon, an associate for consulting firm SEH who is the county's economic development coordinator.
ICS Logistics plans to locate a distribution center just south of the CSX railroad's mainline at a site in the Kingsbury Industrial Park. The distribution center will have cold storage and ship fruits, vegetables and fish.
ICS Logistics plans to invest $50 million. Economic development officials say 135 people will work at the distribution center.
The memorandum of understanding signed recently lays the ground work for a full agreement with CSX Corp., Halfwassen Group and ICS Logistics, Reardon said. Respectively, those are the railroad that will build a spur to the site, the developer, and the company that will operate the cold storage facility that will be shipping food products.
The county plans to use $6 million in Major Moves state highway money to install the rail spur and roads, according to Reardon. The state of Indiana and CSX also are contributing to the project. The state also signed the memorandum of understanding.
A tax increment financing district has already been formed for the site that will allow additional property taxes collected to be plowed back into other projects at the Kingsbury Industrial Park, according to Tim Gropp, executive director of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp.
Gropp hopes a full agreement for the ICS Logistics project can be completed in early 2010 and ground broken later in the year.
There are more than 2,000 acres in the area already zoned for industrial development that could be used for other projects, Gropp said.
In the past, economic development officials have talked about landing a major intermodal yard to facilitate transfers between trucks and railroads at Kingsbury or nearby Union Mills. Although those projects have not materialized, Gropp and others say the ICS Logistics distribution center is a significant step forward.
"The ultimate goal of this project is to spur growth in the Kingsbury Industrial Park," Gropp said.