According to Dax Norton, Boone County Economic Development Corp. executive director, two separate groups are showing a strong interest in purchasing the Dow and Ripberger properties.
Norton was not able to give the names of the groups because both have asked for confidentiality until the deal is done.
Norton told the members of the Zionsville Redevelopment Commission the news during their monthly meeting Monday night, July 23.
“For as long as I’ve been here, we have desperately sought for the Dow property to become a site to produce revenue,” he said. “We had always hoped to move it into the hands of a private company that would work with the town. I am happy to say there is a private group interested in purchasing and forming a public-private partnership.”
Norton said the RDC should spend $50,000 to help develop what the partnership will entail.
“A lot of times, partnerships don’t work out because people go into it blindly,” he said. “With that in mind, we want to be spending time to organize the system and have the best interests of the town, the schools, the RDC and develop that plan. You could have them move forward with their money, and you can move forward with improvements in that area. I think it would be funds well spent.”
Norton said the private group is ready to move forward with the purchase of the land.
“They are very energetic,” he said. “I think they are very close to getting the property out of Dow’s hands.”
RDC member John Tousley wanted to be sure the private group had some background in purchasing land before making a commitment.
“This type of stuff is very much what they do,” Norton said. “Most people, if I said the name, would know who they are and what they do.”
Norton said there was a developer looking at the Ripberger property, which is south of 106th Street .
“In February, I met with a representative interested in a site in the area because they felt it was a good area to take a risk on,” he said. “They are looking at a business park with four or five lots. Quite often with a project like this, you don’t have a company that will occupy 50 percent of it right off the bat, but they have that.”
Norton said the Ripberger project would have a huge impact on the Tax Increment Financing funds.
“Part of the project is a $40 million investment in the town,” he said. “Right now, the TIF funds are at about $67 million. This one project would bring in $40 million, and that does not include any improvements that would need to be made to the land.”
Norton said that Bennett Parkway would need to be extended south through the property and water and sewer lines extended through the area.
Norton said the developer will be a good partner for the town.
“The client is incredibly reliable,” he said. “This is a client who expects you to respect their confidentiality and will move away if you don’t and take all of that assessed value somewhere else.”
The RDC will hold their next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, in the Town Hall Conference Center, 1100 W. Oak St.