A Logistics Hot Spot

Published Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A 2005 Holladay Properties' rendering of the proposed Ameriplex at Portage Prairie development showed 600 acres of land planned for residential, retail, commercial, medical services, research and development, light industrial and office use. While the goal of "mixed-use" didn't quite come to fruition for the development along Adams Road and the east side of the U.S. 31 Bypass northwest of South Bend, a funny thing happened instead. Over a decade later, the development, now referred to as Ameriplex at Interstate 80/90, is swiftly becoming a global hub for logistics, warehousing and distribution.

Today, the Ameriplex at I-80/90 business park occupies 450 acres. Global giants like Hubbell/RACO, Global Parts Network, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, Chase Plastics, Communications Test Design, Inc. (CTDI), Federal-Mogul, Pepsi Corp., AM General, Mossberg & Company, and ThyssenKrupp call the business park and surrounding area home to their massive distribution operations.

And, more is on the way. Real estate development firm Great Lakes Capital built several spec buildings north of the business park over the last couple of years, one being occupied by CTDI. The CTDI building is an enormous 315,000-square-foot facility, which represented the first building as part of the real estate developer's Phase II of the development, about 120 acres, north of Adams Road just off I-90.

Great Lakes Capital also says that they have room for an additional 1.3 million square feet of development. The company recently completed a modern 210,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution spec building, and ground will be broken soon on another spec building north of the CTDI facility.


State Advantages

What many may not know is that Indiana is also becoming a global leader in logistics due to its "crossroads of America" location. When it comes to reaching North American markets, the state's location means it can provide access to 80% of the U.S. and Canadian populations within a one-day drive.
The state also has 14 interstate highways, ranking first in number of pass-through interstates, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The state also ranks third in total freight railroads and has the second largest FedEx air hub worldwide.

A 2017 State of Logistics Industry report from Conexus Indiana showed that the logistics industry made up 3.3% of the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounted for more than 4% of jobs in Indiana (44% above the national average at that time). Conexus Indiana's 2018 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card for the United States gave Indiana an A grade for logistics health. Governor Holcomb's Next Level Agenda, which includes strengthening the state's infrastructure, continues to solidify Indiana's position in the logistics industry.


Local & Regional Advantages

While Indianapolis may be viewed as the state's logistics leader, our region could claim the number two position in the state for logistics.

Our region's location and access to transportation are key assets. For instance, transportation accessibility for tenants in and around the Ameriplex at I-80/90 development have enhanced our region's growth in logistics. The park is only approximately two miles north of the Indiana Toll Road, and is about five miles from the South Bend International Airport. Our close proximity to three major cities, Chicago (96 miles), Indianapolis (138 miles) and Detroit (215 miles) adds to the region's allure.

The nearby Elkhart Rail Yard is the nation's second largest rail switching yard, while the Port at Burns Harbor, less than 50 miles away, provides waterway access. South Bend boasts the Metronet, a high-capacity, fiber-optic network that runs throughout the city, providing unparalleled internet
connectivity. The region also has what is believed to be one of the largest concentrations of fiber-optic long-haul carriers in the country. Just as the major East-West transportation
systems physically aggregate to pass below Lake Michigan and go through South Bend, so do the many fiber-optic long-haul carriers that utilize rail and interstate facilities.

Our region is often considered the hub of North Central Indiana. We are perfectly situated at the "crossroads" of America. And, when it comes to logistics, that's just fine.

Source: South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, chamber, winter 2019 issue