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CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Pittsburgh-based development and management company has broken ground on a 210,000-square-foot facility at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Charlestown. MR3 Development says it is marketing the industrial building for use by a manufacturing, technology, e-commerce or food production business.

MR3 Development, which also has an office in Indianapolis, acquired the more than 15-acre site in April 2021. The company said at the time the sale would generate nearly $1.7 million in proceeds for River Ridge.

The new building is MR3’s first foray in the Louisville/Southern Indiana market. The company currently has active projects in six other states.

“We are excited to make this significant investment at the River Ridge Commerce Center,” MR3 Managing Director Andrew Molnar said in written remarks. “This is a rapidly growing area, and we are thrilled to become part of the family of companies and developers contributing to its success.”

A tenant for the building as not been announced, but construction is expected to be complete by October.

Indianapolis-based Peterson Co. is the general contractor for the project.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The River Ridge Commerce Center is picking back up in 2022 right where it left off from its record-setting year in 2021. The River Development Authority has given the greenlight to executive director Jerry Acy to negotiate five agreements for the sale of nearly 125 acres within the business park.

The RRDA says the potential deals represent a record number of transactions for a single month.

Four of the five parcels are in Charlestown and the potential purchasers say they would build industrial facilities ranging in size from 200,000 to 600,000 square feet. The RRDA says the fifth parcel is in Jeffersonville and would be a research and development headquarters for a medical device company.

“To start a year off with this much interest and land sales activity from developers and future employers is unprecedented,” said Acy. “We said throughout 2021 that our pipeline of potential projects is stronger than ever. That fact is evidenced here with five potential projects that would lead to hundreds more high-quality jobs at the River Ridge Commerce Center.”

The RRDA says the 6,000-acre complex received commitments from numerous companies last year to invest several million dollars in parcels to construct new buildings that could result in thousands of new jobs.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Louisiana-based Sazerac Co. has announced plans for further expansion in southern Indiana. The distillery says it will invest more than $400 million to build a new facility in Charlestown and create nearly 370 jobs by the end of 2027. The announcement comes just four months after Sazerac detailed plans to expand its New Albany distilling and bottling operations with a $50 million investment.

The new facility will be built on 1,400 acres near the Charlestown State Park.

“This is an incredibly exciting project for us,” said Jeff Conder, vice president of manufacturing for Sazerac. “We’re thrilled to increase our manufacturing footprint and our workforce with steady, good-paying jobs, with wages at or above the Clark County average.”

The company did not immediately provide a timeline for construction. Jack Coffman, president of the Clark County Commissioners, says the announcement represents another major milestone for the county and region.

“We look forward to working with the team at Sazerac as they continue to build on their success and enjoy continued growth in southern Indiana,” said Coffman. “Clark County continues to make our focus on infrastructure development to attract new business and assist existing businesses to grow.”

In 2018, Sazerac announced plans to occupy the former General Mills Pillsbury plant in New Albany and transform it into an alcohol bottling plant. Since then, the company says its investment in the plant and subsequent expansions has totaled $156 million and created 250 jobs.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Sazerac up to $6.5 million in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers have been hired for the new jobs and investments have been made. The IEDC board must still vote to approve the incentives.

The Clark County Council and commissioners are will also consider additional incentives.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Kroger Health says it plans to expand its regional Central Fill facility at a new location at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville and create 60 new jobs. The news comes just as River Ridge also announces a new agreement to ensure an adequate water supply for the growing complex.

The new prescription refill facility will measure 58,000 square feet, more than quadruple the size of the current site.

Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) says the current facility in Louisville employs 115 associates and they will have the opportunity to transfer to the new location.

The healthcare division of the grocery chain opened its first Central Fill facility in 2020. It now operates four locations across the U.S.

“We are pleased Kroger Health has selected River Ridge Commerce Center as the new site where it will expand its Central Fill facility,” said River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy. “Kroger is such an important part of our community, and we value the important products and services they deliver every day.”

The refill center supports the retail pharmacy stores throughout the region. The company says it provides in-store pharmacy staff more time to focus on clinical and customer services.

“The expansion of the facility will allow our team to support the community at an even greater level. Additional resources have never been more important for our pharmacy staff members as they continue to serve a critical role in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. “We are thankful for such a long and rewarding partnership with the city of Louisville and we’re glad we could keep our new location in the Greater Louisville area.”

Meanwhile, the River Ridge Development Authority has approved an agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to help ensure businesses at the complex have a long-term supply of water.

The authority approved a 50-year contract that reserves up to 20 million gallons of water per day from the Ohio River Outflow Aquifer, which is owned by the Indiana agency.

The RRDA says River Ridge’s water system supplies about two million gallons of water per day from the aquifer and is expanding distribution to allow more than six million gallons per day, which is necessary as the commerce center continues to add new industry.

“The state recognizes that having a plentiful supply of clean water is vital to the success of our Commerce Center and our state,” said Jerry Acy, Executive Director of the River Ridge Development Authority. “To help support the tens of thousands of jobs we are trying to attract, we must continue to invest in our resources and infrastructure and provide a reliable source of water for companies locating here.”

Last year, the authority approved a $7.2 million contract with Louisville-based Caldwell Tanks Inc. to construct two elevated, two-million-gallon water storage tanks at the RRCC.

The development authority says it also approved a resolution to allow Executive Director Jerry Acy to negotiate the sale of 30 acres within the complex to an industrial or commercial prospect.

The RRDA did not disclose the name of the potential client, but it did say the property goes for $100,000 acre and would generate $3 million in funding.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Pittsburgh-based MR3 Development has agreed to purchase a tract of land at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville. The company plans to build a 210,000-square-foot cross-dock industrial facility.

MR3 says it bought just over 15 acres of land last month, which represents its entry into the Louisville/Southern Indiana region. MR3 has an office in Indianapolis and currently has active projects in six states.

MR3 says the sale will generate nearly $1.7 million in proceeds for River Ridge, which will be used for operations and infrastructure development. River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy says they welcome another developer to the center.

“MR3 has a strong track record nationally and will help River Ridge build connections in important industry sectors. MR3’s significant investment confirms once again that River Ridge is a great place to do business and a great place to call home,” said Acy.

MR3 says construction on its new facility is expected to be complete this fall. 

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — New Jersey-based J. Knipper and Company Inc. says it plans to invest $17.4 million to expand its distribution center located in the River Ridge Commerce Center and grow its workforce by 38 people. Knipper provides supply chain services to the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. The company says it will expand its current facility in the city of Charlestown by 150,000-square-feet.

The company says the additional space will include refrigerated space that can hold 1,500 pallets and a drive-in freezer.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Knipper up to $400,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.

“Indiana has a legacy of life sciences excellence with companies like Knipper continuing to grow in our state,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “As a state, we’ll keep providing a top-ranked business environment so companies like Knipper have the confidence to invest in their Indiana operations and add high-quality career opportunities.”

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana American Water has begun the design of a new water treatment facility in Charlestown. The company says the new facility will filter iron and manganese from the area’s groundwater and crews will begin construction this summer.

“Since purchasing the Charlestown water utility in 2019, we have already invested more than $4 million in the community’s aging water infrastructure, performed much needed maintenance, and made significant process improvements to the system,” said Indiana American Water President Matt Prine.

Prine says plans include adding filtration to the treatment process, while also improving pumping equipment to increase flow to help with fire protection, and switching from gaseous chlorine to sodium hypochlorite. 

“Our community has significant growth potential in the years ahead, and a high-quality, reliable water supply is an important factor to our future success,” said Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges. “Filtered water is the solution that we’ve been waiting for and I am excited that Indiana American Water has followed through on their commitment to address the long-standing issue of discolored water in Charlestown.”

Indiana American Water says completion of the new facility is expected in mid-2022. 

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — A traffic stop Tuesday led to the arrest of a man on five charges.

An Indiana State Police trooper stopped Jason Schulthise, of Tell City, on suspicion of speeding on State Road 3 near Charlestown. The trooper discovered the car was registered to someone who had been reported missing and was wanted on drug charges in Perry County. Schulthise also had a suspended driver’s license.

The trooper’s police dog alerted him to the smell of narcotics in the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, approximately 2 ounces of meth and suspected stolen jewelry were found.

Schulthise was arrested and taken to the Clark County Jail. He faces the following charges:

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CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is appealing a federal judge’s decision that allowed a southern Indiana man to keep a license that enables him to own and exhibit animals at a nonprofit refuge.

The Courier-Journal reports that the USDA is asking the judge to reverse a decision that allowed Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need to keep his Animal Welfare Act license or to issue a new decision. Stark and his attorney filed a response to the appeal in late February.

The USDA claims Stark’s license should be revoked because he pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

But the judge agreed with the defense’s argument that the USDA renewed Stark’s license several times after the violation.

In its appeal, the USDA says it was essentially forced to renew the license.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) – Authorities say a southeastern Indiana man died after driving his truck into a flooded area near a bridge.

Clark County Coroner Terry Conway said an autopsy Wednesday showed the cause of death for 67-year-old Edwin Flaherty was drowning. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said Flaherty’s body was found about 8 p.m. Tuesday floating in a creek next to his truck in Charlestown, about 15 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky.

The News and Tribune reports  another passer-by had reported seeing the truck in the creek earlier in the day, but responding officers were not able to locate the truck. Clark County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scottie Maples said the area is notorious for flooding.