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WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Whiteland Town Council has approved a tax abatement for a 450,000-square-foot speculative warehouse building. Our partners at the Daily Journal report Cincinnati-based Uptown Commercial Partners plans to invest nearly $29 million to build the facility on a 40-acre site.

The property is the former home of Maschmeyer’s Nursery and was rezoned last year from agriculture to industrial. The publication says the 10-year real property tax abatement will save the developer more than $4 million.

An attorney representing Uptown Commercial Partners told the council the developer does not have any tenants under contract, but several companies have expressed interest in the facility.

According to documents filed with the town, construction is expected to begin in May and be complete by next spring.

The Daily Journal reports the tenant selected for the facility could make an estimated $10 million in additional investment to suit the building to its needs.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana could become the 10th state to ban transgender students from participating in school sports that align with their gender identities.

The proposed legislation is House Bill 1041 and would also allow parents to file a complaint against schools who go against the ban.

State Rep. Michelle Davis, a Republican from Whiteland, wrote the bill. The Johnson County legislator says the bill is a way to protect Hoosier girl athletes.

Opponents say this is another example of discriminatory legislation targeting trans youth. “Trans youth in Indiana feel that every single year the lawmakers single them out for bullying them for political purposes,” said Kit Malone, advocacy strategist with the ACLU of Indiana.

Malone called this bill another attack on already vulnerable youths. “We do not have examples of trans girls coming into school sports and then taking them over.”

The bill would also require schools to establish procedures for parents to file a grievance against schools who violate the measure, resulting in another student losing out on an athletic opportunity, or is injured.

Davis sent a statement to News 8:

“This legislation is the result of listening to the concerns of female student athletes and parents in my district and across the state. The purpose of this bill is to protect fair competition in girls’ sports.”

She said as a former NCAA Division I athlete: “I know the life lessons and opportunities competing in sports provided to me while growing up and as a young adult. This bill is aimed at protecting those same opportunities for Hoosier girls now and in the future.”

Indiana state Rep. Michelle Davis, a Republican from Whiteland, wrote the bill. She says the bill is a way to protect Hoosier girl athletes.

Malone said moving forward with this type of legislation doesn’t solve a problem. “Trans children deserve scholarships, too. The idea that we are somehow less deserving of scholastic achievement and we are less deserving of participation in our schools that’s the definition of discriminatory.”

Opponents plan to rally Monday morning at the statehouse Monday morning ahead of a House Education Committee hearing. House Bill 1041 bill will be the one of three scheduled to be discussed and perhaps voted on at the committee meeting starting at 8:30 a.m. in the House of Representatives chamber.

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Ohio-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB) has opened its new one million square foot distribution center in Whiteland. The new warehouse replaces Cooper’s existing facility in Franklin.

Cooper says workers at the Franklin warehouse relocated to the new site.

The tire company says the additional storage capacity and modern design will optimize operations

“As we strive to meet customer needs and continue providing outstanding customer service, this new, larger distribution center positions Cooper to navigate logistic requirements faster and more efficiently,” said Mike Calabro, executive director – North America supply chain for Cooper.

The company broke ground on the project last August. The Cooper Tire facility is the inaugural tenant in the new 500-acre distribution park being developed by Dallas-based Mohr Capital.

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Mohr Logistics Park in Whiteland continues to grow.

Inside INdiana Business’ partners at the Daily Journal report the Whiteland Town Council has approved an annexation plan that will provide more than 150 acres of land for the park.

Dallas-based Mohr Capital is in the process of building out the logistics park. The company last month completed construction on a 1 million-square-foot facility for Ohio-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB).

Earlier this week, Mohr broke ground on a nearly 830,000-square-foot speculative building, with plans to break ground on another 1 million-square-foot building within the next two months.

The Daily Journal reports the company received the unanimous approval from the council after committing to conducting a traffic study, as well as creating a buffer between the Bright Farms property and nearby residences. The move follows concerns of traffic issues and noise and light pollution voiced by area residents.

When complete, Mohr Capital says the logistics park will span 475 acres and include more than 7 million square feet of Class A industrial space. 

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Work on a more than 760,000-square-foot warehouse in Whiteland is one step closer to beginning. Our partners at the Daily Journal report the Whiteland Town Council has approved a $3.3 million property tax abatement for the facility, which will be the final building constructed in the Whiteland Exchange Business Park.

The project is being developed by Missouri-based Jones Development. It will be the largest building inside the business park, even larger than the 530,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center, which opened last summer.

The publication says Jones Development plans to invest more than $26 million in the new building, which does not yet have a tenant. The company did not provide a specific time frame for construction to begin.

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Dallas-based Mohr Capital has closed on an additional 184 acres of land in Whiteland which the company says represents Phase 1 of a planned 500-acre industrial park near Interstate 65.

The real estate investment firm says it will start construction in the spring on an 827,000-square-foot speculative building.

In June, Mohr also closed on a 122-acre site in which a one million square foot distribution center for Cooper Tires is now under construction.

The firm says it is planning future growth for the Mohr Logistics Park.

Earlier this month, Mohr withdrew a rezoning proposal for a more than a 150-acre portion of the project. Our partners at the Daily Journal reported Mohr Capital decided to pause that portion of the project but may resubmit for zoning changes in the future.

Mohr says Indianapolis-based Curran Architecture is the architect for the logistics park, while American Structurepoint, also based in Indy, is the civil engineer.

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The developer behind a massive logistics park in Whiteland has withdrawn a rezoning proposal for a more than 150-acre portion of the project. Our partners at the Daily Journal report Texas-based Mohr Capital decided to pause the portion of the project, which includes property owned by Bright Farms.

Matt Price, an attorney for Mohr Capital, told the Whiteland Town Council there were concerns about the Whiteland Logistics Park project moving too fast.

“And while we felt like it certainly made for a robust logistics park, we discussed it internally with staff, and tonight we request that the petition for Bright Farms be withdrawn,” Price told the council. “We request that you not take any final action. Our plans are to go forward with the remainder of the park. We anticipate (being) back before you at a later time. You will have the benefit of hindsight working with Mohr and we can make an even better case for ourselves at that time.”

The publication reports the council did, however, approve a proposal to annex and rezone a 184-acre property northeast of the project’s first phase, which is currently under development.

Mohr Capital is building a nearly 1 million-square-foot warehouse for Cooper Tire. The company plans to move from its current facility in Franklin once construction is complete.

Prior to withdrawing the rezoning proposal, the $325 million project was slated to cover 475 acres near I-65. The Daily Journal reports the logistics park will include four buildings totaling 2.3 million square feet, with the ability to expand to more than 3 million square feet.

Gary Horn, chief investment officer for Mohr Capital, tells the publication the developer plans to resubmit the Bright Farms rezoning proposal in about four years after all of the buildings in the current plan are constructed.

You can read the full story, including reaction from area residents, from the Daily Journal by clicking here.

WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An Ohio-based tire manufacturer is growing its central Indiana operations. Cooper Tires will soon be moving into a 1 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility in Whiteland, though financial details on the project were not released.

Dallas-based Mohr Capital has broken ground on the facility. The real estate investment firm says the building will allow Cooper Tires to move away from its current 800,000-square-foot location in Franklin.

“Cooper’s facility in Franklin was undersized and needed additional trailer parking, which prompted the relocation to a bigger space,” said Gary Horn, chief investment officer for Mohr Capital. 

Inside INdiana Business reached out to Cooper Tires for comment on the project, but a company spokesperson would not provide additional details, such as whether any new jobs would be created.

Mohr Capital says construction is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2021.

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – More than 30 guns were stolen from a firearm store in New Whiteland over the weekend.

Surveillance video shows the moment thieves broke into Element Armament, 400 Tracy Rd, around 4 a.m. Saturday. Police say the suspects managed to get away with 33 firearms.

The store’s owner says the suspect didn’t trash the store but appeared to know what they were doing and what they were looking for.

They escaped before police arrived, but officers recovered one of the stolen guns nearly 24 hours later when Southport police tried to pull over a car early Sunday morning for running a stop sign.

“The vehicle crashed, person fled. We weren’t able to apprehend him, but we did get the vehicle and in the vehicle was a stolen gun,” said Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn.

The owner of the shop told News 8 the thieves didn’t take many accessories and only left behind four guns in the entire store.

The gun shop owner estimated he lost $30,000 in product. He’s also lost some peace of mind, he said, knowing that more than two dozen stolen guns are in the hands of criminals.

“It doesn’t take long for them (guns) to travel around,” said Vaughn.

Police say time is of the essence to locate the suspects and the weapons, especially because one of the guns has already been located outside county lines.

“Are they using them for themselves? Are they selling them to other people? You know, where are they going? Well that is because we do know that there is thirty-some guns right now that aren’t supposed to be and we don’t know who has them,” said Vaughn.

People who were nearby were shocked to learn what had happened just a few doors down.

“Definitely surprised to hear something like that happened in this area, in Tracy Plaza,” said Julia Cross, who works near the store.

Police said the theft is a public safety concern after multiple robberies have happened in the last month where a firearm was stolen.

“These aren’t good guys who took the guns. So they took them for a reason. Now what is that reason? And they aren’t afraid to use a gun,” said Vaughn.

“The fact that that is even a possibility to be in our neighborhood, to be in our park, to be in our school system is really scary,” said Cross.

New Whiteland Police are working with IMPD and other agencies to investigate the theft and say it could possibly be connected to other recent robberies in the Indianapolis area.

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – A Whiteland man who was found to be in possession of child porn received a nine-year sentence.

According to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office, Anthony Lewis will serve three years in prison, two years home detention with the final four years to be served on probation after being convicted of multiple charges of child exploitation and possession of child pornography. Lewis will also be required to register as a sex offender.

The prosecutor’s office states that in 2016, the Indiana State Police received several tips about possible child porn being traced to a Whiteland location. While conducting an investigation officers were able to determine that the location was Lewis’ residence.

A search warrant was then obtained for both of the electronic devices within Lewis’ house. Officers discovered that Facebook, Skype and Dropbox were used to disseminate the photos, which Lewis admitted to police that he had both downloaded and shared.

In total, officers found 126 files which included still and video files.