Make your home page

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — United Kingdom-based McLaren Racing on Thursday announced plans to invest more than $25 million to build a new IndyCar facility in Whitestown.

The company says the project will create up to 175 jobs by the end of 2025.

The 97,000-square-foot facility will include team office space, technical areas, workshop space, logistics and transport areas, and a space for Arrow McLaren SP – the company’s IndyCar operation – to practice pit stops.

The company says the facility will allow Arrow McLaren to run three full-time entries in the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series with plans to expand in the future.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown made the announcement at the Global Economic Summit in downtown Indianapolis.

“It really felt like this was the logical time to announce it, in conjunction with this great economic convention,” Brown told our partners at the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The company says the facility will be built on Indianapolis Road just west of Interstate 65 in Whitestown. The building will replace McLaren’s current facility on the north side of Indianapolis, which was built in 1985.

Brown says the new building will be constructed with a focus on sustainability.

“I think it’s the right thing to do—it’s what the employees want,” he said. “It’s also what our corporate partners want and governments want, so I think it’s the right direction to go [with] starting something today. I think it’d be crazy not to have sustainability be a thread through [our] activity.” 

Construction on the new facility is set to begin in the fall with plans to open in early 2024.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the town of Whitestown are working to finalize a performance-based incentive package for the project.

“This new facility will be a catalyst for motorsport and business growth for McLaren Racing in North America. We are working hand-in-hand with Whitestown officials throughout the entire process, making sure we create an environment for hard work and excellence,” Arrow McLaren SP President Taylor Kiel said in written remarks. “We look forward to having a new, class-leading home for our team with access to the state-of-the-art resources they need to compete for wins and championships. Investment like this just shows the excitement and growth around IndyCar locally and nationally.”

The announcement comes just days before Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Juan Pablo Montoya compete in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

The project is the third economic development effort announced in as many days, following Eli Lilly and Co.’s (NYSE: LLY) $2.1 billion investment in Boone County announced Wednesday and plans from global auto giant Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) to invest $2.5 billion in a new electric vehicle battery plant in Kokomo.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A nearly-completed distribution center for fashion attire, apparel and beauty products in Whitestown will soon give select students from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business a unique opportunity to learn about global retail and e-commerce. The Center for Education and Research in Retail at IU and online fashion e-retailer SHEIN have entered a partnership to create fellowships for students. The company, which does business in approximately 150 countries, relies on a digital supply chain to control costs and ship quickly.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, center director John Talbott said the relationship will provide opportunities to retail-focused students on business beyond U.S. borders.

“When the opportunity to connect with SHEIN evolved over the last six months, it was really interesting to me because I want our kids to have the opportunity to learn about retail not only at the domestic level, but also internationally,” said Talbott.

SHEIN was founded in China, but it now has three operational hubs in Los Angeles, Singapore and Guangzhou.

Talbott says SHEIN relies heavily on social media platforms, like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, for marketing to its target audience: female Gen Z’ers.

“SHEIN, in addition to being an international company, has a unique interface in terms of the way students can acquire information about product and then acquire the product itself. And that makes it interesting as well because technology is so important in retail right now and this company is utilizing it in a way that’s different from anyone else,” explained Talbott.

Mark Aitken, vice president of U.S. public affairs for SHEIN, says the partnership stemmed from an initial plan for economists at the Kelley School of Business to conduct an economic impact study once the central Indiana facility becomes operational. From that, the partnership evolved.

“It’s a multifaceted approach that we’re taking to this partnership,” said Aitken. “We’re looking at an initial fellowship… opportunities with the students there to work directly with SHEIN professionals…to give the students a real flavor for what a company like SHEIN is all about, and how we’ve been operating and approaching the larger retail space for us.”

Last April, SHEIN announced plans to establish a 650,000-square-foot distribution center in Whitestown, which will serve as the company’s main hub in the Midwest. However, Aitken tells Inside INdiana Business that plans are already in the works to potentially expand the Boone County facility up to one million square feet.

SHEIN says it plans to employ about 850 workers at the site by the end of 2022.

“As you start looking at just really what those opportunities are especially with working with a company like ours, it’s clear that over the coming years we’ll have a lot of opportunities there in the region,” said Aitken.

Aitken says the construction of the warehouse is complete and now crews are adding storage racks and other equipment needed for the movement of product. SHEIN expects to be operational in the third quarter of this year.

In terms of educational opportunities, Aitken says the company this week posted internship opportunities to examine the company’s environmental, sustainability and government sector.

“ESG is a very topical issue and has been for quite some time. Understanding how that fits into an operation like SHEIN will be critical,” said Aitken, who adds it provides a critical learning opportunity for students.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. has sold a portion of land in Whitestown that houses the radio towers for its 1070 AM signal. The company says it plans to broadcast the WFNI station solely on its two FM signals beginning Aug. 2 while it works to find what it says is the best solution for the AM signal.

Emmis says it had the tower site rezoned for mixed-use commercial, office, and residential developments more than a year ago. The entire site covers 70 acres on Perry Worth Road near I-65 in Whitestown and additional parcels are currently listed for sale.

“As long-time owners of 1070, we are working diligently on finding the next great use for the signal,” Jeff Smulyan, founder and chairman of the board of Emmis, said in a news release. “We were offered a wonderful opportunity to monetize the property and felt it was our obligation to explore that. Ultimately, it made the most sense.”

The 1070 signal was the home for longtime Indy radio station WIBC, also owned by Emmis, from 1941 until December 2007, when the station switched to FM. WFNI, also known as “The Fan” began broadcasting on 1070 at that time.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Little League International on Saturday will cut the ribbon on its new Central Region Headquarters in Whitestown. The 15-acre facility, which has been several years in the making, will host its first game between Zionsville Little League and Brownsburg Little League to celebrate the grand opening.

The facility includes the organization’s Central Region Headquarters administration building; a full-size, lighted Little League field with stadium seating, bleachers and press box; batting cages; concession stands; restrooms; and a gift shop.

Little League International says the facility will serve as the home for this summer’s Little League Softball Central Region Tournament, as well as the Little League Baseball Great Lakes and Midwest Region Tournaments.

“After nearly three years of planning and hard work, we are thrilled to be able to officially open our new facility in Whitestown and welcome members of the community to be a part of this exciting experience,” said Nina Johnson-Pitt, Little League senior strategy executive. “On behalf of all of us at the Little League Central Region and Little League International, we are thankful to everyone who has been a part of this journey and look forward to providing everyone in the Whitestown community and across the Central Region with a piece of the Little League experience each summer.”

Plans for the facility in Whitestown have been in the making since mid-2018. However, the original plans were for the facility to be located in Zionsville, before the Pennsylvania-based organization nixed those plans.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Nevada-based third party logistics company has announced plans to establish operations in Boone County. ITS Logistics LLC says it will invest nearly $12 million to occupy a 350,000-square-foot facility in Whitestown and create up to 200 jobs by the end of 2024. The company says the facility, in addition to its distribution operations on the West Coast, will allow it to provide distribution and fulfillment services to nearly 90% of the country.

ITS Logistics employs some 600 across eight states. The company has begun hiring for a variety of jobs at the Whitestown facility, including administration, warehouse, forklift, IT, human resources and leadership positions.

“When researching regions in the eastern United States to expand our business, central Indiana was the obvious choice for several reasons—the geographic distribution advantages, the overall quality of the workforce, the strong partnership with the IEDC, the fact that Indiana is an extremely business-friendly state and a place where we truly feel that we can grow our culture and one day provide employment for more than 500 ITS team members,” said Ryan Martin, president of ITS Logistics. “We’re greatly looking forward to the future of ITS in Indiana and see this location as an integral piece in our continued growth and national expansion.”

ITS Logistics was founded in Nevada in 1999. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the company achieved nearly $500 million in revenue in 2020.

“We are pleased that ITS Logistics has chosen Whitestown as their first location in Indiana,” said Whitestown Town Council President Clinton Bohm. “Our convenient location and business-friendly environment continues to attract growing companies like ITS Logistics. We believe they will be a valued addition to our community.”

The IEDC has offered ITS Logistics up to $1.5 million in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The town of Whitestown will also consider additional incentives.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Milhaus has broken ground on a $40 million apartment project in Whitestown. The developer and owner of multifamily properties says the project includes 240 units.

The Milhaus Whitestown property is located near a planned, $135 million mixed-use development which was announced in February. Milhaus is a partner in that project too. It will also be near the Little League Central Region headquarters and ballfield.

The company says the group of projects helps make Whitestown a commercial, retail, athletics and entertainment epicenter.

“Milhaus Whitestown is unique in its ability to capture a broad demographic of residents. It’s centered in a suburban location and brimming with quality-of-life features that will allow a variety of individuals and families to coexist in the all-encompassing locale,” said Brad Vogelsmeier, vice president of development at Milhaus.

Milhaus says the apartment complex will offer a range of units from studio-sized to three bedrooms. The developer says the property will include what it calls a “premier amenity” package.

Milhaus has partnered with Oklahoma-based Humphreys Capital on the project.

The first units are expected to open in May 2022.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana companies on the search for talent are pulling out all the stops in a tight labor market. Whitestown-based Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing Inc. is offering $5,000 signing bonuses, as it looks to hire 100 new employees.

The popcorn maker says it is looking for skilled machine operators and technicians for its facilities in Whitestown and in the Grant County town of Van Buren.

Weaver says it is undergoing a large-scale capital expansion to add production capacity.

“This is due to high growth with our customers and overall demand in the popcorn category,” said Weaver Chief Executive Officer Jason Kashman. “We’re continuing to add new customers on top of this.”

In addition to the bonus, the base pay ranges from $22 to $29 per hour, among other benefits. The company says there is also a $2/hour premium for working nights.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — North Carolina-based Coca-Cola Consolidated has now opened its distribution and automated warehouse facility in Whitestown. The company says it invested $60 million to build the 400,000-square-foot facility.

The distribution center, which the company announced last June, employs 450 people. Some of those people came from a bottling plant in Indianapolis, while others came from the Lafayette plant. In February, the company announced plans to cease operations at the Tippecanoe County facility.

“We are excited to continue our journey of growth in the Hoosier state,” said Levi Alexander, Whitestown operations manager. “This investment in expanding our distribution capabilities is a long-term commitment to improving how we serve the world’s best brands and flavors to our communities.”

Nearly 200 teammates will continue production operations at the Indianapolis production facility. Coca-Cola Consolidated says the Indy plant has increased capacity due to an over $18 million investment to add a new can production line.

The company says the Whitestown facility will be able to distribute over 20 million cases each year.

2020 had its challenges. Chief among them was the worldwide pandemic and the economic upheaval it caused. But Boone County officials say in terms of economic development, it was a strong year.

The Boone County EDC says eight companies made commitments over the past 12 months to locate or expand their operations in the county. The deals represent commitments for up to 583 new jobs and an investment of more than $230 million in new capital, according to Indiana Economic Development Corp. data.

“It’s not been without its challenges for all of us. For the businesses here, certainly, things are different. We have to do business differently than we did, but overall, we have quite a bit to be thankful for,” said Molly Whitehead, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp.

Boone EDC says of the total announcements made in 2020, two companies committed to growing their operations in the city of Lebanon. Alone, they account for up to 352 new jobs and more than $159 million in capital investment.

One of those companies is Netherlands-based NewCold, a company specializing in temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution.

In November, it announced plans to open a 380,000-square-foot facility in Lebanon, becoming operational in 2022 and creating about 200 new jobs by the end of 2023.

“NewCold’s facility and jobs creation will greatly increase the quality of life for our residents,” Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry said in a news release. “We are hopeful that this newest addition to our city will continue to highlight the vast opportunity Lebanon and Boone County has to offer.”

NewCold says one of its customers will be Conagra Brands, one of the world’s largest food processors, which will serve as a long-term client at the Lebanon facility.

“From a food perspective, bringing in those food companies, either manufacturing or logistics and distribution, food is relatively recession-proof. People still have to eat. And so that has definitely helped our local economy by diversifying that as well,” said Whitehead.

In September, Texas-based Life Science Logistics said it would build a cold-chain storage distribution facility in Whitestown, responding to high demand for pharmaceutical and medical device storage.

“It has largely been logistics-related companies, which given the shift in the economy, I would say that’s to be expected,” said Whitehead. “I think just because of our location along I-65, there are a lot of logistics-related companies here. And I think that’s what people know us for, but there’s actually quite a bit of manufacturing that’s going on in the area.”

The IEDC says Boone County achieved what most communities could only hope for in terms of job creation and investment. But other areas of the state saw positive moves as well. IEDC says Elkhart County saw a recovery in the recreational vehicle industry after it was temporarily shuttered by the pandemic.

DeKalb County saw growth in an array of industries, ranging from automotive to RV to steel.

Marion and Hamilton Counties enjoyed announcing new jobs and growth in the life sciences sector.

“During a year of tremendous uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, communities across the state have continued to secure positive economic momentum thanks to Indiana’s pro-growth business climate, skilled workforce and close proximity to major markets to fuel their success,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “Indiana continues to get back on track and position itself for long-term growth and a bright economic future.”

Whitehead says Boone EDC is always looking for those opportunities to grow business investment, especially in the manufacturing sector. But it also welcomes companies who develop speculative buildings in search of occupants.

She says about half of the leads the Boone EDC receives are from manufacturers who are looking for 100,000-square feet of space, or smaller.

“I have been beating that drum for the past five, six years that we really need the smaller size spaces because those are the missed opportunities. Those are the smaller companies that we want them to grow into the MonoSol’s of the world and the DS Smith’s of the world where they’re taking out 250,000 square feet, but they have to start someplace,” said Whitehead.

In January, DS Smith started operations at its 550,000 square foot facility in Lebanon which produces corrugated packaging. Negotiations for that project began in 2018.

The company is currently hiring additional staff for its Lebanon plant as it ramps up production and adds a third shift.

In February, Merrillville-based MonoSol LLC opened the doors on its new 150,000-square foot production facility in Lebanon. It manufactures biodegradable films used in products such as laundry detergent pods and dissolvable laundry bags. MonoSol broke ground on the facility in September 2018.

In November MonoSol announced it was adding 25 people with the launch of two more production lines.

As Whitehead points out, when companies make announcements to locate operations or expand facilities, those plans are part of long-term strategies which means the growth may not be realized for at least a year, perhaps longer.

“That means there are still good things to come. We make these announcements. And really, the projects don’t come to fruition for a minimum of 12 months, if not 24 months. And so just being able to see that benefit. It takes some time. It takes some patience. So, we can celebrate now, but it’s just it’s difficult to wait.”

Looking ahead to the new year, Whitehead says her team will focus on continuing to help small businesses who face the uncertainty still associated with the pandemic.

“What do we need to do to continue to help support them and prepare them as well for the unknown,” said Whitehead. “I think there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the world not only with COVID, but what does government look like in the future? We have a new administration coming in that can change things. So, there’s just a lot of questions.”

Molly Whitehead, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp., said the county is well-positioned for growth in terms of geography and staffing.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Texas-based Life Science Logistics Inc. has announced plans to build a third, cold-chain storage distribution facility in central Indiana, responding to the demand for more warehouse space for pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

LSL says the addition of the second logistics center in Whitestown will create 50 new jobs for the area and bring its total Indianapolis-area footprint to nearly 1 million square feet.

The company also operates a 526,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg.

LSL says there is “booming demand” for FDA-regulated, temperature-controlled storage and distribution of pharmaceutical and medical devices.

In addition to medical treatments for diabetes, oncology cell and gene therapies, there also an urgent need for storage of COVID-19 related supplies, such as rapid test kits and diagnostics.

“We’ve seen significant, continuous growth of the pharmaceutical and medical device storage and distribution market over the last five years and don’t expect it to slow anytime soon,” says LSL Chief Executive Officer Richard Beeny. “What we didn’t expect was the impact of the pandemic, which only bolstered the need for FDA-regulated medical supplies – companies need to safely store and distribute these products quickly.”

Beeny says he expects the new site to be up and running in the first quarter of 2021.