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Business lure: Shell building

$3.3 million project tailors size, design to user’s needs


Fort Wayne soon will have another available option when industrial companies come calling.

CME Corp. broke ground Tuesday on a 60,000-square-foot shell building at 2785 Persistence Drive, near U.S. 30 and Interstate 69.

The $3.3 million project, scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving, will allow its future occupant to specify interiors, including where offices, restrooms and additional partitions should be placed.

The Klink Group, which employs about 400, owns the property and is paying CME to construct the building. The structure, which can be expanded to 120,000 square feet, will be available for sale or lease.

“We will consider any viable option,” said Vince Hansen, Klink’s chief financial officer. “It’s going to be good for the community and good for us also.”

If the building sells, the company will consider erecting another on spec on a neighboring lot, he said. Klink Group owns six lots in the industrial park, which already has water and sewer lines installed, Hansen said. The shell building will be the first in the development.

Klink Group, owned by Wayne and Carol Klink, operates trucking, road construction and asphalt manufacturing divisions.

Local officials are applauding the shell building project, which CME officials proposed to Klink Group.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance received more than 125 requests for existing building space from January 2011 through the end of March 2013.

The Alliance, now part of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., has tracked requests for square footage, height and other requirements.

The data show a local need for large industrial buildings that new employers can move into quickly. In more than a third of cases, Alliance officials have been unable to suggest an existing building that meets necessary criteria.

The Zacher Co. will market the building, with an emphasis on industries being targeted by local economic development officials. Those include advanced manufacturing, food processing and logistics.

Despite that goal, local officials don’t have to approve the deal, said Ashley Steenman, the Alliance’s vice president of business development.

Alliance and elected officials hope the building will be occupied by a company that creates numerous jobs that pay a livable wage.

“We are pleased to have an added tool that will increase our competitive edge in the fight for what every community wants – jobs,” Steenman said in a statement.

She described the lack of shell buildings as a gap in what Fort Wayne has to offer new employers.