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New legislation may bring 'dinosaur' to life

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The site of the former Oxford Automotive manufacturing plant on Greencastle's southwest side will be eligible for future industrial recovery tax credits, thanks to resolutions passed by the Greencastle City Council. The 224,172-square-foot building began its industrial life as Greencastle Manufacturing in 1971 and has also been known as Lobdell-Emery Corp. [Order this photo]
Barney may be the famous big purple dinosaur, but it's a big blue dinosaur named Oxford that commanded the attention of the Greencastle City Council Tuesday night.

Taking advantage of revised state legislation in regard to so-called "dinosaur buildings," the Council unanimously endorsed a resolution designating the 57.45-acre property at 370 Manhattan Rd. as an economic revitalization area.

That move was paired with the subsequent approval of another resolution making the former site of Oxford Automotive eligible for industrial recovery tax credits for renovation and reuse of the property.

All that should make the vacant 224,172-square-foot facility more attractive to future industrial prospects, Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory said.

"This is one of those tools that we didn't have access to before," Dory said, adding that by the state "tinkering with the bill, it has opened it up to communities like Greencastle."

The state legislation, which went into effect just July 1, had previously limited the "dinosaur building" designation to facilities of greater than 250,000 square feet.

Under the revised legislation, the minimum square footage has been reduced to 50,000. That allows the Oxford facility -- which began life in 1971 as Greencastle Manufacturing Co. and later was known as Lobdell-Emery Corp. -- to qualify as a dinosaur.

Dory said the old Oxford facility will likely need a new roof and a revised electrical system before the dinosaur can re-emerge from the ice age of inactivity and become a revitalized structure.

The 40-year age of the building exceeds the 15-year minimum requirement of the legislation, while the six-year vacancy status that began in 2005 also exceeds the one-year minimum vacancy requirement.

The city resolution also notes the "closure of Oxford Automotive due to the bankruptcy of the corporation resulted in the loss of 330 well-paid jobs at the Greencastle facility."

"The closure of the facility resulted in the loss of local tax revenue due to loss of value from the deteriorated real estate, removal of personal property, and elimination of employment," the resolution adds.

Dory said the moves by the state and City Council "will help me from the marketing standpoint" and "adds to our tool kit."

The prospect of local tax abatement for any future industrial prospects would be considered in addition to the state corporate tax liabilities included in the legislation.

Calling herself the City Council's "resident dinosaur," Jinsie Bingham made the motion Tuesday night to accept the resolution in support of the industrial recovery tax credits. The resolution was approved unanimously by the Council.

The City Council also unanimously passed 13 separate resolutions for annual compliance with statements of benefits regarding the existing tax abatements previously granted for Chiyoda USA Corp., Crown Equipment Corp., Heartland Automotive, Garmong Development Co. and International Automotive Components Corp. (IAC), formerly known as Lear Corp.

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Great...just get the state to re-route an interstate through Greencastle & we might be able to find a tenant.

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 3:16 PM

Maybe they should find someone to fill the vacant warehouse that the city built with our taxdollars. I know it was a little bit of poor timing but it still drives me crazy.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 12:16 PM

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