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Monday, May 2, 2016

Dixie Chopper to utilize shell building

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Preliminary interior construction work at the Garmong Development spec building is under way, as evidenced by activity Friday at the facility on Greencastle's East Side. Dixie Chopper will soon occupy the 50,000-square-foot facility. [Order this photo]
The speculation is over. The spec building is no longer a shell.

Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory announced Friday that an agreement has been reached for Magic Circle Corp. -- the corporate name of Dixie Chopper -- to lease the 50,000 square-foot spec building for three years with a two-year additional option.

Work has begun on laying a concrete floor in the structure at 2540 E. CR 50 South (west of Fillmore Road and north of IAC Corp.).

Dixie Chopper, founded in Putnam County by Art Evans in April 1980, will continue to build its 20-some models of the "World's Fastest Lawn Mower" at its 120,000-square-foot facilities north of Fillmore.

New Dixie Chopper President Simon Wilson was unavailable for comment Friday on how the Putnam County company will utilize the now-former spec building. It could use the facility for assembly, manufacturing of components or possibly even parts operations.

However, Dory told the Banner Graphic that Wilson had indicated the new facility will allow Dixie Chopper flexibility as the company continues to grow and will help assure that such growth occurs within the local community.

"From my perspective," Dory said, "it's nice to be able to help a local business grow and support the local economy."

No timetable was available Friday on when Dixie Chopper would occupy the building for its purposes.

Dory informed the Greencastle Redvelopment Commission Wednesday night that a tenant had been secured for the controversial shell building, earning applause and a standing ovation from members.

He was unable to identify the tenant, however, until Dixie Chopper and Garmong Development Co. had worked out final details of the lease on the building and its 9.76-acre site.

In 2007, the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission entered into a partnership with Garmong Development Co. to construct the Greencastle Shell Building.

The Redevelopment Commission provides a partial interest subsidy while the building is vacant. Garmong is responsible for property taxes, maintenance, insurance, utilities and a portion of the loan interest. Under the terms of the partnership, the full amount of the subsidy can be recaptured by the Redevelopment Commission when the property is sold.

With the leasing of the property, the Redevelopment Commission will not be responsible for providing any loan interest subsidy during the term of the lease. Available funds can be redirected to other projects.

Dory said although it took time to make the project a success, marketing of the shell building has put Greencastle in front of many companies considering relocation or expansion of their businesses.

"From a marketing standpoint," he said, "the property has allowed us to put in proposals on 125 to 150 projects."

Several of those connections, Dory said, have resulted "in some looks and some tire kickers."

Dory said in the current economic situation he is finding a greater number of inquiries have come in seeking existing buildings rather than greenfields for new construction.

The shell building is located on property deeded to the city from IBM Corp. when it left Greencastle in March 1987. The parcel in question is known as the "Sgt. Cunningham site" because of the discovery of a Revolutionary War veteran's grave marker on the property approximately 35 years ago.

Sgt. Cunningham's remains were never uncovered. His marker was transferred to the Veterans Section at Forest Hill Cemetery.

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You got to be kidding? A lease? We have thousands of square feet of vacant space and we lease this building. A lease was never in the original plan proposed when this was started in 07. What is the time table for Greencastle to get their money? No one with a straight face can say this is new jobs. A standing ovation wouldn't have happened if Mr. dory had made an announcement WHO the tenant was first. Another question, who is paying for the Build Out? This looks like a great deal for Dixie Chopper and gets some heat off Dory at someone else's expense. The devil is in the details, which in a small town get hidden!

-- Posted by NeverChanges on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 5:51 AM

Very good point there NeverChanges. While this adds very few new jobs,if any,it does add a little color to that WHITE ELEPHANT! It was a huge financial mistake to build this building,however the city owes a debt of gratitude to Art Evens and Dixie Chopper! They have been instrumental securing the future of the town of Fillmore.They help local business,and have helped the PROPERTY VALUES STABILIZE and even increase. The city of Greencastle should be very grateful!! THANK YOU ART and FAMILY!!!

-- Posted by Ya THUNK on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 7:29 AM

When you're in a down economy, sometimes the only way to keep the finances in order and keep revenue flowing is to hold a fire sale and get rid of stagnant inventory. This applies to most every business EXCEPT commercial real estate.

Any commercial developer or broker worth his salt will tell you that you don't lower prices or change terms on property due to the economy. You might offer other perks, such as discounted build-out (normally paid for by the tenant), free months at the beginning or end of a lease, or other perks, but it's very rare to see the actual rate reduced. The reason is that the rates will be disclosed to future and nearby tenants, and once you start downward, it might be decades before the rate comes back up.

Go ahead and ask Duke or Prologis for some space in Park 100, and tell them that since the economy is down, you want their $12/sf space for $8.50/sf. Yeah, right.

-- Posted by Clovertucky on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 3:24 PM

I really hope the standing ovation was a sarcastic golf clap.

-- Posted by LangdonUlger on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 5:20 PM

Let's face it. Dory was stuck with a building that was his idea. It was built with no buyer or tenant in mind and the financing fell on the tax payers indirectly. It stood idle for several years. He had a chance to hook a tenant, no matter the details of the lease, and he took it to get his feet out of the fire

-- Posted by albert on Sat, Dec 3, 2011, at 10:11 PM

It was never a good idea for the citybto compete with local developers. Beside the spec building, don't forget Mr. Dory has control/for sale of the lots along Ballard Lane. Dory platted the lots, supplied water and sewer ( which was changed because the lines were to small) with no buyer in hand. Can't remember how many years it is, and we still own them. I believe if the new owners of Eitels Flowers would hire 1 person, they would have created more jobs than Dory without the aid of a heft salary, office and multiple trips to the Far East. I don't fault Dixie Chopper, business is business, but didn't they just tear down a taxable building because they didn't need the space? Good job Dory!

-- Posted by NeverChanges on Sun, Dec 4, 2011, at 8:01 AM

who is on the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission and how are they appointed? Are they political appointments like the school board or does the public have a say so?

-- Posted by albert on Sun, Dec 4, 2011, at 11:23 AM

Techno trim, Mallory's, back to Fillmore now the spec building, where will Dixie Chopper move to next? 1.) Old Marsh Building, 2.) Block Busters 3.) Old Bowling Alley 4.) Jones School building is now empty again 5.)Monon Grill Building

-- Posted by illudo illusi illusum on Mon, Dec 5, 2011, at 10:58 AM

Albert... great questions! I have been asking these and other questions for over a year. It's difficult to get answers, mainly because so few people know exactly who and what the Putnam County Development Commission is about. There are some occasional references, but very little substance. Here is what I know. June Pickens is the President and Bill Dory is a Director and these are about the only public figures that we know about. To my knowlege, Bill Dory is the only paid employee of the organization. They also paid for the recent trip to China/Japan for the Mayor and Bill Dory. They basically meet in secret, the meetings are not open to the public and they are not a government entity. Therefore, there is no requirement to explain what they are doing or planning. Somehow they represent the local governments of Putnam County, schools and the major businesses. Individual businesses appoint their own representatives. I believe there are representatives from the cities/town represented, but also believe these are appointed and their names are held fairly close to the chest. I also believe that each school corporation is represented on the board. I do not know how this organization is funded -- maybe through an annual membership fee for the cities/towns/businesses that are represented. If this is so, then the fee seems to be hidden in the city/school budgets and may only be discussed in executive sessions.

I would place this organization in a "black ops" category that is supposedly working for the benefit of Putnam County. Funding, organization, purpose, and schedules are not available to the general public. Basically these are Putnam County's version of "Men & Women in Black". Good luck finding out more information. If you "search" June's name at the Banner-Graphic, you will see her letter to the editor (August 2011) that explains some of what they do.

-- Posted by gunner on Mon, Dec 5, 2011, at 2:23 PM

June is the assistant superintendant for the Greencastle school corp. She was formerly employed I think at Lear. Bill Dory is the next door neighbor to former mayor Nancy Michael. Seems like an awful lot of back yard and dinner table dealing. Info about this whole spec building thing is scarce as hens teeth. I have been trying for years to find out how much money Greencastle taxpayers fork out each month on the interest payments. I understand that investment rules for cities and towns prohibit speculation in real estate ventures, but do not include rules regarding paying interest on this type thing. Some folks presumed to be in the know have said the city portion is in the neighborhood 12K per month. Multiply that by the 4 years the building has sat vacant and you come up with a whole lot of cash. I inquired 4 years ago to get info for Steve Butts' mayoral campaign and was told then to mind my own business.

-- Posted by Vernie1 on Mon, Dec 5, 2011, at 10:00 PM

Its bad enough that this has gone on,but has anyone ever noticed that the so called "BUY LOCAL",or the "SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS" campaigns toted by the local politics,,that even the concrete floor was poured by a large out of town contractor!!! They brought in out of town labor,took the VERY HIGH profits OUT of TOWN! I guess I should have noticed that EVERYONE in GREENCASTLE was covered up with work! WAY TO GO GREENCASTLE!! AGAIN!

-- Posted by Ya THUNK on Tue, Dec 6, 2011, at 7:39 AM

Can anyone tell me with a straight face who paid for the out of county concrete?

-- Posted by muscleman on Tue, Dec 6, 2011, at 8:31 AM

Don't recognize any of these names above on last month's election ballot....hmm..

-- Posted by kubotafan on Tue, Dec 6, 2011, at 6:36 PM

You're right bomtrax5. I didn't see your name on the ballot either. Does that mean you approve of all the behind the scene antics? Just because someone doesn't have their name on the ballot doesn't mean they can't ask viable questions. That's how people learn......By asking questions. (besides, how would you know who they really are? I don't think they could use their banner graphic secret name)

-- Posted by muscleman on Tue, Dec 6, 2011, at 7:15 PM


I believe you meant Mason's wall......I'm sure it is easy to mess up a family owned business that has been in the town for how many years?

To bring you up to speed.....the insurance company refused to pay the claim and is now dragging everything to court...god only knows how long that will take. In case you weren't aware, the building didn't collapse persay, the Wall on the east side was made with brick that wasn't meant to be exposed to the elements. When the building that was there, burnt down....nothing was done about the wall by the guilty party or by the city when they took ownership. Then said city, decided to powerwash the bricks, trapping water within the wall....said water then froze...expanded and pulled away from the 2nd floor joists enough that they fell to the first floor.

And everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. The Insurance company (a local one HBG I think) refused the claim...despite being paid for many many years......

-- Posted by J_Mason on Wed, Dec 7, 2011, at 12:38 PM

Muscleman,my point is go to government meetings and ask these questions instead of using comment section of BG or run for public office. Be heard,make a difference,it works.

-- Posted by kubotafan on Wed, Dec 7, 2011, at 4:46 PM

Same stuff different day. Does anyone else remember the last trip to the Far East happened when even the American military was being removed from some of the very areas purported to be on the tour schedule due to a little wave coming ashore? Kind of makes you wonder where they really went and what the money was spent on doesn't it?

AFA Masons? Interesting how the insurance found just cause to deny the claim. Under what clause I wonder? Act of God? Insurance claims for major catastrophe to business that aren't a matter of negligence, human error other than that of the policy holder/his designee` or act of God are rather hard to deny, or so the industry says. Apparently by J-Mason's comments, engineering reports and copies of maintenance reports from the city to prove what happened. So why leave the building standing as it is, as a public safety hazard and also an impediment to access to other businesses/deterring people from shopping on that side of the square, which is a slap in the face of the Buy Local campaign the downtown merchants are so fond of touting? What purpose are they hoping to serve by leaving it like that?

-- Posted by miraclemom3 on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 12:00 AM

Thank you miraclemom3. I did not know that the city took ownership of Mason's building when the first fire occurred. If the bricks weren't made to withstand the elements of the weather then why didn't you cover it up after the fire happened? So when the city supposedly powerwashed the wall, that's what sent the inside tumbling down? that's a good one. Then why aren't they suing the city already? Was Mason't not compensated financially when the fire happened? If so then the wall should have been fixed at that point. Thanks again miraclemom3 for being just about the only person that thinks that eyesore is truly a danger. Nobody else seems to care. And by the way, yes, people in wheelchairs have to stop, drop and roll down into the street into the paths of oncoming semi's flying around the corner. Keep the prayers flowing for the safety of everyone that decides to visit the downtown square. We should really all be very proud of the way it looks. bahaha

-- Posted by muscleman on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 8:23 AM

To Ya THUNK - I'm not sure where you get your information, but my husband is a union carpenter out of Local 182 in GREENCASTLE and is currently working on this project. This is the 1st local work he has had in YEARS and we are very grateful to Garmong for hiring locally! They are certainly keeping the Green in Greencastle by giving my husband, and others, a much needed job. We plan on spending our green locally to pay it forward, and we hope you do too...tis the season!

-- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 12:05 PM

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