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Business tech hub could be coming to Granger as county eyes expansion along Capitol Ave. corridor

While many are focused on the western edge of St. Joseph County for economic development, county officials will soon consider rezoning around 900 acres of farmland on the east side of the county in Granger for industrial use.

The land sits between Cleveland Road and the I-90 interstate between Capitol Avenue and Bittersweet Road and is currently owned by St. Joe Farms. A proposal that will go before the county’s plan commission next week says the goal is for the land to be used for a “business-tech campus," potentially similar to Innovation Park in South Bend.

St. Josph County’s director of economic development Bill Schalliol said the rezoning proposal is a first step towards developing the Capitol Avenue corridor — a long-term goal county development staff has been working on for a while now.

"The Capitol Avenue corridor, you certainly look at access. You're easy on, easy off from the Toll Road. You've got great access down to the bypass with Capitol Avenue, you're close to Elkhart industrial manufacturing market. So the ability to look at that as a regional market is really key," he said.

With recent developments in Mishawaka, including a new massive athletic fieldhouse, that long-term vision is closer to a reality than it was a few years ago. However one big component to development in southern Granger is pre-built utility access. Easy water, sewer and gas hookups have made the Indiana Enterprise Center out near New Carlisle highly desirable and that infrasctrucutre will need to be put in place by the city of Mishawaka before business seriously consider the Capitol corridor.

“[We’re excited about] the opportunity to work with the city of Mishawaka," Schalliol said. "They’re doing some great things on Douglas and Cleveland with the new sports complex. … We’ve spent a lot of time having coordination conversations as the two areas merge together,” Schalliol said.

Schalliol said that even though St. Joe Farms is asking for the rezoning of 900 acres, not all of the land will be used for the new business park. He also added that the county will look to get written commitments to focus on tech and office uses for the land, as opposed to heavy industrial use.

St. Joe Farm currently operates a family farm on that land and has a series of barns that it uses as event space, mainly for weddings. Farm owner Paul Blum said he was unable to speak with reporters about the rezoning due to a family matter. Schailliol said the farm compound off of Currant Road won't be affected by the rezoning.

The county feels that future development along Capitol should stay north of Cleveland so as not to run up against Juday Creek.

The rezoning proposal will go before the Area Plan Commission next week and then to the county council before the measure is finalized.

"We feel we're in a good position. We've got a good partner with Mishawaka and looking forward to getting done what needs to get done to bring business to the east side of the county," Schalliol said.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.