Development authority approves negotiation of largest-ever land sale at River Ridge Commerce Center

By Nicole Childress, Building Kentucky

The River Ridge Development Authority (RRDA) approved a resolution to allow Executive Director Jerry Acy to negotiate the sale of 600 acres or more within the megasite at River Ridge Commerce Center (RRCC). The sale, if completed, would be the largest, single land deal in the history of River Ridge and lead to development of another major project at the Southern Indiana business park.

The board’s approval allows Acy to continue conversations with a confidential industrial or commercial prospect interested in purchasing the undeveloped land for a planned development. The potential purchaser has indicated the project would include constructing a build-to-suit industrial campus consisting of multiple facilities.

“This would be a significant project for River Ridge,” said River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy. “We’ve reserved the land at the megasite to accommodate major, transformational projects that require large parcels of land, and this project certainly meets that standard. We’re optimistic and look forward to bringing the project to fruition for the benefit of our entire region.”

With a sale price of $70,000 per acre, the land deal would generate at least $42 million in funding for the RRDA. The funding would be used for operations and further development to attract companies and jobs to Southern Indiana. To date, River Ridge has invested more than $150 million in roads, water and wastewater infrastructure and other infrastructure. However, only about one-third of the 6,000-acre park has been developed.

The RRDA estimates it will need to invest at least $250 million more for future development.

Building on a strong year

“We’ve had a lot of success bringing new developers, employers and associated tax dollars to the communities, especially during the last year,” Acy said. “This is another example of how reinvestments in River Ridge can pay off.”

Among the major highlights of 2021 include:

  • Communications Test Design, Inc. (CTDI), a leader in the rapidly growing communications, mobility, and consumer devices service industries, opened a new location at River Ridge Commerce Center. CTDI located in a 702,800 square-foot building developed by Van Trust Real Estate and plans to add up to 1,000 full-time employees paying over the county average wage over the next five years.
  • Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Company, announced plans to expand its regional Central Fill facility at a new location at River Ridge. The expansion will allow for the creation of 60 new jobs in addition to current 115 associates who may transfer to the facility.
  • Affinity, a uniform, professional workwear and safety garment manufacturer and distributor, opened a new U.S. headquarters, manufacturing facility and distribution center at River Ridge. The company located in a 100,000-square-foot building developed by America Place and plans to create 160 new jobs.
  • OmniTRAX, a national supply chain logistics solutions provider and transportation, began operations at River Ridge. The company, which operates a network of 21 regional and shortline railroads, will further develop rail infrastructure and services at River Ridge and help attract new employers to the Commerce Center.

“This has been a very successful year for River Ridge, and this is a great way to cap it off,” Acy said. “We will work closely with this potential investor to complete due diligence so the buyer can move forward with development and construction of another great project at River Ridge.”

The River Ridge Development Authority manages the River Ridge Commerce Center, a 6,000-acre business and office park established in 1998 to replace lost economic activity from the closure of a former government installation at the site. River Ridge is home to more than 60 companies, such as Amazon, Bose, Collins Aerospace, Enjoy Life Foods, Medline, Optum and PharmaCord.

Onsite employment totaled more than 10,500 in 2020, and the Center produced a total of $2.5 billion in economic output and supported more than 17,500 regional jobs. The investments and growth at River Ridge recently earned the RRDA the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse. For more information, visit RiverRidgecc.com.

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