More than $9 million in conditional state funds have been approved for a proposed $40 million data center and incubation space in Hammond. The project involves transforming the former State Line Generating Facility along the Lake Michigan shoreline into a 400,000 square-foot campus. During a webcast edition earlier this week of his Mayor’s Night Out event, Mayor Tom McDermott said redevelopment would put a property that used to be the city’s largest property tax payer back on the rolls.
"It would be the largest data center in the state of Indiana and we would be in competition with the big boys in Chicago if this comes in," McDermott said. "It’s interesting to hear how they (the IEDC) talked about our city, though — they said, and this is giving us a lot of credit — they said: ‘you’ve got the information superhighway going right under the railroad tracks there, they have access to cold water in Lake Michigan and they’re right off the Midwest power grid, they’re never going to lose power.’ It’s like, this is the perfect location for them. It’s a great use."
The state funding is from the IEDC’s DINO industrial recovery tax credit program, which provides incentives for former industrial sites that need significant rehabilitation work. The funds will only be released when qualified, proven investments are made. He says the project was spurred by the region’s recent pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters.
McDermott says the city would not have been able to get this far without the state support. The next step, he says, is for the city to reach a development agreement with NAP LLC, "something I am extremely confident we will finalize in short order." He added in an email to Inside INdiana Business "the possibilities for this project are endless. The amount of investment will be 40 percent of what the old Stateline Generator paid on the first day this project goes online, and there are still many acres at this location that can be developed. So to say the least, we are excited that Indiana joined our partnership." He says if the site is eventually fully-developed — NAP LLC plans only call for using a portion of the property — investment totals could stretch into the "couple hundred million" dollar level.
During a webcast edition earlier this week of his Mayor’s Night Out event, Mayor Tom McDermott said redevelopment would put a property that used to be the city’s largest property tax payer back on the rolls.