Pharos-Tribune

October 13, 2013

Dollar General exploring third Logansport store

NIPSCO to invest millions over 7 years into Royal Center facility.

by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — Dollar General representatives are considering opening a third Logansport location.

The Tennessee-based corporation is in the “due diligence” phase for a potential store in the 600 block of East Main Street in Logansport, a spokeswoman said.

“We’re interested in putting a store there but we haven’t committed to doing so yet,” explained Crystal Ghassemi, public relations manager for Dollar General.

A building contractor filed a permit this month for a $800,000 project laying the foundation for a 9,100-square-foot retail building at 603 E. Main St. on Logansport’s south side.

“We go ahead and do a lot of permitting on the front end because ... the last thing we want to do is spend all the time and money and resources, to find out on the back end that we can’t do what we thought,” said Ghassemi. “It’s a little investment on our end to make sure that if it’s a store we want to move forward with, we already have the permits.”

Dollar General already has two locations in Logansport — one on the west side at 1301 W. Market St. and one on the east side at 3073 E. Market St.

Ghassemi could not say when the corporation was likely to decide on the potential south side store, saying the time required for the due diligence phase varies widely.

Across the country, the corporation operates more than 10,000 stores in 40 states and sold $16.02 billion worth of goods in fiscal year 2012, according to its website. Dollar General stock was added to the S&P 500 listing at the end of November 2012.

NIPSCO TO INVESTIN ROYAL CENTER OFFICE

NIPSCO, the northern Indiana public utility piping natural gas to the Cass County area, announced last week it planned to pump $713 million through 2020 into its natural gas infrastructure, including just under $1 million per year in updates to its Royal Center facility.

The seven-year plan includes projects ranging from replacing bare steel natural gas lines to installing 80 miles of transmission lines and building out to new customers in rural areas, according to a NIPSCO press release.

$280 million is allotted for the new transmission pipeline mileage. Eliminating bare steel gas mains and replacing low pressure systems is estimated to cost $61 million. Extending natural gas service to rural areas should come in at $99 million and retrofitting lines for in-line inspection should tally $46 million.

NIPSCO indicates the improvements shouldn’t mean large increases in utility bills. For the first two years of the plan, NIPSCO customers should see little to no change in their natural gas bills, then increases are expected to average out to about 1.4 percent annually after that.

In Cass County, where 11,453 customers including 1,303 commercial and industrial clients are located, the only project that’s been outlined so far is a set of upgrades to the Royal Center underground natural gas storage facility.

Investments there of just under $1 million in each of the seven years should maintain overall safety and strengthen the integrity of the infrastructure there, according to NIPSCO spokesman Nick Meyer. Those projects should range from installing new liners to replacing sections of pipes, valves and tanks, he said.

Parts of other segments of the plan may take place in Cass County as well, said Meyer, pending customer suggestions and market for new natural gas lines to rural areas. A portion of about $84.8 million set aside for work on pipeline attachments and crossings will also make its way into Cass County.

NIPSCO has not yet bid out any of the projects, Meyer said, but intends to seek local contractors for the work. Contracts are likely to be awarded in early to mid-2014.

The seven-year plan must be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission after input and review from other customer stakeholder groups including the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

For more information about the plan, visit nipsco.com/modernize.

Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME