It’s difficult to be certain how many properties are available for businesses in Cass County.
The best way to look at that is the state realtors’ Multiple Listing Service, said Bill Cuppy, the Executive Director for Cass Logansport Economic Development Organization.
CLEDO and Cuppy work to bring businesses into the area and — more often — strive to keep established businesses here.
CLEDO and city/county officials have four properties they are definitively involved in promoting, and they’re at the Cass County-Logansport Industrial Park.
All four are “Silver Site Certified,” which means they have utilities access and zoning and businesses could start building on them instantly, Cuppy said.
However, CLEDO works with realtors in a number of ways.
“We do not try to compete with realtors. We don’t want to be an alternative option to realtors. We are not realty experts,” he said.
He keeps an eye on the MLS, and likes to know properties, but he’s not as versed as the realtors, he said.
So when someone contacts the city or himself, he’s familiar with some sites, and he knows realtors to contact for possible sites.
However, CLEDO does have listings of some available properties on its website, https://www.connectincass.com/sites-buildings/. The website lists information about size and zoning.
Cuppy said the MLS is usually more up to date because it happens almost immediately, and it’s accessible to everyone.
“Most of the inquiries we get are for warehousing space or just manufacturing space in general,” Cuppy said.
However, that’s a Catch 22 situation for Cass County.
The good news is major buildings are filled, but the bad news is that there are no buildings to offer, he said. The last major building available was the one that Logan Stamping moved into this summer.
“The good news is we filled it in a year,” which was quick, he said.
Cuppy doesn’t favor the county or city building a “shell building,” an empty structure a business can move into, though.
Of the 15 legitimate firms that looked at the building where Logan Stamping settled, all found something they didn’t like.
For a speculative shell building, you run the risk of building too big or small for businesses seeking a new site, so they could also find one thing wrong with the building.
“The hard thing is to estimate what to build,” he said.
He’s also not in favor of taxpayers funding a building, although he is open to partnerships with private owners with free land or incentives.
Property isn’t the only thing that factors into a business coming to an area.
It’s the ability to find workers.
For businesses that come into the city, there’s a “sweet spot” for the ideal number of employees it will need.
With the very low unemployment in Indiana, the number is 50.
If the number of employees a new business needs is in the hundreds, Cass County would see businesses stealing employees from each other.
“We don’t have the human capital to overnight have 300 (new positions),” Cuppy said.
The county would need potential employees to get employers.
CLEDO would not turn down any businesses coming into the area.
But everyone would have to sit down and see how to make it work,” said Cuppy.