Development ‘boom’ in Wells County has hundreds of jobs and houses in the works

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WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Help wanted signs and construction signs are on the rise in Wells County thanks to a development ‘boom.’

Wells County was one of three northeast Indiana counties, joining Allen and Whitley, to grow its labor force during 2020. Officials say that growth is expected to increase over the next year thanks to a number of projects under construction.

“These guys could go put their money somewhere else and get a better return,” said RTT Investments Project Manager Jeff Stringer. “They are worried about Wells County and want to put money back in their home town(s).”

Here are just a handful of projects currently in the works in Wells County.

Inteva Products

A look at the warehouse nearly complete.

Looking for a job? Michigan-based auto parts suppler are now hiring for their Bluffton location.

Inteva Products is leasing the West Lancaster Street warehouse from Midland LLC. Renovation of the facility started in March 2020 and cost more than $42 million according to the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Now nearing completion, the plant is expected to be fully operational by summer 2021 and employ more than 400 people.

Officials with Midland LLC said they’re looking to attract young business professionals to the area to help the community grow.

People interested in working for Inteva Products can apply online.

New warehouses in Markle & Bluffton

Near the Wells County and Huntington County line dirt is turning on Midland LLC newest project, warehouses, in both Markle and Bluffton.

On the west side of Bluffton, a new warehouse is under construction at the corner of E 100 S/Western Avenue and S Adams Street. The two hundred thousand square manufacturing building will house more ‘good-paying jobs.’ Both warehouses are spec buildings.

Ground is also moving on a second warehouse located next to I-69 in Markle. Once complete the building will be a four hundred thousand square foot warehouse. What company it will house will be revealed at a later date.

“The area around I-69 is going to blow up,” Stringer said. “There are a bunch of projects in the works that we can’t talk about yet but it will be huge.”

Flat Creek Pointe Subdivision

The tentative site for Flat Creek Pointe on Dustman Road.

A Wells County developer is hoping to find a home for a new subdivision on the east side of Bluffton.

“I’m hearing and seeing from many of the local leaders, community leaders, really want to see Bluffton grow and Wells County grow,” CEO and developer of Flat Creek Pointe Jeff Shelton said. “And we are getting a lot of support in that way which is a positive.”

The 154 home subdivision named, Flat Creek Pointe will be located on E 100 North/E Dustman Road.

Homes will range in size and price range and can be custom-made to fit the owner’s needs.

However, unlike most housing complexes, near the center will be a common area, similar to a park, where kids can ride their bikes and play.

“It may not be the most profitable use of some of that ground but we are going for something much more than that,” Shelton said. “We want to be able to provide a quality of life that lives on that side of town.”

The homes will be built in three to four phases. Shelton says that about 30 homes will be built in phase one. A majority of the lots in phase one have been purchased.

Dirt will be moved on phase one will start moving later this summer with homes under construction as soon as fall 2021.

Premier Flats Apartments

North of Bluffton, the newest apartment complex is nearing completion and excepting applications to rent.

Premier Flats located near the intersection of Main Street and Commerce Drive just north of Walmart. The project has been under construction since November 2020.

The complex will have 180 apartments ranging in sizes. Features will include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and recessed lighting.

Apartments will be ready to movie in by June.

Developers will also be announcing a new office complex and businesses going in front of the apartment’s clubhouse and on land near the apartments and the neighboring Walmart.

Old Bluffton Hospital Apartments

During a February 2020 Bluffton City Council meeting, the council voted to rezone the former Bluffton Hospital to multiple family housing in the form of apartments.

The building is located on the south side of Bluffton at the corner of West Spring Street and South Main Street.

View of the old Bluffton Hospital

Built in 1917, the building served as a hospital for more than 80 years. The one hundred thousand square foot building still houses some Bluffton Regionals offices on the first level. However, the rest of the building is unoccupied.

At the time officials with the project told the council that the apartments would be affordable and cost-effective. However, since the original vote, COVID-19 has caused the project to stall.

According to the Wells County Economic Development Executive Director Chad Kline, the project fell through. However, the county is working to find the ‘right developer for the facility.’

Currently the hospital is for sale by the Sturges Property Group for nearly half a million dollars.

Future Projects

The city of Bluffton and Wells County is also gearing up for more projects involving both houses and businesses.

Back in March, Parlor City Estates, a housing development that could put up to 174 houses south of Wells County Road 200N and east of Ind. 1/Main Street received development plan approval.

Also approved a complex of duplexes and triplexes that will put 16 buildings and 39 housing units off of Lamar and Main streets.

In May construction of a 46-lot major subdivision on Bluffton’s south side was approved. The home will be divided between single-family homes and villas and be constructed between Clark Avenue/Hoosier Highway and Wells County Road 200E.

Over the next few months, the Wells County Economic Development meetings will be busy as more subdivisions and housing projects are expected to be proposed.

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