Local News

Waiting Game Now for Battery Plant

(New Carlisle, IN) - Tax abatement has been approved for a proposed electric vehicle battery making plant that would employ a projected 1,600 people outside New Carlisle.


It’s now up to General Motors and Samsung to decide whether to go ahead with the estimated $3.5 billion investment.


“We’re just kind of in a waiting game,” said St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation Director Bill Schalliol.


The St. Joseph County Council on May 23rd voted unanimously in favor of tax abatement on the development proposed on a close to 700 acre site on Indiana 2 in Olive Township.


Schalliol said that is the same site General Motors and LG Energy Solution single out last year for building an over $2 million dollar electric vehicle battery making operation with a projected similar sized workforce.


The plans were scrapped when LG Energy Solution broke away from the partnership but later revised when General Motors and Samsung joined hands to construct a facility to make batteries for electric vehicles.


To his knowledge, Schalliol said the New Carlisle area site consisting of all farmland is the only location being looked at for the proposed three million square foot development about four miles southeast of New Carlisle.


“We’re just waiting for them to finalize the decision.  We anticipate that will happen here in the next month or so,” he said.


If constructed, Schalliol said he doesn’t expect any problems with finding enough workers despite the tight labor market, citing a development agreement that calls for the average salary at the plant to be no less than $24 an hour.


The goal is for the plant to be operating in 2026.


“We believe it’ll be a pretty popular place to apply and work when they get up and running,” he said.


Bert Cook, Executive Director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership, said a plant that size would have a positive impact on the community located about 20 miles west of the site.


He said how much of an impact is difficult to predict but there would be LaPorte residents working there and bringing more money back for the local economy if they’re paid more than they’re making currently.


“I think those would be terrific wages for individuals and that would represent great opportunity for many people here,” he said.


Cook said additional businesses like suppliers to the plant would likely go up near the facility, creating more jobs for residents in the area.


“It’s a big project for sure.  Absolutely,” he said.


Schalliol said purchase agreements have been struck with all of the present land owners who agreed not to farm this year.


General Motors and Samsung want to begin construction before the end of the year and don’t want to compensate the farmers for their losses if dirt started being moved prior to the fall harvest.


“If they choose to move forward they can without having to buy out crops or anything,” he said.

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