Continued development, investments and sales activity position Southern Indiana business park for employment boom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeffersonville, IN (January 26, 2022) – The River Ridge Commerce Center posted one of its most successful years ever in 2021, with a record number of investments by private developers and historically strong sales activity as more prospects look to locate major facilities at the Southern Indiana business park. Meanwhile, the River Ridge Development Authority (RRDA), which manages the Commerce Center, made significant infrastructure investments to fuel long-term growth.
“This was a transformative year for River Ridge,” said RRDA president J. Mark Robinson. “Our staff and partners not only managed significant additions to the Commerce Center, but they also continued to build a strong foundation for the future. In 2021, River Ridge added new, higher-wage jobs, diversified the mix of industries represented, invested in expanding water and wastewater capacity, and forged new partnerships that will ensure the Commerce Center continues to grow for decades to come.”
The River Ridge Commerce Center currently is home to more than 70 companies with estimated employment of more than 10,600 onsite workers. According to a 2020 economic analysis, it produces a total of $2.5 billion in economic output and supports more than 17,500 regional jobs.
New employers to add more than 2,000 workers
Several employers that expanded in 2021 at River Ridge will bring thousands of jobs to Southern Indiana. They include:
- Communications Test Design, Inc. (CTDI), a leader in the rapidly growing communications, mobility, and consumer devices service industries. The company opened a new facility at River Ridge that is slated to become one of the largest employers at the Commerce Center with more than 1,000 workers.
- HempRise, which invested more than $70 million to construct the world’s largest industrial hemp processing and innovation facility to produce CBD and hemp extracts.
- Affinity, a uniform, professional workwear and safety garment manufacturer and distributor, located its U.S. headquarters, manufacturing facility and distribution center to a property within River Ridge. The $3.9 million project is expected to create 160 new jobs with pay averaging 32 percent above the Clark County average wage.
- PharmaCord LLC opened a new operations and call center that will provide support services to patients and physicians on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. PharmaCord’s plans call for the addition of 850 new, full-time positions at River Ridge.
Gateway Office campus adds first building
A major initiative took shape in 2021, as the RRDA and its partners opened the first building in the developing Gateway Office & Research Campus. The 45,000-square-foot office building will serve as the home for the Development Authority and Clark County Government. The $12.3 million building overlooks a 5-acre lake, an amphitheater and walking trails, and is the anchor for the planned Gateway Office & Research Campus.
“We’ve been looking forward to this development for several years,” said River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy. “This building provides the Class A space we needed to host prospects and partners, including a large community room and multiple conference rooms. It also illustrates the advantages available for companies looking to locate headquarters, research and development facilities and corporate offices within River Ridge.”
Prospects and announcements reach record level
Despite the challenges of COVID, the RRDA saw its most active year of economic development activity in its history.
River Ridge responded to a record 154 requests for proposals for economic development projects and hosted a record high 41 prospect visits from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., commercial Realtors, site selectors, owners and developers. These visits culminated in announcing 15 potential land sales that would result in development of more than 800 acres and more than 3.4 million square feet of additional space within the park.
These potential development deals include the largest land sale in the history of River Ridge – a more than 600-acre parcel. The deal, announced in December, would lead to the development of a build-to-suit industrial campus with multiple facilities on River Ridge’s megasite.
“We have seen so much enthusiasm and excitement nationally and regionally from companies wanting to locate at River Ridge,” added RRDA president Mark Robinson. “We truly believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible.”
Infrastructure continues to be a major focus
To support sustained growth, the RRDA forged several partnerships in 2021, including a deal to add world-class rail service for the Commerce Center. OmniTRAX, Inc., a comprehensive supply chain provider and its parent The Broe Group, began operations in November as the new rail partner for the River Ridge Commerce Center. The long-term partnership allows the national rail-services provider to further develop the park’s rail infrastructure and tenant base. In addition to providing OmniTRAX customers a centralized hub to reach the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast markets, the agreement allows OmniTRAX to collaborate with the RRDA, state and local officials to attract new projects that increase economic development within the region.
The rail agreement with OmniTRAX allowed the RRDA to terminate the last remaining encumbering agreement it inherited from the U.S. Army in conjunction with its purchase of the Commerce Center land. Initially, as of 2003, there were 53 leases assigned to the RRDA by the U.S. Government that encumbered and hindered early development of more than 3,000 acres within the business park.
River Ridge also struck a new water operating agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) that will expand its water supply. The 50-year contract reserves up to 20 million gallons of water per day from the Ohio River Outflow Aquifer, which is owned by the Indiana agency. The RRDA also completed negotiations for the IDNR to construct new water wells and treatment facilities to add 3 million gallons per day to the water system.
Meanwhile, River Ridge began construction of new supply lines and two, 2 million-gallon water towers to accommodate the long-term needs of businesses within the Commerce Center.
And the RRDA worked with the cities of Jeffersonville and Charlestown to seek funding for waste-water treatment facilities. That work led to inclusions of the projects in a $50 million request a Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant. The State of Indiana announced in December that Southern Indiana’s regional development authority would be awarded the grant, and the funding is expected to be split among numerous projects.
“This has been a great year for River Ridge and Southern Indiana,” Acy said. “Most importantly, we are poised for an even better year in 2022 if this progress continues.”
About the River Ridge Development Authority
The River Ridge Development Authority manages the River Ridge Commerce Center, a 6,000-acre business and office park established in 1998 to replace lost economic activity from the closure of a former government installation at the site. The Authority has invested more than $150 million to redevelop about 35 percent of the Center. River Ridge is home to more than 70 companies, such as Amazon, Bose, Collins Aerospace, Enjoy Life Foods, Medline, Optum and PharmaCord. Onsite employment totaled more than 10,600 in 2020, and the Center produced a total of $2.5 billion in economic output and supported more than 17,500 regional jobs. The investments and growth at River Ridge recently earned the RRDA the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse. For more information, visit RiverRidgecc.com.