Efforts are being stepped up to find a new business to occupy the former Stelrema building on U.S. 35 north of Knox. The building’s been empty since Stelrema’s parent company Gettig Technologies filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012.
Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver says the foundation will be hosting an event for potential buyers, “The open house is November 19 from 8:00 until 12:00, and we’re going to be inviting about 3,000 people. We hope there’s 50 that show up, but the main thing is to get the word out about the building.”
Invitations are being sent to real estate brokers as well as companies considering new locations. The foundation worked with a local graphic designer to develop marketing materials.
Weaver says the building’s current owner has worked hard to clean up and restore the facility, “Over years, things happen to a building. You run a wire here, more wires there, and you put up this little structure and that structure, and it gets pretty cluttered and it’s not attractive to potential purchasers. It narrows down the floor space. So we have a 113,000-square-foot building that’s now been restored to a beautiful condition inside, got wonderful corporate offices, got great floor space and ceiling height, and our goal is to find someone to buy that.”
Weaver says many businesses prefer to buy an existing building, “It used to be that land was what everybody wanted, and then the persons would come in and build their own. The last five to seven years, that’s changed to people are looking for existing buildings, feeling it’s cheaper and actually quicker to convert an existing building to a present use, rather than building from scratch.”
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s working with Commercial Advantage, a real estate broker based in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, to help sell the building.