Reprinted from The Monroe News
Published May 6, 2021
by Dean Cousino
Monroe County commissioners and Frenchtown Township Board members were among a group of local officials who toured the immense new InSite Real Estate Investment distribution center under construction at the former Nike Missile Base site last week.
The officials visited the warehouse complex Friday as guests of Insite, the Illinois developer overseeing construction of the one-million-square-foot complex at N. Telegraph (US-24) and Newport Rds. County and local authorities are touting the progress and value of the plant on 269 acres of mostly wooded property under the sponsorship of InSite and FCL Builders, the general contractor.
Commissioners briefly discussed the Ford project at the end of their 50-minute meeting Tuesday, which was held via Zoom.
“We went as guests of InSite to see what real economic development looks like and to hear from their Vice President of Development and his remarks about the market in Monroe County and our region,” County Administrator Michael Bosanac told commissioners. “The vice president spoke to us about the opportunities in the region. The site is within one day’s drive to nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population and nearly 70 percent of the Canadian population.”
He said Monroe also has tracts of land that are of interest to developers given the size of tracts available.
“We also have workforce talent for companies investing here,” he said. “Monroe is a lantern with a lot of interest for developers. We just need to be patient for the jobs and tax base that will come… the jobs are the driving force.”
The center is being built on one of three primary parcels ripe for development at the Nike site. There are economic opportunities for the other parcels, too, Bosonac said.
The site itself is one of several primary development areas noted in the Monroe Link Plan, the region’s strategic economic development plan, he added.
“It’s the marquee development to date under the vision of the plan,” the administrator said. “So, realizing the development at the former Nike Missile site is validation for many who have supported the economic development plan and its pillars for progress.”
He added InSite Real Estate is a “buyer, developer and operator of high-quality, income-producing real estate throughout the United States and we are pleased to have them with a presence in Monroe County.”
The tour was an opportunity for local officials to “understand the marketplace first hand from a national developer who has made a significant commitment in Monroe County,” Bosonac said.
Tim Lake, president of the Monroe County Business Development Corporation, also noted the benefits of the county’s economic development efforts.
“We will be looking to build off momentum from this project as we seek additional investments in the new economy,” Lake said in an email Wednesday. “Supply chain and logistics clusters are attractions for other job creation, including in the manufacturing sector. Monroe County has tremendous assets as well as lower transportation costs coupled with high levels of service. With Monroe County’s proximity to the United States’ key trading partner, Canada, we need to continue our development efforts.”
With the $5 billion new Gordie Howe International Bridge scheduled to open in 2024, the county is looking for additional interest in locating new investments along the I-75 corridor.
Lake said the InSite investment serves as a leading example of the community partnerships that have been built under the Monroe Link Plan.
“The vision of creating the plan when the Gordie Howe Bridge was announced was about getting in position to attract new investment,” he said. “This was only possible through assembling a team of community leaders who have advanced the action plans underneath the BDC’s leadership. These leaders are all about creating the opportunities we seek right now for our communities and the next generation of citizens who can thrive in Monroe.”