The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Top stories: BDC campaign, houses go up

Editor’s note: With 2019 nearly over, the Van Wert independent has again selected its top 10 stories of the year, and will be including those stories through Tuesday, December 31. After a break to celebrate New Year’s Day, the series will continue Thursday, January 2, with a story on possible important news coming in 2020. 

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Landing at Dickinson Farms subdivision investors (from the left) Andy Czajkowski, Chuck Koch, and Tom Turnwald pose Dave Souers and Nathan Bidlack of Granite Ridge Builders as ground is being cleared to construct the first four new homes in the subdivision. VW independent file photo

Today’s top stories for 2019 are Nos. 7 and 8. No. 8 is the launch in July of the Van Wert Business Development Corporation’s $1.2-million Accelerate Van Wert strategic economic development initiative. The five-year plan, to be implemented by the BDC, in collaboration with area partners, is to expand the focus of the 2014-18 Opportunity Fund program, which raised funds to construct a 100,000-square-foot spec building on the site of the former Chrysler Amplex building on Grill Road.

Local businessman Andy Czajkowski, one of three co-chairs for the Accelerate Van Wert campaign (the others are Michele Purmort Mooney, CEO of Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency, and Adam Ries, chief lending officer for First Federal Savings & Loan), said the spec building saved 80 jobs at Eaton Corporation and created 20 new positions at the company, which leased the building as a storage facility after it was completed.

Czajkowski, who noted that a business consultant recommended that the county be ready when prospective businesses come looking for a developed site, stressed that the Accelerate Van Wert campaign is focused on job creation and job creation as one of its three main goals.

The other two are attracting, retaining, and aligning talent in order to address and reverse the county’s declining population, while also strengthening the community’s “quality of place” to retain and bring more workers to the area to support existing businesses and attract new ones.

Major contributors to the campaign to date are Central Insurance Companies and The Van Wert County Foundation, both of which have pledged more than $100,000 to the campaign; Citizens National Bank, Braun Custom Ambulances, Robinson Investment Ltd., and First Federal of Van Wert, which have all pledged between $50,000 and $99,999 to the campaign; and Statewide Ford Lincoln, which has pledged between $25,000 and $49,999.

The No. 7 story is the start of construction of new homes in The Landing at Dickinson Farms — the first new Van Wert residential subdivision in more than a decade. 

The idea for purchasing the land came from Tom Turnwald, one of the four original investors, who had sought to purchase a plot of land from the Dickinson family to construct a new YMCA on the site. With the Dickinson eventually deciding to sell the entire 160-acre site, though, he and fellow investors Andy Czajkowski, Chuck Koch, and Scott Niswonger started looking for a good purpose for the site and came up with the idea of a housing subdivision to construct mid-level homes in Van Wert.

Additional investors were also brought on board, including Fort Wayne, Indiana-based JATS LLC, while Fort Wayne contractor Granite Ridge Builders will be investing in building custom spec homes on the site, as well as houses that will range from $190,000 to $400,000, and even higher, depending on what homeowners want.

Ground was broken on site preparation work in October 2018, and streets and utilities were put in place on the 160-acre site in 2019. On December 20, Granite Ridge began work on four spec houses in the subdivision, while another two homes will be started when the owners complete the design and materials selection process. 

Initially, a 40-acre site will be developed as Phase 1, with 68 home lots created. A retention pond will also be placed in the center of the subdivision, according to Granite Ridge officials.

POSTED: 12/27/19 at 12:07 am. FILED UNDER: News