NEW CARLISLE — Indiana is among 11 states that are competing for a Toyota and Mazda auto assembly plant, a $1.6 billion project that will create 4,000 jobs and potentially transform the economy of the area that lands it.
Could the New Carlisle area be the Indiana spot in play?
Toyota, after all, is already part owner of a power plant under construction in the area and buys steel from a nearby complex.
Bill Schalliol, St. Joseph County’s economic development director, says a developer approached him earlier this summer about a “large footprint project” just east of New Carlisle, between Indiana 2 and U.S. 20, on the northwestern edge of the county.
“There was a meeting and have been follow-up discussions,” Schalliol said. “They were asking questions as if it was a major project site.”
The developer indicated the facility would need plenty of electricity, Schalliol said, and require “heavy manufacturing” zoning. But as is common in such discussions, the developer wouldn’t identify his client.
A Toyota spokesman confirmed that the real estate company leading the site selection process is Jones Lang LaSalle. When asked by The Tribune, Schalliol declined to confirm or deny whether that was the firm that approached him.
Ken Carter, president of the New Carlisle Town Council, said rumors have circulated for months about Toyota’s potential interest in building a plant in the area.