U.S. 30 bustling with businesses
August 16, 2009

Hobart/Merrilliville corridor continues to be major draw, despite economy

Build a large shopping complex, such as Westfield Southlake mall on U.S. 30, and other businesses will come, said David Lasser, of Commercial In-Sites in Merrillville.

That continues to be the case along a stretch of U.S. 30 from Broadway in Merrillville to Ind. 51 in Hobart, where there is an estimated 6 million square feet of retail/commercial space.

"It's the main retail stretch for all of Northwest Indiana," Lasser said.

He said the recent economic downturn hasn't really put that much of a damper on the growth in that area.

"Occupancy is still over 90 percent," he said.

In at least two locations along U.S. 30, old buildings are being torn down so new ones can be built in their place. Across from the mall, a new McDonald's is under construction at 1939 E. 80th Ave., the site of a former Boston Market.

At U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street, the former Purkey's Amoco has been demolished to make room for a Luke Oil gas station.

Ryan Richardson, a spokesman for Luke Oil, said his company hopes all the red tape will be completed in a timely manner so the new gas station could be open by Christmas. The company also owns a gas station in Merrillville, at U.S. 30 and Georgia Street, and one in Valparaiso, off U.S. 30.

"This is our first gas station on U.S. 30 within Hobart boundaries," he said.

Richardson said the retail corridor, near the mall, is a big attraction for his business because it draws shoppers and travelers who in turn need to fuel their cars.

"The sheer traffic volume that runs through there is what draws businesses to locate there," Richardson said.

There's still a lot of vitality remaining along U.S. 30 corridor despite tough times, Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor said.

"There's a lot of interest in U.S. 30 even during a time when the economy is sluggish," Snedecor said.

He believes the U.S. 30 corridor, including the area east of the mall, will continue to develop as infrastructure is put into place.

"As sanitary lines expand east, you'll see more growth in that area," he said.

There's still plenty of good business news along U.S. 30, Lasser said.

Recently opened businesses on U.S. 30 include Auto Zone and Gino's restaurant.

In addition, Lasser said Big Lots is poised to move into the former Harlem Furniture, and DePont Motors has redeveloped the former Gateway. Other businesses, including the Albanese candy factory, recently expanded, while other businesses, such as Arby's, moved from one location along U.S. 30 to another, Lasser said.

He estimates there are 25 available tracks of land, both fully developed and undeveloped between Broadway and Ind. 51.

The cost for some prime lots, particularly those closest to the mall, is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Some of the mall's outlots are so costly they can only be leased, not sold.

"It's the most expensive real estate you can't buy," Lasser said.

Posted in Lake on Sunday, August 16, 2009 12:00 am | Tags: Indiana, Business, Hobart, Merrillville, Retail


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