U.S. 30 expansion:  going east, young man
Publication date: 11/5/1999 as seen in the Hobart Gazette
By: Bob Burns

Watch out, Valparaiso. The Merrillville/Hobart business district along U.S. 30 is coming your way.

“Build it and they will come” may have referred to this busy Lake County highway instead of  a baseball field in Iowa.  Even as construction workers rebuilt the highway this summer, new businesses were being completed, others were started and still other sites were coming on the market.

Remember 10 or 15 years ago when Toys ‘R Us was built in a farm field?  When Frank’s Nursery suffered a similar loneliness at U.S. 30 and Colorado Street?

Today, both sides of the divided four-lane highway are fully developed from Mississippi Street to Colorado, thanks in great part to a tax-increment-financing district that financed sewers and roads for the area.

The area from Colorado to Clay Street and beyond now is quickly filling up.

Bailey’s, a high-tech car wash, will open in a couple of weeks just east of Southlake Homes.  A bit farther west, Nick and Peter Kaiafas have begun their Avalon Manor banquet hall, which will be ready for parties of up to 650 people by next July 1.

Skillman Corporation, which oversees construction of schools, hospitals and other not-for-profit buildings, is erecting its own headquarters at U.S. 30 and Utah Street.

Albanese Nut & Candy is building a new manufacturing plant and outlet east of Clay Street.

Farther east, a bank and Gas City convenience store have been built at U.S. 30 and Indiana Route 51.

Still further east, a gas station/convenience store is being built at U.S. 30 and Randolph Street, to open later this year.

Deep River Waterpark, almost at the Porter County line, will not be out in the country much longer.

Standing in the middle of this commercial growth is Commercial In-Sites real estate sales company and its president, David Lasser.

Skillman and the banquet hall both are adjacent to In-Sites’ location at Route 30 and Utah Street.  Most of these deals have been arranged by Lasser and his staff.

At the recent Business and Consumer Expo in the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, Lasser had nine pages of exclusively listed commercial and industrial sites for sale through Lake and Porter counties.  Many of  them are along U.S. 30.

“Northwest Indiana is being viewed with interest by many potential businesses,” he said.  One reason is the vast range of built space or vacant land available.”

He can assemble 173 acres of vacant land north of U.S. 30 around the Commercial In-Sites office, including the former U.S. 30 drag strip.

“This is probably the largest tract in this area with utilities installed and street cuts in place,” Lasser said.

Lasser has several buildings for lease and land for sale in the Standard Industrial Park, located along Colorado Street south of U.S. 30.

The land along the highway from Mississippi Street east to just past Route 51 is in Hobart.  East of there, the motorist or business owner is in Merrillville.

Commercial In-Sites also has a variety of buildings and land for lease in Merrillville.  They total four of the nine pages of Lasser’s listings.

There is an 850-foot office at 56th Avenue and Broadway, a 60,000-square-foot office building in the far south part of town and a suite in Twin Towers.

“There’s no question this is a hot market,” Lasser said.  He predicted that new construction looming at U.S. 30 and I-65 also will attract new investors to the whole area.

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