Tremendous Growth in Merrillville

Each year in January we are presented with the Planning and Building Departments Year in Review report. It is a comprehensive report from Planning and Building Director Shelia Shine and her staff about the development that happened the previous year.

The report indicates the number of Board of Zoning Appeals cases and what action was taken on various requests. It also includes what the Plat Committee reviewed, and the action taken. There are many steps that go into building in Merrillville from a conceptual idea to the final blueprint reviews and finally Town Council approval.

The Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals provide much of the detailed work that goes into a favorable, unfavorable, or no recommendation to the Town Council. The Town Council, who are your elected representatives has the final say on anything that comes into town.

Estimated project costs over the past 5 years have been strong, however, last year showed an almost double increase in construction costs versus 2020 and 2021. Both the years 2020 and 2021 had $91M in building costs almost double the 2019 figure of $58M. Last year, in 2022 the construction costs again almost doubled with a 47% increase coming in at just under $183M.

2023 is off to a great start as many projects have begun but are in the early stages of development. New to Merrillville is The Silos at Sanders Farm business park, located south of 93rd Avenue off Mississippi Street. It is the region’s first 1,000,000 (one million) square foot building. There will be a total of 3 to 5 buildings on the site. A 264,000 square foot, and another at 575,000 square foot building.

Liberty Estates is now under development and Weiss Entities has razed the old grocery store at 93rd Avenue and Taft Street to begin a luxury apartment complex with underground garage parking for all units. That project will also have townhomes along 93rd Avenue. Edward Rose is building another apartment complex near Methodist Hospital which should attract medical professionals working at the nearby medical corridor along Broadway.

It is not all warehouses… last year $85M was in residential buildings and $43M in commercial/industrial buildings. Merrillville is maintaining a nice mixture that is very healthy for proper growth and for building the accessed values in town. The more we have, the less current homeowner pay.

Naturally permit fees have escalated with a recorded $605,000 in 2020, $748,500 in 2021, and a whopping $1,261,000 in 2022. Our highest record to date. I’ve rounded these numbers and you may view the exact numbers in the charts that I have included. -Rick Bella 


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