Southern Indiana: America’s New Premier Development Site

River Ridge Commerce Center, located on 6,000 acres along the Ohio River, has become a prime destination for advanced manufacturing and distribution leaders.

By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2019 Issue

When PharmaCord was experiencing exponential growth, the company could have located anywhere in the country. It chose the River Ridge Commerce Center in Southern Indiana.

With its transportation and logistical strength coupled with big-city amenities and small-town charm, River Ridge “provided us with a world-class facility” that would “afford us the space to grow and fulfill our potential as a company,” said Nitin Sahney, founder and CEO of PharmaCord, a key connector between pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, doctors and payers. River Ridge Commerce Center

PharmaCord knew what companies around the world are discovering—River Ridge is the perfect spot to grow a business, offering employers everything they need.

River Ridge is now a top destination for advanced manufacturing, distribution and industrial companies from across the nation and around the world, boasting a $2.3 billion regional impact.

With 6,000 acres located along the Ohio River and within the Louisville metropolitan area, the commerce center is easily accessible by almost every form of transportation and lies within minutes of four interstates (I-71, I-64, I-65 and I-265), the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville and rail connections to the entire country. It’s also within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.

These unparalleled logistical advantages and proximity to Louisville, Cincinnati and Indianapolis have already attracted more than 50 companies, including Amazon and Bose, with nearly 10,000 employees on site. It is currently home to Fortune 500 companies Tenneco Inc. and Enjoy Life Foods, and industry leaders such as DENSO Corporation, Medline Industries Inc., Autoneum, Briova Rx, Mister “P” Express and Niagara Bottling.

Coming off a year of strong accomplishments, and with more than 70 percent of its 6,000 acres left to develop, River Ridge is preparing for another year of dynamic growth. PharmaCord announced just last month it would lease two floors of the Gallery Building, owned by America Place, at River Ridge and construct a $40 million facility within the commerce center. The expansion will create 850 jobs.

Sitting in a prime spot at the Crossroads of America on land once home to the old Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, the community purchased River Ridge from the Army with a vision of becoming a global hub for commerce. Today, hot on the heels of one of the nation’s largest infrastructure improvement projects, the Ohio River Bridges Project, its vision is already being realized.

River Ridge has invested more than $100 million in infrastructure, including roads, rail service, utilities and site clearing, with several million more invested by the city, state and federal governments, and more is planned. As a result, it has shovel-ready sites that range from small tracts for startup ventures to a 1,000-acre megasite, a rare commodity in a metro location.

Indiana is also one of the nation’s best business environments, with a declining corporate tax, flat state corporate tax and no tax on inventory or gross receipts.

“Global companies like Niagara Bottling are choosing to grow here because of Indiana’s commitment to building a business-friendly environment that helps yield a positive return on their investment,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

River Ridge Commerce Center
River Ridge Commerce Center, pictured above, has more than 70 percent of its 6,000 acres still available to develop.

River Ridge and its partners also offer several incentives, such as TIF, property tax deductions, EDGE tax credits, HBI tax credits and grants from the Skills Enhancement Fund. The commerce center is a designated Indiana Urban Enterprise Zone and has direct connection to a U.S. Foreign Trade Zone.

In addition to its industrial capabilities, River Ridge is also home to research and development organizations across multiple industries. “We want to be on the cutting edge of technologies across the spectrum,” said Devin Hillsdon-Smith, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Strategy with the River Ridge Development Authority.

Quality of life is another draw, with Southern Indiana just minutes away from the city of Louisville’s thriving arts community, nightlife and nationally known dining scene. With its low cost of living, the location benefits employers and employees alike, and is an ideal location for young professionals and families.

River Ridge’s natural beauty is also a draw, with its new 600-acre office and research campus designed by master developer Hollenbach-Oakley LLC as an economically and environmentally sustainable feature that enhances the quality of life for not only employees, but everyone in the community.

Its landscaped 16-acre multipurpose green space, called the Common Core, and amenities are aimed at fostering workforce well-being. Employees can eat lunch next to a 5-acre lake with a waterfall and island, or hit the many walking trails, bike and multi-use paths that will stretch for miles through wooded ravines and open fields. Its open-air amphitheater and event space are adjacent to Charlestown State Park.

“There is so much happening here,” said Hillsdon-Smith. “We want to be the place for economic development, and we have all the tools here to make it happen.”

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