To understand the history and future of the Vanderburgh Industrial Park, located north along State Road 57, one has to look back at the start of the Evansville Industrial Foundation.
The EIF was founded in 1958 after eight years of economic downfall in the city and as a result of the Fantus report, also released that year which detailed the economic state of Evansville. The goal of the group was to bring industry back to Evansville’s economy through the development of land, buildings, and industrial parks in the city. Through its first year, the group built industrial parks in an effort to boost the options for companies to move to the area.
The Vanderburgh Industrial Park, created in 2008, today houses a dozen companies and two shell buildings. It has been a source of expansion sites for companies such as Brake Supply and new attraction projects, most recently Amazon, EFP Corporation, and Israeli-based Polyram. The EIF owns and operates the park, while the Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville assists in the marketing of the property.
“There aren’t a lot of desirable buildings for modern manufacturing in the area,” says Growth Alliance President Ellen Horan. “The advantages VIP provides is it is zoned properly, has adequate utilities, and the shell buildings are ready to be customized.”
These shell buildings allow for developers to see the space available for them to acquire quickly and begin business in Evansville at a far faster pace than constructing their own building.
“A problem developers run into is old buildings are taken up by warehouses and the shell buildings make it easy,” says Horan. “The VIP has been a success at pulling in new development.”
And the demand is there — recently two more shell buildings (one 150,000 square feet and the other 75,000) were completed in a public-private partnership between Vanderburgh County, the EIF, and Woodward Development. It gives Horan hope there will be another VIP in the future.
“We are fortunate to be in a state that’s pro-business and in a region that’s supportive of development,” says Horan.