Indiana residents question mystery development
Jul. 18, 2017
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Landowners in a suburban Indianapolis county are being offered as much as $40,000 an acre by real estate agents, but it's unclear what plans are in the works for the nearly 2,200 acres of farmland in the area.
Real estate agents with Berkshire Hathaway have been sending out offers for land in Hamilton County for about 18 months, The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2tC22sR ) reported. The land being sought is near Klipsch Music Center and Hamilton Town Center.
Farmers who were approached said the agents have told them only that the buyer hopes to build something of significant economic value.
Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke said no real estate agents have approached the city about any development plans. Much of the farmland is in unincorporated Hamilton County, but the city would likely have to annex the property to connect it to utility and infrastructure services.
"It's kind of surprising no one has come to us because we would have a lot of jurisdiction," Cooke said.
Some property owners speculate that the large tract is being snapped up for an airport, a quarry, an amusement park or some other development.
"These rumors are tortuous. It's killing me," said Rebecca Harger, owner of Country Moon Winery.
She said she told the agents she doesn't plan to sell, but acknowledged: "I don't know what my neighbors are doing."
Wilson Gatewood, who owns Gatewood Farms, said he signed a purchase option to sell 900 acres. The 59-year-old said he was already looking to sell because growing development was making farm operations complicated.
Most farmers in the area have been offered the sales options, but Gatewood said he's not sure how many have accepted. Gatewood said he's not too concerned over the inevitable development.
"We don't want to see anything detrimental, but it's not up to us anymore," Gatewood said.
Marsha Thein owns about 100 acres of land with her husband, Martin. She said they're not yet interested in selling.
"I know this land will be developed one day, and I don't want to hold onto it my whole life," Thein said. "But the price has to be right."
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com