South Bend assists AJ Wright sale

Today the City of South Bend did what it could to assist in the possible sale of the former AJ Wright building on Sample Street near Olive.

AJ Wright shut down its warehouse and distribution center in early 2011 leaving some 600 people without jobs.

“It bothers I think a lot of people that it’s 500,000 square feet that is sitting vacant,” said South Bend Economic Development Director Don Inks. “It is, however a newer warehouse distribution center and there are a number of entities that should be able to find use for it.”

It now appears likely that the building will see new life, now that a sale is apparently in the works.

“I think it would be unusual for AJ Wright to ask for an estoppel certificate unless they had a potentially pending sale so I think that there’s something real here.

The identity of the potential buyer is not yet known, but hopes are high that the property will be back in use sooner, rather than later. “I’d like to see about 800 jobs at that site, and a bustling amount of business activity there,” said Inks.

South Bend’s Redevelopment Commission today provided an estoppel certificate that should assist in the sale of the property.

The city was a party to the original sales agreement in 2002 that called on AJ Wright to create a certain number of jobs.

Since the company failed to produce those jobs it continues to pay financial penalties to the city and is scheduled to do so through 2019.

The certificate approved today simply assures the buyer that the financial penalties are the obligation of AJ Wright and AJ Wright alone, and do not pass to the next owner of the property.

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