St. Joseph County officials host special meeting on electric vehicle battery plant

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - For the second time this week, the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission held a special meeting on Friday.

For the second time this week, members took action needed for General Motors to build a massive EV battery plant here.

The locals have been working to lure the plant to St. Joseph County for about a year and a half.

The fact that special meetings are coming this late in the game appears to be a sign that the game is nearing an end.

“We believe that we have done all the steps so, this was really kind of the last step so, you know, we approved the options, we vacated roads, we’ve rezoned the property, we’ve done all the procedural things, and so then moving the properties towards closing really is kind of that last piece,” said St. Joseph County Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol.

Today, the county-owned or optioned land that makes up the 650-acre site was put within easy reach of G.M.

A proposed purchase agreement calls for the company to pay $55,000 per acre for the 629 acres that are privately owned. The potential price gap of $35.8 million will be lower since some of the property is road right of way, and some is ditch corridor.

The county owns 21 acres on the site, and it has agreed to sell the parcels for $270,500, which is the average of two professional appraisals.

With the purchase agreement now county-approved, it remains to be seen if G.M. is sold on the St. Joe County site as its plant location.

“So, we can’t sell; the properties won’t sell. Won’t close until that development agreement is signed. So, it’s just another part of their review process as they look to move the project forward,” Schalliol explained.

“We remain optimistic that we could be part of G.M.’S electric vehicle future and feel good about the action that was taken today to help prepare us for that,” added South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Jeff Rea.

Schalliol says he expects to hear a decision on the St. Joseph County site by the end of June.