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Two Firms Plan More Than $6 Million Expansion In Portage, Indiana

Area Development Online News Desk (04/01/2014)
Green Sense Farms and Linde Gas North America plans to expand their operations in northwest Indiana, creating up to a combined 28 new jobs in the city of Portage.

Green Sense Farms, a homegrown-Hoosier company that operates a commercial indoor vertical farm, will invest $2.14 million to renovate and equip a 30,000 square-foot facility at AmeriPlex at the Port in Portage, Indiana, which will be fully operational this month. The company, which grows lettuce, leafy greens and herbs in a pesticide-free environment, operates 14 growing towers that are 25 feet tall in two climate-controlled grow rooms with energy efficient Philips LED growing lights. Serving clients including Whole Foods throughout five states, the company plans to create up to 20 new jobs by 2015.

“We chose Portage for our first farm because of the business-friendly environment, the good work force and the easy access to the interstate highway system that allows us to serve a five-state area,” said Robert Colangelo, Co-Founding Farmer and President of Green Sense Farms. “We look forward to promoting sustainable farming and being part of the Duneland Community, a precious ecosystem.”

Green Sense Farms is currently hiring for positions that will assist with seeding, transplanting, harvesting and packing.

Linde, a member of the Munich, Germany-based The Linde Group, invested $4 million to construct and equip a new 3,800 square-foot specialty gasses production facility adjacent to its current operations in Hammond, Indiana. The company, which manufactures industrial, specialty and medical gasses such as oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, helium and hydrogen, supplies its customers through on-site production, pipeline tankers and cylinders. As part of its new specialty gas operation, the company plans to create up to eight new jobs by 2016.

“Our location in Indiana gives Linde and its independent distributors the ability to serve high quality products to a broad range of end users throughout North America,” said Jack Taylor, plant manager of Linde in Hammond. “We are very proud of this new facility which melds perfectly with Linde’s goal to be a total gas supplier and reinforces our commitment to our independent distributor network, the largest in North America. We are very thankful to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for their help and support towards this project.”

“Growing companies like Green Sense Farms and Linde know that when they need a state that works, they look to Indiana,” said Eric Doden, President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Key business strengths, such as an affordable business climate, targeted workforce training and a central Midwest location, allow companies to get more done here, creating new jobs and nurturing our Hoosier economy.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Green Sense Farms up to $175,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. Linde Gas North America was offered up to $72,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.

The city of Portage approved additional tax abatement for Green Sense Farms. The city of Hammond supports Linde’s project.

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