The former Stelrema building on U.S. 35 north of Knox will soon be ready for occupancy. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Special Projects Coordinator Ron Gifford says it was recently sold to the Michigan man who owns the Freeman Products building at the corner of 300 East and Culver Road.
Stelrema’s parent company Gettig Technologies filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012. Gifford says the Starke County Economic Development Foundation worked closely with the bankruptcy trustee to negotiate an equitable settlement for the county as part of the sale. He says the county has received all of the back personal property and real estate taxes owed on the building. That is very unusual in a bankruptcy, as settlements are usually for pennies on the dollar. Instead the county got roughly $900,000 from the sale.
Gifford says the new owner is cleaning up the site and looking to sell or lease the space. The roof leaks in a few places, but other than that Gifford says it is in good shape overall with lots of modern office space and clean rooms which can be used for specialty production processes. The property is currently listed with a broker who serves the Chicagoland and northwest Indiana areas. In addition to the nearly 114,000 square foot building, Gifford says the property includes an optional 24 acres of adjacent farmland suitable for future expansion. At one time Stelrema employed more than 300 people.