MOR/ryde seeks street closure for expansion plans

The steel fabricating company in Elkhart hopes to expand its facility on Moyer Avenue.
Posted on June 18, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 18, 2013 at 5:15 p.m.

ELKHART — MOR/ryde International is seeking to close part of Moyer Avenue for expansion purposes for its facility on Elkhart’s south side.

The company, which has three manufacturing facilities in Elkhart County, is asking the city of Elkhart to close a stretch of the road from Bar Street to Folsom Street to accommodate expansion plans.

A public hearing on the matter was conducted Monday night during a city council meeting.

Bob Weaver, representing MOR/ryde, said recent purchases of land along Moyer Avenue have set the stage for expansion. The company recently tore down an old industrial building and purchased a few homes along the street. Officials hope to redevelop the immediate area into a corporate campus headquarters that will include green space and additional parking.

“MOR/Ryde ... now controls all the property on both sides of Moyer,” Weaver said.

With the street vacation, the company would construct a 58,000-square-foot building.

Part of the plan would include having the company’s main entrance face Sterling Avenue instead of Moyer.

Sidewalks along Sterling and Elizabeth Street would be improved as part of the plan, Weaver said.

Construction of the new building would happen later this year, if the street vacation is approved, Weaver said.

During the public hearing Monday, a resident complained about some truck traffic from MOR/Ryde that was not following specified truck routes, but Weaver promised the company would “redouble” its efforts to correct the issue.

MOR/ryde is experiencing a growth spurt, in part because of diversification, Weaver said.

The company designs and fabricates steel, much of which is used in the recreational van industry in Elkhart County, but an increasing portion of their business is being shipped outside of the county, Weaver said.

Two people, including Kyle Hannon, president of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the company and the plan.

Hannon called MOR/Ryde a good corporate neighbor and endorsed the plan.

A final vote on the street vacation is expected in July, Weaver said.

The company is expected to see annual sales this year of $65 million. The company employs 450 people at its three facilities. The company plans to hire about 100 additional workers in the near future and about half of those will be working at the expanded facility on Moyer if the street vacation is approved.

The company recently won a zoning request from Elkhart County commissioners for expansion plans on Cooper Drive.

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