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February 24, 2012

Officials courting pharmaceutical company

Clarksville’s Value City site is off the table

CLARKSVILLE — In recent months, officials in Southern Indiana and Kentucky have been courting a pharmaceutical distributor called Areva.

The company has been looking at various sites around the area to build a new distribution center that would employ more than 500 workers. Clarksville’s Value City Department Store building, which has stood vacant off Eastern Boulevard since 2008, may have been considered. However, that now appears to be off the table as Clarksville Redevelopment Commission President Bob Popp said he has other plans for the space.

After being asked about it by a reporter Thursday, Popp confirmed that town officials had met with Areva representatives about the site in recent weeks. However, he said, the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission will be discussing buying the Value City building at its next meeting, scheduled for March 1.

The Clarksville Little League Park sits behind Value City and Popp said it needs parking and a dedicated access road. Right now, the town leases 320 parking spaces and the access road leading into the park from Schottenstein Properties and The Salvation Army. He wants to up that to 500 spaces, which the town would own. There have also been discussions about using the building as an indoor sports facility or a new concept technology school.

“Right now, Areva would be third in line,” Popp said.

He said protecting the space around the park was important, but not everyone in Clarksville agrees.

“I’m disappointed that Bob [Popp] made this unilateral decision,” said John Gilkey, town council president. Gilkey would not confirm the name of the company interested in the space.

He said he’s tried to make contact with the company since and he has not heard back.

“I’m just disappointed,” he said, adding that the town had been working on the deal for eight months.

Popp noted that Areva also looked at the shuttered Colgate-Palmolive Co. plant and the area around the Kentuckiana Medical Center. Their interest in those sites is unclear, as officials from the company did not return phone calls Thursday.

Clarksville’s loss may be Jeffersonville’s or Louisville’s gain.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore noted that officials are working with a large pharmaceutical company that may be interested in space at Jeffersonville’s River Ridge Commerce Center. He would not confirm whether or not it was Areva.

Representatives from One Southern Indiana, The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the River Ridge Development Authority all declined to comment on this story.

According to its website, Areva specializes in sterile injectables. It’s based in Elizabethtown, Ky.

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