AVILLA — With the ceremonial turning of a shovel of dirt Tuesday afternoon work unofficially began on a new 47,500-square-foot facility in Avilla’s east industrial park.

The building located a half-mile east from the intersection of S.R. 8 and S.R. 3 will be the future home of McLaughlin Furnace Group, which currently operates out of a building in Avilla’s west industrial park.

Owner Jeff McLaughlin said construction on the project is set to begin within a week, with hopes of being in the building by March or April of 2020.

The new construction is the first of what town officials hope will be many.

“McLaughlin Furnace Group has been a good employer,” said Paul Shepherd, Avilla Town Council President. “We are glad to have them, they continue to grow with us.”

The new industrial park is 80-acres, bids are currently being taken for an entrance drive into the park off of S.R. 8.

Avilla purchased the 80 acres of ground for $415,000 in 2015 when the town realized its industrial park just off the west side of S.R. 3 was full. Since then, the town has been planning future development in the area, including extending utilities to the east to make the land ready for growth.

Despite being one of Noble County’s smaller communities, Avilla is home to several significant industrial firms. It’s location on S.R. 3 about 8 miles west of Interstate 69 access in DeKalb County or about 15 miles from Fort Wayne’s north side, along with nearby railroad access, have positioned the town well over the years to grow an industrial sector.

Shepherd hopes that the new construction will help to attract other businesses to the park.

McLaughlin Furnace Group uses cutting-edge technology in producing heat-treating furnaces for industry world-wide.

McLaughlin described his business as a one-stop shop for industrial facilities. The company custom builds and designs furnaces for business along with providing service and maintenance.

The facility currently produces furnaces for a wide variety of industries including the military, the coal mining industry and more.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important industrial furnaces are to industry,” he said.

Later this week McLaughlin is meeting with representatives from SpaceX before traveling to Vietnam to work with a client.

McLaughlin said the new facility will provide his company with the space it needs to help his business run more effectively and efficiently.

The new facility will include new offices, break room and workout facility for employees, while tripling the facility’s workshop space.

McLaughlin Furnace Group currently employees 42 people, with hopes of hiring 15-30 new employees within the next five years.

“We needed this expansion for awhile,” McLaughlin said. “Avilla has been great to work with. There are a lot of good things going on in the community.”

Leatherman Construction and Eshelman Excavating will be doing the work on the new building.

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