- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A city in northern Indiana will get a new chocolate production facility and two museums, one with chocolate exhibits and artifacts.

The South Bend Tribune (https://bit.ly/2o5pk7K ) reported that South Bend Chocolate Co. will purchase more than 70 acres of undeveloped land from the city for $1. The purchase agreement being considered requires the company to spend at least $5 million within five years to develop the buildings, totaling at least 60,000 square feet. The agreement will be discussed by the city’s Redevelopment Commission at its regular Thursday meeting.

Company president Mark Tarner said he hopes to break ground within a year or two, after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The site is close to South Bend International Airport.

Tarner will eventually close an existing production plant and small chocolate museum on Sample Street. The historic building housing the old plant limits the automation needed to be competitive. Once the new location opens and Sample Street closes, Tarner said he expects to hire a larger workforce.

“Wait ‘til you see this; it’s going to be good,” Tarner said. “I hope we’ll provide some new vision for jobs and growth on the west side of South Bend.”

Tarner founded the company in 1991 and now has 13 company-owned stores in northern Indiana. There are also four franchised locations in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com

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