PRINCETON, Ind. (WFIE) - As the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana team makes progress on development plans, this investment is expected to have a significant economic impact. People will eye the Tri-State to fill those positions, but one hurdle might be finding housing.
Toyota anticipates adding 1,400 new teammates through a more than $800 million investment. Meantime, regional economic leaders are working to tackle a couple critical components.
“We have to be able to address ‘what is the talent issue’ from that standpoint, but do we have all of the pieces in place to allow that to occur,” Co-CEO of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership Greg Wathen asked.
Wathen says finding the right people to fill open positions is critical for any growing business and his organization is working to identify those folks before putting them on a path for employment consideration.
“Find these individuals who may not be from the market or might be from the broader region market, and then showing them here is a way you can get connected,” Wathen explained.
As the local housing market moves at high speed, a second consideration is where the new employees will live. Princeton Mayor Greg Wright says a 268-acre annexation of the city was recently completed, which is primed and ready for development such as housing.
“A lot of the folks that work here at Toyota drive a substantial distance,” Mayor Wright told 14 News. “So, our goal in the city of Princeton is to make an opportunity for them to find a place to live, to set up camp and to raise a family.”
Construction crews, with city leaders, broke ground last August on the old IGA property which sits along North Main Street in Evansville. The Director of Metropolitan Development calls this a workforce housing complex. This means those who make 60 to 120 percent area median income will be targeted.
“Thinking in terms of housing, quality of place, talent, investment is all aligned and have to work together for any of this to happen,” Wathen stated.
The grand opening for the North Main housing project is set for around spring of 2022.
As for Toyota, it employs more than 7,000 people. This expansion will push it beyond Princeton’s total population.