ELKHART (February 21, 2019) – The third and final anchor project spurring Elkhart’s River District revitalization has taken a major step forward.
The Elkhart City Council has approved Mayor Tim Neese’s request for an economic development loan to support the $34 million mixed-used neighborhood center, which will transform the existing Easy Shopping Center South. Developer Great Lakes Capital has proposed to repurpose the site with a new Martin’s Supermarket complemented by 154 residential units that will connect Jackson Boulevard to the Elkhart River.
“The foundation of the River District Revitalization Plan outlines three anchor projects, which include the Elkhart Health and Aquatics Center, the Flaherty & Collins housing development, and the Great Lakes Capital project,” Neese said. “Combined, these projects represent $135 million in total investment and help to create the type of urban, walkable environment needed to grow and sustain our population.”
To facilitate the revitalization of this site, councilmembers approved two separate loans, totaling just over $8 million. This includes public financing of approximately $4.6 million, which will be repaid at a three percent interest rate using solely the property tax revenues generated by the new development. The City will also act as a local investor, contributing an approximately $3.8 million direct loan, which will be repaid by the developer at a four percent interest rate.
Construction is anticipated to occur in two to three phases and take approximately 18 months to complete. The first phase, beginning this spring, will allow Martin’s Super Market to relocate closer to Jackson Boulevard in a new building with a modern store format, similar to its other successful stores.
“During the initial planning process, several things became clear,” Neese said. “Specifically, the public wanted to maintain a local grocer downtown. More generally, they wanted to see more than plans; they wanted to see results. To have all three projects confirmed and under construction only two years after the River District Revitalization Plan was formally adopted by the City is progress we can all be proud of.”
The 154 residential units will be completed in two phases, following the completion of the super market. These units will join the Flaherty & Collins development as one of only two large scale market rate apartment investments in the City’s downtown in nearly three decades.
The complex will offer a variety of units from one bedroom studios to two bedroom apartments. Units will range from 700 to 1,500 square feet. Rental rates will range from $900 to $2,000 per month, with the average unit being 830 square feet renting for $1,080 per month.
Mayor Tim Neese’s vision of the River District Revitalization Project is to develop a vibrant urban space that complements existing Main Street assets and creates a destination where people want to live. The plan calls for the development of 1000+ housing units in the River District and surrounding downtown area to meet current market potential. These additional units are supported by a housing market study completed by the renowned Zimmerman Volk and Associates.
For more information, visit www.elkhartriverdistrict.com.
Note to the press: Attached and below is an up-to-date rendering of the proposed town green, framed by the new mixed-used neighborhood center.