MISHAWAKA — Twenty years ago, the city offered plots of land to real estate developers to inject economic growth into the former Ball Band/Uniroyal site on the south bank of the St. Joseph River.
After demolishing the remains of Ball Band, once an economic mainstay, the Redevelopment Commission aspired to respond to bids from those with a vision to build homes and businesses on the waterfront lands.
But these offers were not received.
It would be two decades before luxury apartment builders, commercial developers – and the city itself – transformed what was once a factory site into a mixed-use riverside community.
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Ken Prince, Executive Director of Planning and Community Development, recalls the early days.
“It’s the result of over 15 years of work,” Prince said of the multitude of projects that have come and continue to come to the area. “Everything is going in the right direction.”
Perhaps the star of the downtown Mishawaka construction show is the transformation of the former Liberty Mutual Insurance building into a municipal service center that will become city hall, police station and commercial offices. of Mishawaka Utilities.
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The northwest facade of the 93,000 square foot structure has a two-story wall of glass that will be part of a new 150-seat chamber for the city council, while the facade along Main Street will be the ” front of the public services’ store. The police department will occupy the southern part of the building.
The project, which is expected to be completed this fall, will cost $20.5 million.
Ribbon of ice – cafe – event center
Construction on a replacement for the former Merrifield Rink at Ironworks Plaza in Beutter Park began last year.
City leaders said last year Ribbon Ice Project Bids came in at just over $15 million – almost $5 million less than the $20.5 million estimate.
In order to provide winter activities in the park, the ribbon of ice will also complement the café. And an events center in the building will accommodate groups of up to 120 people.
City officials said the tentative completion date could allow ice skating for the 2022-23 winter season.
The Mill at Ironworks Phase II
City leaders hope funding will be granted for the construction of the second phase of the Mill at Ironworks complex adjacent to Beutter Park along the St. Joseph River. This proposal, which has a total price of around $47.6 million, would bring an additional 215 luxury apartments to the rapidly developing waterfront area.
When The Mill opened its first phase in the fall of 2019, apartments filled up. City officials say it has attracted residents from outside the area, with some estimates as high as 30% of residents coming from other areas.
All eyes are on the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative or READI program, which will share up to $50 million for projects in the region. The region’s Regional Development Authority will evaluate some 200 brick-and-mortar project and program proposals, one of them being The Mill Phase II.
A decision is expected later this year.
Beacon Medical Clinic
Beacon Health System plans to demolish the existing building at Lincoln Way East and Church Street south of the utility structure he bought for a medical clinic with laboratories. This initial phase calls for the completion this year of a 16,500 square foot facility at a price of $12.5 million.
Diane Maas, director of strategy and digital at Beacon, said demolition of the old bank building on the southwest corner of Church and Lincoln Way will begin in February.
The clinic will have imaging services, primary care physician offices and specialist medical services.
“It’s definitely a growing market,” Mass said of Mishawaka. “With many more people here, there is a greater need for health care.”
Maas said the project means Beacon will have completed a decade of searching downtown Mishawaka to find a location for a clinic.
In Phase 2, the current Mishawaka Utilities building will be razed for another 15,000 square foot addition to the clinic. Maas said healthcare market conditions will determine what this building will house in the future.
Other downtown projects
Other previously announced downtown projects, although not started, are also likely to change the local landscape if they become reality:
• The city has a development agreement for a high-end hotel plan with the Barak Group for land east of the Main Street Bridge. A city-funded $2 million race relocation project has prepared the property for a hotel.
• There is also a development agreement for a 100-unit apartment building project on the Front and Spring Streets property near the Beutter Park roundabout.
Not just downtown…
Areas away from downtown Mishawaka are also experiencing commercial development.
Regional Athletics Facility
Mishawaka is undertaking the development of a sports facility project for the area adjacent to Douglas Road on Veterans Parkway to serve as a regional draw for a variety of sports activities and tournaments.
Plans call for a 350,000 square foot indoor sports facility at an estimated price of $50 million that would include eight courts that would be used for volleyball and basketball and two grass courts that could be used for soccer. indoors, baseball and other activities.
Prince said funding for the facility is still under consideration. The project applied for READI funding as part of its cost structure.
Juday Creek Wellfield and Water Treatment Plant
The project off Douglas Road would construct five wells with a 24,000 square foot treatment plant and a 500,000 gallon water storage tank to serve the pressured University Park district with water and treatment capabilities .
Officials say the project would allow existing water treatment plants to be taken offline for rehabilitation.
McKinley Commons enhancements
Construction of John’s Car Wash is under construction at Grape Road and McKinley Avenue. Plans also call for the Smoothie King facility to be built just north of the car wash, while a three-tenant building just west of John’s has received preliminary approval from planners.
John’s could be open by the end of January. Company officials told The Tribune it was waiting for certain equipment before it could open.
Development of the university market
The former Tequilas Jalisco restaurant building at Cleveland Road and Indiana 23 will be razed for a three-story self-storage business and drive-thru restaurant. C. Brody Glenn, representing Centennial American Properties, said the $10 million development would bring the three-story self-storage business to the rear of the 2.25-acre property, with a restaurant at the flywheel yet to be determined to be built. on the land nearest Cleveland Road.
Fall Ridge Subdivision
Last year, the city approved an extension of the Autumn Ridge subdivision north of Fulmer Road. The new phase would consist of approximately 35 new single-family homes, along with a significant portion of land that would remain undeveloped as a retention and buffer.
Lincoln Way East-Capital Avenue Renovation
The Capital Avenue/Indiana 933 Corridor (Lincoln Way East) should see a new hotel development and two new restaurants, as well as updates to the route near the intersection.
The Mishawaka Inn property on the north side of Lincoln Way East would be transformed by a local development partnership from the national hotel chain.
Additionally, a new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant is planned for the north side of Lincoln Way East between the hotel and the mall which includes an Auto Zone store.
And the owners of the former Pizza Hut property on the south side of Lincoln Way East have secured the rezoning of an unnamed fast food restaurant. There are plans for the current building to be razed, for the main entrance to the new restaurant to be on Mariellen Avenue, not Lincoln Way, and for the construction of a new building for the restaurant.
The developers have not publicly named the restaurant chain.
Preliminary fieldwork has begun on the Dunkin’ Donuts site, but work has yet to begin on the former Pizza Hut property.
Tesla bows out
Despite winning council approval in July for an ‘electric car company’ showroom and car center – which has long been rumored to be Tesla – on the former JC Penney Home Store site on Grape and Cleveland roads, developers have confirmed the project seems dead.
Chris Sotos, representing Key Development Partners, the company developing the project, confirmed last week the contract with the electric car company – which was never officially named – ended last summer. He provided no further details.
The automaker had offered to lease the 35,500-square-foot JC Penney building from Key Development and tear down the smaller building to the west.
Ken Prince, director of city planning and community development, said he’d heard rumors the deal fell through, but that likely had more to do with Tesla’s current expansion plans than any problems with the site.
Email South Bend Tribune reporter Greg Swiercz at firstname.lastname@example.org.