Kokomo Tribune: 306 Riverfront District opens to residents as city plans downtown trail work

By George Myers | Kokomo Tribune

Alongside a recently opened luxury apartment complex, and near the likely future site of a downtown hotel and conference center, Kokomo residents will soon see work underway on a city trail.

A portion of the local trail system, which was recently extended along Buckeye Street, will experience beautification and pedestrian-improvement efforts that correspond closely with the long-awaited completion of the 306 Riverfront District development.

The Kokomo Board of Public Works and Safety last week received bids for the aptly named Wildcat Waterfront Development Plan-Union Street to Main Street (South Side). The board collected one bid from Peru-based Bowyer Excavating for $1.86 million, which will likely be awarded in coming weeks.

In general, the Wildcat waterfront project involves work along the north side of the apartment complex between Main and Union streets, according to Kokomo city engineer Carey Stranahan.

Included will be a new concrete walkway, lighting and railing.

“The goal is to improve the aesthetics adjacent to the development, as well as improve the pedestrian experience along the Walk of Excellence,” said Stranahan in an email. The project will start by the end of April and be finished by the end of September, he added.

The trail project’s unveiling comes shortly after residents began moving into 306 Riverfront District, a $32 million mixed-use development of the former Apperson Brothers factory and surrounding property into a luxury apartment community.

Brian Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Flaherty & Collins Properties, the project’s developer, said residents first moved into the complex in March.

Moore noted the building project should be completed by mid-June.

And while city officials and developers have fed off each other in recent years — Flaherty & Collins executives have cited Kokomo Municipal Stadium as the impetus for the apartment complex — Deputy Mayor David Tharp said the development did not motivate the Wildcat Creek project; he instead called it a “cherry on top.”

Notably, Moore previously explained that the complex property will be delivered in stages, with three separate buildings scheduled to open at different times. The first building, 306 S. Main St., includes 73 units and a “large portion of the amenities for the property,” he said.

The other two buildings include a total of 126 units and the project’s commercial space, as well as a fourth-floor sky deck with views to the east, toward the stadium.

Moore said Monday that Flaherty & Collins is “actively looking for a (commercial) tenant, but nothing has been finalized.”

The ongoing development, which can be seen each day progressing toward completion across the street from Kokomo Municipal Stadium, will include 199 luxury apartments and nearly 5,000 square feet of retail space.

Flaherty & Collins Properties’ developers expect about 70 percent of the residents to come from out of the county, which they believe will create a direct economic impact to facilitate the growth of downtown Kokomo.

“This project would not be possible without Kokomo Municipal Stadium,” said Flaherty & Collins Properties CEO David Flaherty, referencing the stadium that accommodates roughly 4,000 spectators for baseball and other events.

“It will aid in creating a thriving, vibrant and lively downtown area which is the heart of the city,” added Flaherty.

The apartment complex and nearby trail work are also situated near the site local officials have targeted for a planned downtown hotel and conference center, which has yet to be formally announced.