WNDU: F&C Mishawaka Project “Puts It All Together”

By Mark Peterson | WNDU South Bend

It is perhaps a defining moment for downtown Mishawaka: a planned development that is so big it includes the construction of a parking garage.

“A parking garage which is the first of its kind of the City of Mishawaka which will be for public use but the city will not own it or maintain it,” explained Mayor Dave Wood, (R) Mishawaka. “A 400,000 square foot facility right smack dab in the middle of our downtown. It’s mixed use, 230 residents, with some shops some retail and some commercial.”

It took a lot of guts when Mishawaka city officials imploded the contaminated riverfront eyesore known as the old Uniroyal plant, and replaced it with a genuine sight to see—the city’s premier riverfront park.

But perhaps it took even more guts to leave the former Uniroyal property vacant for nearly 16 years.

“Once chance to do it right, so when you think about all the folks over the years that have had an interest in doing something there, you know a lot of folks kicked the tires with types of uses that weren’t attractive. Mishawaka has held tight to the vision from the beginning that they wanted that urban, that density, that mixed use development and didn’t cave to the pressure of not having any activity,” said former Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea.

 Now the right project has finally come along. A four story building so big it will occupy two city blocks and some two and a half acres.

It’s expected that the 230-residential units will end up housing some 340-people—which is enough to warrant the construction of a 394 space parking garage.

The high end housing complex will feature resort style amenities and a rooftop sky bar.

“And really what’s significant about that project is if you added all the development that we’ve done downtown to date this would about double that,” said Mishawaka City Planner Ken Prince. “So it’s very significant what we’ve had with four or five different projects, this one project is more significant than all of that put together.”

The proposed project comes from an out of town developer—Indianapolis based Flaherty & Collins Properties.

The development appears to be contingent on Northcentral Indiana receiving a fully funded Regional Cities grant. Indiana lawmakers have yet to appropriate additional monies to make that happen with their 2016 session expected to conclude this week.

Plans call for the developer to contribute $23 million to the project, with the city and state each kicking in about $7.7 million.

“And I think the challenge has always been, there’s a little bit of a gap. Urban redevelopment is expensive and complicated and so the opportunity here to take the Regional Cities match and match local dollars and match state dollars and match private sector dollars has now created the financial formula to make it go.”