The Indiana Regional Cities Initiative was designed to help communities across Indiana come together to transform their regions into nationally-recognized destinations to live, work and play. Our region was one of three regions selected and 2016 will be remembered as an important turning point in growing that national brand.
Our end of the year report card reveals high employment, low unemployment, rising wages, growing population, and some $300 million in new private investment on key projects around the area. Local, regional and national investors have taken note and are buying in and investing in the bright future that lies ahead in our region.
Residential construction will dominate most year-end reviews for the area. More than 2,400 new residential units, most in the urban core of South Bend or Mishawaka were either announced, began construction or were completed in 2016. In Mishawaka, the River Rock project was completed in the downtown, adding 70 units to the marketplace. Elsewhere, construction should begin in early in 2017 on several other downtown Mishawaka housing projects, including the River Walk Apartments, River Front Forge Condominiums (33 units), and the Mill at Ironworks Plaza (230 Units). Add to those construction at Grandview (200 units), Fir Road North (400 units) and Fir Road South (516 units.
But that only tells part of the story, South Bend has a housing boom of its own underway. Recently, the former Hoffman Hotel (48 Units) and the Colfax & Hill Development (17 Units) have opened. In the midst of construction is the renovation of The LaSalle (67 units), the JMS Building (52 Units) and the former Chase Tower (83 Units). On the drawing board are the East Bank Flats (12 units), the Wharf site Project (24 units), River Race Flats (32 Units), the Commerce Center (250 Units), the former Madison Center (55 Units), Berlin Flats (120 Units), and the Hibberd Building (12-16 units). Another 90 residential units are planned on the former Transpo site, just east of downtown. Also, the 202 units at The Pointe in South Bend experienced a major renovation in 2016.
Two new hotels opened in 2016, the Holiday Inn and Conference Center on Douglas Road in Mishawaka and the Motel 6 in Roseland. Construction is now underway at the Aloft Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott Downtown South Bend and the Holiday Inn at Toscanna Park, the Home 2 Suites on Edison and the Candlewood Suites on Douglas, all in Mishawaka. Another hotel is planned for construction at Blackthorn and the Inn at St. Mary’s experienced a major renovation in 2016.
On the retail side, Wilshire Plaza in Mishawaka experienced the biggest transformation as it added Sky Zone, Fresh Thyme, Christopher & Banks, Carter’s Osh Kosh, and DSW over the past year.
Our stock is on the rise. We are anticipating a strong 2017 when you add the announced projects above to those nearing completion. Today, people all around Indiana are taking note and in the future people around the country will also realize all our region has to offer.
But we’ve only touched on a part of the story. Next week I’ll take a closer look at the office, industrial, utility and healthcare sectors as well as some of the key infrastructure projects driving development in our area.