GOSHEN — Windows are boarded up, walls are bare and yellow caution tape ropes off parts of the building, but a year from now the former Hawks Furniture building near downtown Goshen will be home to more than two dozen people.
The three-story building at 215 W. Madison St. will be renovated to include 35 apartments on the north side of the former industrial structure.
“This development preserves and repurposes a historic building important to Goshen’s past, creates quality housing and brings new investment to our community,” LaCasa Inc. president Larry Gautsche said. “The additional benefit is a residential community designed to encourage artists and entrepreneurs to pursue their careers and businesses in Goshen.”
LaCasa Inc. is teaming up with DJ Construction to transform the building into the future Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center. Volunteers have spent more than 1,100 hours preparing the building for construction, which will include new plumbing, heating and electrical utilities plus updated windows, an elevator and a new roof. LaCasa hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project Thursday, April 17.
“It’s times like this when I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be the mayor of Goshen, Ind., because I don’t know how many communities could pull off something like this,” Mayor Allan Kauffman said.
Angela Rohs of NeighborWorks America, a national sponsor for the project, said the energy and creativity of the people who end up living in the Hawks building will strengthen the local economy.
“This is a first for LaCasa, and I think it’s a first for the state of Indiana utilizing specialized live-work housing to promote economic development,” Gautsche added..
Construction on the building is expected to finish in April 2015.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.