ELKHART — The city of Elkhart will invest $3 million to assist in the construction of a high-end retail development on the city’s north side.
The redevelopment commission approved a request by developers, Thompson Thrift Development Inc. of Carmel, Ind., to provide the funding through a loan and issuance of two bonds for the Shoppes on Six retail outlet on C.R. 6.
The second phase of the shopping center is tentatively expected to include TJ Maxx, Shoe Carnival, PetSmart, numerous other stores and possibly a fully reconstructed movie theater that will replace the existing Encore Park 14 theater, which is owned by Carmike Cinemas.
The property is located on the southwest corner of Cassopolis Street and C.R. 6, and includes an existing Verizon Wireless store, which represented the first phase of construction.
The new development would involve property to the east, west and south of the Verizon store.
On Monday, developers gave the panel an update of their plans that were announced in October.
The construction project is estimated to be around $13.5 million and construction is expected to begin in about 10 months.
The developer had hoped to have an agreement with the city two months ago and wanted to begin construction in May 2013. Finalizing a deal with the city took longer than expected and the developer is still working on agreements with the retailers.
Officials expressed concern that the timetable has been pushed back from the original start date, but Ashlee Boyd, senior vice president of Thompson Thrift, expressed confidence that the plan with retailers would come together.
City money, though, won’t be turned over for the development until 75 percent of the tenants are locked into the plan, said Barkley Garrett, director of economic development for the city.
Construction plans include a new traffic signal on C.R. 6 near the existing Lowe’s and Walmart.
All of the city financing will be paid with revenues from the Cassopolis Street Tax Increment Financing district. Revenues from TIF come from new development on top of what the property already generates.
The effort by the city is somewhat unique and marks the third time the city has assisted commercial development in recent years with TIF revenues.
The city helped with construction costs for the Martin’s Super Market on Bristol Street a few years ago and also helped finance phase one of the Shoppes on Six project.
The plan represents the biggest new retail development in the city in many years, according to Barkley Garrett, director of economic development for the city.
Helping redevelop the Cassopolis Street area is important because of its connection to an exit on the Indiana Toll Road, which brings large amounts of traffic into the city, Garrett said.
Once completed, the stores are expected to employ more than 200 people, Garrett said.