Monday, September 15, 2014

City seeks more info on Armory proposals

A final decision on the future of the Armory in Elkhart has been delayed for 30 days.
Posted on May 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on May 23, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.

ELKHART — One more chance.

That’s the word from Elkhart Economic Development Director Barkley Garrett Thursday after he recommended the city delay a final decision on the future of the Armory building.

The redevelopment commission met in special meeting Thursday, May 23, anticipating a recommendation from Garrett on two proposals to renovate the dilapidated Armory at 200 N. Main St. in downtown Elkhart.

Garrett was expected to either choose one of the development plans or suggest the city commence immediately with plans to demolish the building.

The city was looking at plans by Cripe Design of Elkhart and David R. Snyder of South Bend.

Garrett told the redevelopment commission both proposals lacked financial details and the city wants to give them one more chance to provide details.

Both plans lacked an anticipated cost figure to renovate and information about financing, he said.

Because of the historical nature of the building, officials want to provide every chance for it to be saved.

“We want to make sure this is not a rushed decision,” Garrett said.

Part of the concern in the lack of financial details is that the city wants to make sure the groups have the financial wherewithal to complete the project, he said.

Such an outlook, though, shouldn’t be viewed as a concern that they could not undertake the project, he said.

City officials have pushed an aggressive schedule in hopes of deciding the fate of the building quickly because part of the roof has collapsed and the west side of the building appears somewhat unstable. Traffic on Main Street near the property has been restricted.

Cripe proposes either a single use or multiple use project involving office space, retail or possibly a restaurant or bar. Snyder said he envisions housing a grocery store on the first floor and luxury apartments on the second floor. The city has expressed a willingness to provide up to $175,000 to the winning bidder to put toward the project. That figure represents the estimated cost of demolition.

The redevelopment commission normally meets in the early part of each month. No date for the new deadline was mentioned Thursday.

Garrett said he does not foresee any further delays once the 30-day period is reached.

“This is it,” he said.

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