Elkart retail project receives deadline extension from city

A retail development on Elkhart's north side is progressing slower than expected.
Posted on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Plans for an upscale shopping development on C.R. 6 have taken longer to develop than originally planned.

The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission last week approved a request to extend a deadline by 120 days to sign tenants after a presentation by the developer, Thompson Thrift Development, of Carmel.

A spokesman for the firm said they are close to finalizing plans for three main tenants but asked for the extension while the company works to sign those and other businesses for the retail development at the southwest corner of Cassopolis Street and C.R. 6.

When first announced, officials mentioned numerous big retail chains that might be part of the Shoppes on Six development and pointed to their success with other projects, including one in nearby Warsaw.

The project would be the biggest retail development in years in the city of Elkhart.

To help with the development, the company sought and received an agreement from the city for $3 million for infrastructure improvements associated with the project.

In January, the city redevelopment commission approved a request for a loan and issuance of two bonds totaling $3 million.

Ashlee Boyd, senior vice president, told the redevelopment commission last week the company is making progress with signing tenants but needed some more time.

He expressed confidence the plan would come together.

The agreement with the city requires Thompson Thrift to have enough tenants signed, representing 75 percent of the total square footage of the main project, before city financing could become available.

The commission granted the 120-day extension but also informally made it clear they would like to see the three anchors signed by the end of December.

Representatives of the company told city officials they hoped construction would begin late this year.

Thompson Thrift also agreed to set up a $50,000 fund set aside in the event they can’t make the deadline, and the city would incur financial costs associated with the work on the bonds, said Gary Boyn, an attorney for the redevelopment commission.

Thompson Thrift confirmed earlier this month that Dunkin’ Donuts will be part of the overall project and could break ground within a few weeks. The popular coffee and donut store could be open for business by April or May.

The Dunkin’ Donuts project is part of an “outlot” development that could include four or five stores. It is separate from the overall development, said Chris Hake, director of the retail group for Thompson Thrift Development.

The outlot project involving the donut shop will be east of the Verizon Wireless store and is not dependent on the bigger project, Hake said

Two other tenants that are part of the project that includes Dunkin’ Donuts have been signed, but the company is not prepared to announce those names, he said.


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