Major retail project moves forward

Shoe Carnival, PetSmart and Ross department store signed by developer.

Posted on Feb. 18, 2014 at 9:22 p.m.

ELKHART — With three anchor tenants signed, the biggest retail development in Elkhart in recent memory is now moving forward.

Shoe Carnival, PetSmart and Ross Dress For Less, a department store, have all agreed to be part of Shoppes on Six at the corner of C.R. 6 and Cassopolis Street on Elkhart’s north side, according to Ashlee Boyd, senior vice president of Thompson Thrift.

Boyd spoke at Tuesday’s redevelopment commission meeting, and his announcement comes more than two months after Thompson Thrift sought an extension to finalize plans with the anchors.

Having the three anchors lined up helps meet a threshold sought by city before financial support would become available.

With those agreements inked, city officials will now seek final approval from local boards for $3 million in the form of a loan and two bond issues.

The developer originally sought to begin construction in 2013, and the delay left one member of the city redevelopment commission, Paul Eash, somewhat frustrated late last year.

On Tuesday, Eash applauded the progress and noted his earlier concerns.

“We don’t mind having our feet held to the fire,” Boyd said.

Plans for the city’s portion of financing should be complete within two or three months, and preliminary construction is expected to begin this summer.

Boyd said after Tuesday’s meeting that the company hopes the shopping center could open for business in the summer of 2015.

The developer is currently in negotiations with companies to fill the remaining dozen or so other planned stores.

Plans include three free-standing restaurants, including two that will be on the east side of the development and near Cassopolis Street.

The first phase of the overall development involved a Verizon Wireless store.

In November, Thompson Thrift broke ground on a second phase, which it described as a multi-tenant building that will feature a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Other stores lined up for the building include Penn Station, Panda Express and Great Clips. The company is seeking to round out that project with one more store, most likely a restaurant, Boyd said.

Plans for the shopping center were first announced in October 2012.

The city had agreed in January 2013 to provide $3 million through a loan and two bond issues, all of which will be paid back using tax increment finance revenues from the Cassopolis Street TIF district.

The redevelopment commission approved the financial plans Tuesday.

City council, which already indicated support for the plan, and the economic development commission, still need to provide final approval.


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