ELKHART — Plans to incorporate a revamped adjacent movie theater as part of the Shoppes on Six development in Elkhart is not happening, according to a spokesman for Thompson Thrift, the developer.
While replacing the theater with a state of the art facility was touted during the initial announcement in 2012 by the Indianapolis-based company, that’s not happening, said Chris Hake, director of retail development.
The company provided an update Tuesday night before a city council committee that was reviewing a request for financial support from the city.
The theater is located just south of most of the development. Hake did not go into any details in what happened to the idea.
A person for Carmike Encore Park 14, said in a brief phone interview Wednesday that the company did not have any formal involvement in the past and would not have any further comment.
Overall, though, Hake gave an upbeat outlook about the development and said they remain hopeful that the owners of the theater will be encouraged to renovate their facility as the retail project comes to fruition,
Shoppes on Six is an 18-acre development southwest of C.R. 6 and Cassopolis Street.
Other details mentioned Tuesday:
■ Construction on the main anchor building should be well under way by the end of the year and stores should open by July 2015. Those anchors are Ross Dress for Less, PetSmart and Shoe Carnival.
■ Space remains available for a restaurant along C.R. 6.
■ Council member Mary Olson said she continues to hear questions about other big name restaurants and stores such as Panera Bread. Hake said Panera is viewed as an “extremely desirable tenant for any project” and they remain open to the idea that something like a Panera will be attracted to the development once construction reaches a "critical mass."
■ A spokesman said they will put an emphasis on using local contractors.
Much of the meeting involved financing.
The city has tentatively agreed to invest $3 million into the development. Half of that was already approved by the city redevelopment commission and involved a loan from the city's Major Moves Fund that will be paid back with tax increment finance revenues.
The second portion of money would be used to construct a north-south road, improvements to C.R. 6, a new traffic signal, street lights, sidewalks, infrastructure, landscaping and some irrigation.
The plan is that Thompson Thrift will purchase two bonds and those will be paid back with TIF dollars. That plan was being reviewed by council's finance committee and still needs final approval by city council.
Barkley Garrett, director of economic development, said Wednesday that Thompson officials had agreed to provide a list to council of details on how the entire $3 million will be used.
The finance committee sent the plan on to council with no recommendation.
Councilmen David Henke and Ron Troyer sought the no recommendation motion while Brent Curry opposed it.
Henke said he thought the investment was too much and compared it to a tax abatement.
The total construction project for the development is estimated to be around $15 million. That means the city’s investment represents roughly 20 percent of the overall cost.
Despite his objections, he predicted it would win final approval by council.
The council granted tentative approval to the $3 million development agreement early last year.