ELKHART — Elkhart City Council is looking at approving a third loan for the developer behind River Point West, a portion of the River District that will include a new Martin’s Super Market and 173 residential units.
With the $1,750,000 loan, Great Lakes Capital, through GLC River District Holdings LLC, will have borrowed around $11.9 million from the city. The project has gone over budget and is expected to cost around $43 million. The initial budget was around $34 million, and the increase, according to city staff, is largely due to an expansion of the project.
The 173 residential units will mostly be in apartments, but about 10 percent will be townhomes. The new 45,820-square-foot Martin’s, which was previously expected to be 42,000 square feet, will be located just to the north of the existing store on Jackson Boulevard. The current store will be torn down once the new store is completed, likely in the early summer.
Mayor Tim Neese, a Republican, has encouraged the City Council to approve the new loan.
In a letter signed by Shelly Moore, president of Insight Strategic Concepts, and David Weaver, an investor involved in development in the River District, the River Point West project is essential to the success of the River District.
Moore and Weaver, who serve as project lead and chairman, respectively, of the River District Implementation Team, said many fast-growing cities struggle to attract groceries to their downtowns.
“These cities reach a point where neighborhood growth can be stunted by not having a nearby grocer. Conversely, those urban environments which do secure grocery retailers are able to gain downtown residents more quickly with more stability as a grocer within walking distance rounds-out the immediate downtown living experience,” the letter said.
Brad Toothaker, managing partner of GLC, said at the project’s groundbreaking in June that the new development, along with the nearby Stonewater at The Riverwalk apartments, will move downtown eastward.
“You’ll find that this is going to be a new town center,” he said.
Stores currently located in the same building at the existing Martin’s will have to find a new home, but that could be on the first floor of one of the new apartment buildings, which will offer 6,000 square feet of retail space.
According to city staff, GLC is still seeking a few million dollars in financing for the Martin’s construction.
At the Monday City Council meeting, city staff encouraged the council to table the vote, as certain details in the loan agreement with Great Lake Capital are still unclear.
The council tabled the ordinance and is expected to vote at its next meeting, on Dec. 2.
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