Redevelopment in South Bend's East Bank Underway

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017

Developer Frank Perri's company Earth Designs Real Estate is in the midst of transforming the East Bank area, just east of downtown South Bend. 

Three buildings are all under renovation.

The Hoban building (former Access Print Shop) is seeing new plate glass windows, tile flooring and a renovated interior space. Renovations should be completed in approximately three months, with the goal being one to two tenants occupying the space. 

The J.C. Lauber building on the corner of LaSalle and Niles avenues, recently received $400,000 in public funding from the Redevelopment Commission for renovations. The former sheet metal shop features exposed brick and concrete floors with the intention to be used for restaurant and retail space. The retail space should be ready by this fall and restaurant space thereafter. Perri indicates that he has a tenant for the retail space nearly signed.

South of the Lauber building, on the northeast corner of Colfax and Niles avenues, Perri has a tenant set to take over part of the former LaSalle Body Shop at 503 E. Colfax Ave.

J2 Marketing, a 12 employee firm currently based in Mishawaka, has plans to move into the building that has been renamed “The Garage.”

J2’s offices will adjoin what is planned as a shared office space, renting out areas for individuals to work. On the west side of the building, in the rooms that formerly housed tall-ceiled car painting rooms, a pair of private offices and a podcast studio will also be for rent.

Moving forward, Perri doesn’t plan to stop at just three buildings, though he hasn't revealed detailed plans for the other properties in the neighborhood. One of the projects, The Cascade, a proposed housing complex on the banks of the St. Joseph River, south of the Colfax bridge, has been discussed for the last few years.

Perri says his goal is not to dramatically alter the neighborhood but rather to breathe new life into it, including redeveloping existing buildings.

Read the full story by Caleb Bauer in the South Bend Tribune


From the December 15 South Bend Tribune:

The South Bend redevelopment commission approved $400,000 in public funding at Thursday’s (Dec. 14) )meeting, to match $3.4 million in private investment for redevelopment of two lots in the East Bank area by developer Frank Perri of Earth Designs Real Estate Development.

At the J.C. Lauber building, Perri plans to tear down a portion of the structure, shrinking the formerly 13,440 square foot building down to about 8,300 square feet. Inside, the building will house a restaurant and retail space. Perri wasn’t specific about either, but said patrons can expect craft beer to be served at the restaurant and it will also serve as some form of community center.

The other building, the 60-year-old former LaSalle Body shop, on the northeast corner of Colfax and Niles avenues, will be converted into office space and renamed “The Garage.”

Perri has already found a tenant for some of the offices, including the planned relocation of J2 Marketing, a 12-employee firm.

Dan Buckenmeyer, director of community investment for South Bend, said the decision to provide public funds for the renovations falls directly into the city’s strategy for developing the East Bank.

“We make investment where investment makes sense and where it spurs development in meaningful ways,” Buckenmeyer said. “That investment will deal with façade and parking lot improvements.”

Read the full story by Caleb Bauer in the South Bend Tribune