A vision for a 10-story building in the city's East Bank neighborhood took a step closer to being realized Monday with the groundbreaking of 300 E. LaSalle, a mixed-use apartment, office and retail building from Matthews LLC.
David Matthews, developer and founder of Matthews LLC, called Monday's groundbreaking "the home stretch of a mission we set out a decade ago to start, of helping to improve downtown South Bend."
The start of construction has been delayed multiple times this year because of work to revamp plans to accommodate an Indiana Michigan Power substation, after its relocation was scuttled last year by residents on Hill Street. Now, contractor F.A. Wilhelm Construction and lead architect 5 G Studio Collaborative will erect a building with a smaller footprint than originally planned, on the southwest corner of the intersection of LaSalle Avenue and Sycamore Street.
Reworking the plans meant making sure they still fulfilled agreements with the City of South Bend and the Regional Development Authority, which governs the state grants awarded through the Regional Cities Initiative. In May, plans met the guidelines for the state money but weren't satisfying city requirements. But now, all requirements are met, Matthews said.
James Mueller, director of the city's department of community investment, said he hasn't received the latest plans, but added that the proposal appears to fit the city's requirements for height, apartment count, grocery, green space and investment totals.
"It's a big project on the East Bank, along with The Cascade, it's bringing a lot of momentum and catalytic growth," Mueller said.
Overall, the $42 million project will receive $5 million in tax increment finances from the city and $4.9 million from Regional Cities, provided it is substantially completed by April 2020 in accordance with stipulations for the state funding.
The changes will result in a 440,000-square-foot structure that stands over 120 feet tall and also includes two below-ground levels of parking space, three additional above-ground floors of parking, and six floors containing 144 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
Matthews said the entire first floor of the building is reserved for a grocery store, something he previously said wouldn't be affected by the announcement just before Thanksgiving that Martin's Super Markets would be acquired by Michigan-based SpartanNash.
Rob Bartels, CEO of Martin's, said at the groundbreaking that he's been in close contact with SpartanNash about the project, and that more details will be released after the close of the acquisition in January.