Developing Gary: Seven groups step forward with variety of suggestions - April 18, 2017

Courtesy of nwitimes.com

Written by Ed Bierschenk

GARY — From a hotel by Lake Michigan to luxury housing near Indiana University Northwest campus on Broadway, several developers have drafted ideas they think could move the city forward.

Seven different groups have responded to the Gary Redevelopment Commission’s requests for qualifications as it attempts to select master developers for various sections of the city.

Although some of these groups provided visions of what they think could work in the areas, officials indicated those are incidental in selecting master developers. The developers will have to coordinate with plans already created, such as that for University Park East.

“I think it’s really important that people don’t get the sense that anything that’s been proposed has been finalized,”  Bo Kemp, executive director of the Gary Economic Development Corp., said shortly before the last presentation was made Thursday.

“First and foremost, before you get to the point of finalizing anything, regardless of what the city wants or the public wants, is what’s financeable.”

Joseph Van Dyk, Gary Planning and Redevelopment executive director, said each of the areas is ready for development now.

“They are reflections of opportunities in the immediate and near term,” he said.

The development areas

* The entire University Park area: On the south side of Gary, it is bounded by Interstate 65 to the east, Ridge Road to the south, Grant Street to the west, and Interstate 80/94 to the north. It is home to Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College.

* Lake Street Junction area and Miller Transportation Oriented Development: These are the various neighborhoods and developments within a half mile radius of the South Shore train station at Lake Street.

* Gary Lakefront, Marquette Park and Beach: The targeted area for development is on the southern shore of Lake Michigan adjacent to Marquette Park. Officials want the master developer to work with the city and residents to plan a 150-room full service hotel with a restaurant and cafe.

* Gary Northside Redevelopment Initiative: The three neighborhoods of Horace Mann, downtown, and Emerson are included in this area. The area covers everything from Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus to County Line Road on the north side of the city.

* Light Industrial District: The area is bounded by Lake Street to the west, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District commuter rail line to the north, County Line Road to the east, and Lake Station to the south.

The development groups

Several groups have worked with the Gary Housing Authority, which along with the School City of Gary, have property sitting idle in Gary that could potentially be used for development.

* Berkeley Calhoun LLC: The company out of Lanham, Maryland, expressed interest in the University Park/University Park East development. It proposes a project using a newly formed entity called University City Centre Partners LLC.

The group’s team project architect, Forms + Funktion, Inc., has been involved in several Gary projects, including NWI Veterans Village. The team proposes rebranding the University Park East area as University City Centre. Phase one of the development proposes transit oriented development, student housing and other features.

* Brinshore Development, LLC:  The company out of Northbrook, Illinois, has developed more than 5,000 units of affordable rental housing in several states and is currently working on the redevelopment of Gary Manor with the Gary Housing Authority.

The team’s architect, Johnson and Lee, Ltd., has worked with Brinshore on a number of projects with the Chicago Housing Authority. In creating proposals for specific developments, Brinshore said it will do site-specific planning, review existing market studies, and develop a detailed site plan. It said it will prepare “an innovative and feasible financial plan” for the project.

* Gary Rising Partners: The group comprised of African-American owned development and construction firms is headed by East Lake Management & Development Corp. East Lake reports developing thousands of affordable, market rate and mixed-income residential units in the Midwest. Listed as co-developer of the group, Gateway Partners, LLC, is the owner of the historic Gary State Bank building that is now home to Centier Bank as well as other private and public firms located in that building.

The partnership said it has experience in each of the areas of development contemplated in the request for qualifications. Vance Kenney, managing partner of Gateway Partners, will be responsible for coordinating with local partners, tenants, and government officials in Gary.

* The Habitat Co. of Indiana, LLC: The group’s parent company, The Habitat Co. LLC., has developed more than 17,000 residential units and is currently managing more than 22,000 residential units in five states, including scattered site housing and mixed-income housing for the Chicago Housing Authority.

The company says it wants to be involved in multi-family, mixed-income housing and mixed-used commercial, retail and residential development in Gary. The company said it works hand-in-hand with local government, community stakeholders, market researchers, and design and planning professionals “to produce a re-development vision.”

* Meridian Hospitality Group, LLC: The company established in Cleveland, Ohio, said it has been transitioning its principals and key personnel to Gary over the past year “to ensure access and as an expression of commitment to the city.”

It is interested in being involved in the development of the Gary Lakefront, Lake Street Junction area and Miller TOD, as well as the Light Industrial District. It put together what it called a 10-year vision for the waterfront, which included not only a boutique hotel and museum and welcome center, but also various other attractions such as a Ferris wheel and winter ice rink.

* The NHP Foundation: The company is a nonprofit developer, owner and operator of more than 7,400 affordable housing units in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Currently involved in building and rehabbing affordable housing in Chicago, the company is seeking to be involved in the development of either housing or mixed-use projects in Gary.

Under partnership goals and objectives, the foundation talks about doing comprehensive community outreach, developing jobs and contracts with Gary-based businesses and residents, and creating affordable housing along with other community amenities, such as retail, to support balanced neighborhood growth. The company stressed it has $2.5 million in pre-development funding to support joint ventures with municipalities, housing authorities and local development corporations.

* Turnstone Development Corp: This is a nonprofit real estate company specializing in the construction and preservation of affordable housing. Since 1998, it has developed more than 1,500 affordable housing units and leveraged more than $205 million in private and public investment capital. It began as the Housing Authority of Chicago’s development affiliate.

It proposes working with Gary to identify community groups and individuals for participation in the community engagement process. It said its financial consultant, Lighten-Gale Group (LGG) will prepare financing packages that include low-income tax credit and other government programs as well as private lenders and investors as applicable.