$30M Tower Project to Have 'Snowball Effect'

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(Image Courtesy: Downtown South Bend Inc.) (Image Courtesy: Downtown South Bend Inc.)

The mayor of South Bend says a $30 million plan to renovate the city's tallest building is indicative of the larger comeback taking place in the St. Joseph County city. Pete Buttigieg says the proposal involving Michigan-based Kraemer Design Group PLC and Bradley Co. of South Bend will return the ailing former Chase Tower to its place as a "centerpiece of a thriving downtown area." The plans include 183 loft hotel rooms from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, more than 80 apartments and exterior and mechanical improvements.

The new hotel could open in early 2017. Rehabilitation of the parking garage is slated to begin in the coming weeks.

The hotel project will be led by architect Kraemer Design Group, the firm that completed a similar Aloft project in downtown Detroit. Bradley Co. Chief Executive Officer Brad Toothaker, also involved in the major effort, says "this investment follows the City's lead with the upcoming Smart placemaking efforts to create a vibrant atmosphere downtown. Aloft South Bend will become an attraction for residents and visitors alike. We look forward to transforming South Bend’s tallest building into a property worthy of its stature."

Redevelopment of the former Chase Building has suffered several fits and starts in recent years. Buttigieg believes the right team is in place this time and is "putting their money where their mouth is" with a $30 million investment. He says this will add a much-needed boost to a city that has had to turn away convention business because of lacking hotel space. This and other projects will increase the amount of hotel rooms in the area by around 500 over the next two years.

The mayor says momentum is building for South Bend as recent announcements would indicate. Last week alone, the city and the University of Notre Dame announced they will be part of the White House's MetroLab Network, a technology-focused initiative involving two dozen cities designed to "craft innovative solutions" for big-picture issues. Friday, Beacon Health Systems also announced construction is underway on a $50 million project to expand Memorial Children's Hospital. "A major new investment in downtown South Bend is yet another vote of confidence in our city," Buttigieg says. "The Aloft South Bend project offers great potential for job creation and promises to make this important building a centerpiece of a thriving downtown area."

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tells Inside INdiana Business says it's an example of "growth leading to growth" and will have a "snowball effect" on development throughout the entire city.
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