Connecting Dinosaurs, Chocolate And Trains in South Bend

Posted: Updated:
Mark Tarner co-founded South Bend Chocolate Co. in 1991. Mark Tarner co-founded South Bend Chocolate Co. in 1991.
SOUTH BEND -

One of the early players in South Bend's downtown revitalization has a new vision for the suburbs. South Bend Chocolate Co. owner Mark Tarner is moving forward on a proposal detailed earlier this year for a 90-acre attraction featuring a new production facility, chocolate museum, Indiana Dinosaur Museum, restaurant and bison farm, as well as a new piece -- a South Shore rail line station. He expects work on the property near South Bend International Airport to begin in April and the finished project, Tarner says the project would serve as a key component to creating a "destination station" that combines tourism, transportation and dining components.

The concept of adding a train station, Tarner says, was broached by an unnamed government official and has not yet been formally introduced. The South Bend Tribune reports a study commissioned by the city to explore alternative routes for the South Shore Line's high-profile, double-tracking and relocation project will include a look at a potential pathway for the aforementioned station.

Tarner, an amateur paleontologist, thinks mixed-use housing and hotels could sprout up as a result of development. He believes the project could be a major draw for families. The full scope of his vision, which is expected to cost between $10 million to $14 million, would be "sort of green and cosmopolitan at the same time," and would bring in travelers heading north to Traverse City, Michigan or west to Chicago. Tarner says the area could ultimately grow into something similar to Eddy Street Commons near the University of Notre Dame or some developments that incorporate retail and various housing options in Indianapolis or Carmel. The dinosaur museum plan has landed a $500,000 boost from the statewide Regional Cities Initiative and Tarner says it has also received community support.

Tarner opened his company downtown in 1991 as a second business. It has since grown to include 11 company-owned stores and four franchises in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. "I put a 10,000 square-foot store in our downtown and brought in families -- it's one of our chocolate cafes, we (also) have a smaller version on the Circle (in downtown Indianapolis) -- and what I did was really a proof-of concept and I did it probably when I shouldn't have done it. Now, I think they call it new urbanism. When I did it, they called it stupidity and I think everyone thought I was going to go bankrupt," he chuckled. "And now, they're building a new Marriott hotel behind us." Tarner believes the urban resurgence that has taken hold in South Bend, Indianapolis and elsewhere will spread out to suburban areas like the area he's planning the new attraction, too, "and I'm betting everything I've saved on it."

South Bend Chocolate Co. Co-Founder Mark Tarner, an amateur paleontologist, thinks mixed-use housing and hotels could sprout up as a result of development.
  • Perspectives

    • Look What's Coming: Tax Reform!

      President Trump and Congress are focused on completing a tax bill prior to year-end. Unfortunately, their timing may require quick action to implement a tax strategy in 2017 that can take advantage of the 2018 changes. What's a taxpayer to do?

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Pacers Set For 'Major' Esports Announcement

      Pacers Sports & Entertainment is planning to Tuesday make what it calls a major announcement regarding the NBA 2K League. The organization is one of 17 NBA teams taking part in the inaugural season of the esports league, which is set to kick off in 2018.

    • Minnesota Company Planning $62M Fort Wayne Investment

      Plans for a nearly $62 million private, mixed-use development have been announced for the Fort Wayne riverfront. The seven-story project will be located next to Promenade Park, which is currently under construction and is one of the signature pieces of the downtown resurgence. Plans from Minnesota-based Continental Property Group include 150 apartments, 20,000 square-feet of retail space and more than 1,000 parking spaces.

    • Anderson Losing 'The Nile'

      A Mediterranean restaurant in Anderson that has been around almost 30 years is closing. In a message on Facebook, the owners of The Nile say they will close "for good" December 23. The restaurant, which is run by Angele and Samir Naby opened in 1990, and bills itself as offering "A Journey of Taste." The message from the Nabys reads...

    • Hundreds of Jobs Planned in Indianapolis

      Delaware-based Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) is again growing its Indianapolis footprint. The company, which announced a nearly $16 million expansion mid-last year, says it will invest nearly $12 million and add 350 jobs within three years. The newest job commitment, the student loan provider says, will be "over and above" the nearly 280 it pledged last year. In an agreement published by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Sallie Mae says...

    • The Human Side of Digital Transformation: Dealing With The Monkeys in Your Brain

      "It's not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives. It's the most adaptable to change," said Charles Darwin. Throughout digital transformation discussions with executives (in and outside of IT), one of the most common conversations is the complexity and challenge surrounding change. Bottom line, change is hard, requires knowing yourself and embracing differences to continue growing your business. Are you ready?