(rendering courtesy of the city of Valparaiso)

Officials in Valparaiso have unveiled plans for a $37 million mixed-use development in the city’s downtown. The city says The Linc will be comprised of three, four-story buildings that will include a total of 121 apartments, as well as ground floor retail and restaurant space, in addition to a 300-space parking structure. “These new additions take the city’s downtown plans to the next level and will be as positive and transformative as the introduction of our downtown park, Central Park Plaza, was a decade ago,” said Mayor Matt Murphy.

Patrick Lyp, attorney for the city’s redevelopment commission, tells Inside INdiana Business the project is a “logical, natural progression” for downtown Valpo.

“The development you have seen in downtown Valparaiso over the last 20-plus years…we’re kind of looking back at all of the milestones we’ve hit going back to the early 2000s,” Lyp said. “The city secured downtown liquor licenses. The city invested in facade improvement grants. The city had two transformative projects in our downtown amphitheater and Urschel Pavillion, and on the residential side, we’ve had various smaller developments over time.”

The property on which the development will be built was acquired by Carmel-based real estate investment and development company Hageman. Lyp says the city was impressed with the firm’s previous work in central Indiana.

“We were looking for the right developer to bring this level of density and, as you can imagine, doing an eight or 10-unit development has a certain skillset, but bringing a larger development into a denser area needs a special skillset,” he said. “Seeing all the projects that Hagemen have done in central Indiana, when they came to us and gave us some concepts, it was a perfect fit.”

The housing and retail development is expected to cost about $19.5 million, with the remainder covering the construction of the new Lincoln Highway Garage. The city says the garage will support the new housing, as well as surrounding businesses.

Tom Dickey, managing director of real estate for Hageman, says he has seen first hand how a project like The Linc can benefit a community.

“I think the first thing really about economic development when we talk to towns and cities about redeveloping their downtowns is talent attraction,” said Dickey. “It’s attracting that next generation of worker. That worker comes along with spending power at restaurants and so forth, but really it’s talent for current employers to leverage.”

The property to be used for The Linc currently houses the Round the Clock restaurant. The owners of the restaurant have agreed to move the restaurant to a new location, though a specific site has not yet been chosen.

The Indiana Economic Development Commission has awarded $5.6 million in redevelopment tax credits for the project, in addition to tax increment financing assistance being provided by the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 with occupancy slated to begin in late 2023.