South Shore Line projects generating big investment
The president of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District says one of the two transformational projects on the South Shore Line is creating benefits even before its completion.
The $649 million South Shore Double Track project, set to be complete in just over a year, will add a second rail line along a 17-mile stretch between Michigan City and Gary, reducing travel time from northwest Indiana to downtown Chicago.
Mike Noland said both the Double Track project and the West Lake Corridor extension are projected to generate about $2.5 billion in additional investment in northwest Indiana.
Mike Noland told Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick this weekend that additional development is already being planned, including the $80 million 11th Street Central mixed-use development in Michigan City from Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties.
“They’re gonna build a multi-story parking garage for us, a brand new station that will be centered right here on the property as well, along with a couple hundred luxury apartments, office, [and] retail,” Noland said. “It really is going to be an economic boon for for Michigan City.”
The project is being developed in partnership with the NICTD through what is defined by the Federal Transit Administration as a Joint Development, which allows a private developer to undertake a public project while meeting NICTD standards.
When the 11th Street Central project was first announced, Flaherty & Collins said it anticipated breaking ground on the project this summer with the new transit station open by next May and the apartments completed by spring 2025.
Additionally, YAB Development Partners in Indy is planning a $240 million mixed-use project called SoLa Development, which will include two hotels, luxury condominiums and retail space in walking distance from the rail line.
Crews are also working on the $945 million West Lake Corridor project, an eight-mile extension of the South Shore Line that will bring commuter trains through the high-growth areas Hammond, Munster and Dyer. The project is slated to have full revenue service in 2025.
Noland said the combined $1.6 billion investment will create major connectivity opportunities between northwest Indiana and Chicago, but also make the region a destination for people to relocate.
“It gives us an opportunity to attract talent, to keep our young people here, to attract folks who want a job in Chicago, get the higher wage…but they’re looking for a place to live where they can commute easily to the city,” he said. “We’ve always had great quality of place. Now we can unlock the potential and cut down that commute time to and from Chicago just over an hour from here, and you could be right at Lake Michigan and enjoy the beauty of northwest Indiana.”
The Double Track and West Lake projects have been nearly a decade in the making. Noland said as the projects near completion, they’re creating a tipping point for the region.
“There’s certainly a lot of people who doubted that we’d ever be here today and here and here we are. So great things can happen. And this is a classic example of when this entire community this entire region of the state came together to make this happen to support it to see the vision and now I’m convinced there’s just wonderful things in the future to come.”