The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has approved a total of $1 million in Regional Cities Initiative funding for two projects in Elkhart. IEDC President Elaine Bedel says the projects will help create a better quality of place in north central Indiana.

The IEDC is awarding $900,000 toward the renovation of the historic Hotel Elkhart in the city's downtown. The project, which will cost a total of $12.5 million, will transform the building's current apartments and more than 30,000 square feet of unused space into a tourism and commercial hub.

The renovations will include a new 98-room boutique hotel, an updated penthouse ballroom, a microbrewery and taproom, and additional retail and commercial space. The IEDC says, when complete, "the newly-restored Hotel Elkhart will serve as an amenity to the community and enhance the city’s growing tourism industry in addition to drawing businesses and talent to north central Indiana."

The IEDC is also awarding $100,000 toward the establishment of the Rehabilitation Sciences and Health Education Active Learning Laboratory, or HEALL, at the Indiana University South Bend Elkhart Center. The $500,000 project will allow for the addition of three graduate programs in Elkhart, including  Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Occupational Therapy and Masters of Science in Speech and Language Pathology degrees.

The project will transform more than 3,600 square feet of classrooms at the facility into a new space for the programs with construction expected to be complete in December. The IEDC says the lab will also expand capacity for clinical simulation for more nursing students and health care agencies in the Elkhart area.

Both projects were recommended for Regional Cities funding by the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Development Authority.