On September 19, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Development Authority (RDA) approved Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant funding to support 19 quality-of-place projects. Of the 19, five are strategically focused on increasing and diversifying the housing options available in the region, totaling over $24.3 million in READI-allocated funds. These projects include Water Street Townhomes in Plymouth and the Culver South Main Housing Project along with Ariel Cycleworks, Beacon Integrated Health and Lifestyle District, and Downtown Elkhart River District.

Recent housing studies and soaring home prices all point to available housing stock at all price points as a key bottleneck to attracting and keeping talent in our region.

“To sustain the South Bend – Elkhart region’s economic momentum, we’re committed to transforming our communities into destinations for talent through initiatives like READI,” said Pete McCown, RDA Board Member. “These housing projects will help enhance our downtown areas like Culver, Plymouth, and Goshen beyond, attracting new residents and investing in the region’s growing workforce.”

The Water Street Townhomes project will transform an area of Plymouth’s downtown by adding a townhome development, including up to 12 rental units and a new commercial retail space. The project will also renovate an adjacent public parking lot, enhancing it from 30 spaces to 50 spaces to support increased downtown activity at amenities like the refurbished River Park Square. The project will provide much-needed workforce housing and complement the city’s recent investments in downtown revitalization.

  • Total Project Investment: Up to $4.84 million
  • RDA Allocation: $520,000

“Strategic investments in downtown Plymouth are transforming the neighborhood into a magnet for talent and economic growth,” said Kevin L. Berger, President of Easterday Construction Co., Inc. “The Water Street Townhomes will be a key driver of this continued development. I’m proud to once again partner with the City of Plymouth on this important project.”

The Dunes Housing project is a multi-phase housing development that will create 200 units including duplexes, apartments, and single-family homes off South Main Street in Culver. The READI allocation will support Phase I infrastructure development, utility installation, the first 78 apartment units, and community amenities. This project will provide a substantial influx of new housing units to the community to retain and attract talent.

  • Total Project Investment: $9.8 million
  • RDA Allocation: $1.3 million

“The Town of Culver is excited to partner with CMD (Construction Management & Design) on this project,” said Ginny Monroe, Culver Town Manager. “This project will meet a critical need in our community for more diverse housing types that will serve our current workforce and attract talent to our community and the region. Most importantly, bringing a housing development of this size to Culver will enable us to grow our year-round resident population, a primary goal of our Comprehensive Plan and Stellar Communities Strategic Investment Plan.”

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), READI encourages regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The $500 million READI fund was passed by legislation during the 2021 session and was divided among 17 regions. The IEDC awarded the maximum grant amount of $50 million each to five of the regions, including the South Bend – Elkhart region. Awards for the other regions ranged from $5 to 30 million.

Other housing projects supported with READI Grant funds include:

The Ariel Cycleworks project will transform the abandoned 4-acre Western Rubber brownfield site in the heart of Goshen into a vibrant mixed-use development with 135 workforce housing apartments, a small coffee shop, immediate access to the 9th St. Greenway and downtown Goshen, rooftop deck, bike storage and repair station, dog wash, green infrastructure, and an interior courtyard. Twenty percent of units in this $32 million project will be set aside for essential workers, and the interior unit design includes remote workspace and amenities.

  • Total Project Investment: $31.9 million
  • RDA Allocation: $4.2 million

“We are grateful to the Regional Development Authority for their support of the Ariel Cycleworks project,” said Jon Anderson, President of AP Development. “The site provides myriad challenges for redevelopment and simply put, without the funding provided by the READI program, AP Development would not have been able to build the type of project the City of Goshen deserves. We look forward to cutting the ribbon on 135 units that will go towards addressing the critical housing shortage currently present in the vibrant City of Goshen.“

The Beacon Integrative Health and Lifestyle District “The District” is a transformative project that will connect the Beacon Memorial medical campus to downtown South Bend. With a total investment of over $140 million, the District will be anchored by the new, state of the art Beacon Health and Wellness Center and include over 240 urban housing units, a first-class hotel, office space, exciting new retail offerings, along with more than 950 structured parking spaces. In partnership with the City of South Bend and Beacon Health System, this project will take two city blocks that are currently largely surface parking and develop a walkable, dynamic urban experience. The District’s ability to reinforce Beacon Health System’s initiatives and regional contributions by providing a synergistic location for its talent and visitors to call home – complete with amenities for its patients and families – is an extraordinary investment in the region’s future.

  • Total Project Investment: $143.66 million
  • RDA Allocation: $11.78 million

“We appreciate the RDA’s recognition and support of this generational opportunity to enhance the quality of life in our region by developing a wellness focused District that will improve quality of place which will lead to talent retention, workforce growth, and overall improved quality of life,” said Brad Toothaker, Managing Partner at Great Lakes Capital.

The Downtown Elkhart River District is a master planned mixed-use neighborhood that will transform the gateway to Elkhart’s historic downtown. Phase I includes include a mixed-use office, retail building, and roughly 20 townhomes. Overall, the $68 million project will result in over 200 new units with a mix of rental and for-sale housing options in the same neighborhood, in addition to upwards of 43,000 square feet of retail and commercial spaces for entrepreneurs and businesses.

  • Total Project Investment: $67.69 million
  • RDA Allocation: $6.5 million

“weIMPACT would like to extend our most earnest gratitude to the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, RDA, IEDC, City of Elkhart, and many stakeholders for their support of the River District in downtown Elkhart,” said Dave Weaver, Founder of the weIMPACT Group. “The River District is transformational and will play a critical role in shifting the experience and perception of downtown while helping codify Elkhart as a civic and cultural destination for the region. While there is still much work to do, many plans are no longer words on paper but are present in the nearly $225 million invested in the last four years. We’re just getting started, and we couldn’t be more excited to work alongside our community, helping to create a more lovable Elkhart.”

Article provided by South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership