A landmark in Elkhart is being sold for $1 to anyone interested in buying it. The City of Elkhart acquired the building when it bought two parking lots near it earlier this year. The goal was to sell the building to someone who could help save it, but Mother Nature had other plans.
Elkhart City Employees had hoped to save the old armory on Main Street that's nearly 130 years old.
“This is one of the first parcels that was ever platted in Elkhart,” says Denny Correll the Brownsfield Coordinator for the City of Elkhart. “So it's very historic.”
It is a prime piece of real estate for a developer with the resources to rehab the building.
“It's right downtown, and it has great access to all the eateries and the Lerner Theatre and other things the River Walk is beautiful out the back,” explains Correll.
Unfortunately, the heavy snow we got last week was enough to bring down part of the roof.
Once a roof opens up, it's like a sinkhole,” explains Correll. “More water pours in, more weather pours in and it just starts to deteriorate everything below it.”
The city took a lot of heat when it acquired this building, but what many people may not realize is that empty buildings like this represent a danger to the community. When the roof behind me collapsed, it increased the sense of urgency and the hope that developers will come forward and see this building's potential.
“What we are hoping is to get someone to appreciate the building the way we have appreciated it in the City of Elkhart and make it into something that will overlook the Riverwalk,” says Correll. “It could be a restaurant. It could be apartments.”
The city had hoped to get $500,000 for the building, but in a last-ditch effort to encourage someone to buy it before it's too late to save it, officials have dropped the price to a dollar. And they are going to open it up for tours Thursday and Friday morning to interested developers.
“These buildings of this nature are just going away at an unbelievable rate, and we need to go back to our roots and just save some of these buildings and let us know where we came from,” says Correll.
So far, four groups have taken a tour of the building, but no offers have been made. If no one steps forward to purchase the building by March 29, it will be demolished.