Mishawaka housing project seeks tax break

A housing project proposed for downtown Mishawaka would take up the better part of an entire block.

Plans call for 80 new apartments and/or condos to be located at the northwest corner of Main Street and Mishawaka Avenue (behind the 7-11 and Affordable Auto).

Plans call for two separate buildings—one six story, and the other four story.

The project is not only big, considering an investment of $15 million dollars—the project is also bold in that the site lies across the street from a failed townhome project that was seized by the bank.

“More than 59, 60 percent of households in the united states today are one or two person households,” said Scott Sivan of the developer, Barak Group, LLC. “People in the community want to live in a really nice place, want to have something, you know a bit clever and cool and don't want to, you know have to maintain it themselves.”

It has been nearly six years since a for-profit building was constructed in downtown Mishawaka, and the price tag of the proposed housing project is equal to 30 percent of all construction done city wide in 2012.

While the developers are seeking a five year tax abatement worth more than $1 million, the city stands to see some benefits in return. “And of course, once this is finished we're going to see more foot traffic here, more shoppers, more retail,” said Barak Group, LLC’s Nir Davison.

“I think that's the impact, added Sivan. “130, 140 people who are living here who can spend time or money in downtown Mishawaka visit the river walk and bring their friends and people to this area, it speaks for itself.”

While some believe Mishawaka has never before approved a tax abatement for a housing project, Mayor Dave Wood says the city has offered other similar incentives.

“In the other residential developments downtown they purchased the property for $1 as you may recall, in this case they own part of the property and the rest of it that the city owns we had invested and did some demotion on, so we already have a lot of money tied up into the site, but they're actually purchasing the site from us, and so we did not give the incentive of free land or essentially cheap land,” said the mayor.

The Mishawaka Common Council was scheduled to tackle the abatement request at tonight’s meeting, but was asked by Council President Michael Compton to table the matter until the body’s meeting in early November.

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