Tours take place at Michiana Federal Building

Tours took place at the Federal Building in Benton Harbor Thursday.

Developers looking to lease the historical structure walked around examining the building from head to toe.

The city is looking to lease the building after moving out earlier this month for financial reasons.

The city needed to cut costs and realized that it could fit everyone into City Hall.

It’s that move that's opening doors for developers to make moves of their own.

It’s a historical building built in the 1930's.

It was a post office, IRS building then a city building

But now it's a blank canvas for developers wanting to paint their own picture.

Well, kind of…

“The structural integrity, the amenities, the architectural amenities are what is in the preservation guidelines and within that frame work any creativity can happen,” says Special Assistant of the Emergency Financial Manager, Sandra Dudley.

But even with these guidelines, one commercial real estate group, which specializes in historical renovation, architectural significance and urban development thinks this building is right up its ally.

“The federal building is a great historical piece. It is right in the heart of the arts district. It’s got great potential..."says Peter Colovos, Principal at Prairie Real Estate Group.

And this group is no stranger to the area.

“Right now we are in the mists of renovating our 376 West Main building. That will be eight apartments as well as commercial space on the first floor,” Colovos continues.

But the big question is, what will this building be used for?

“The ideal use for it is loft space but then that’s just a traditional maybe no brainer view. But, if there is something else if someone has something creative than that will be accepted,” Dudley says.

“Benton Harbor is coming back. We are very proud to be here. We love promoting it and we think it’s got great things to come and it is just the beginning of bringing back the vibrancy and the energy with people living here and being entertained here and as you can see the arts district is thriving and will continue to do better,” says Colovos.

Those interested will have to submit a proposal. Then there will be an evaluation process involving the Natural Park Service.

Finalists will be selected and then they will finally be interviewed.


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