The earth was shaking and the ground was breaking in Downtown South Bend Wednesday. And the rock and roll noise was as loud as an AC/DC song.
It was the sound of progress coming from the historic Citizen Bank and Trust Building on the corner of Jefferson and Michigan Streets.
After nearly 100 years, the entire building is being renovated to make it more modern and efficient. The noisy demolition is setting the stage for some outside work on the building.
It's also giving the developers a blank slate to start with as they work with the city and Downtown South Bend to create an inviting public use area.
Developers say they purchased the building at a good price when few tenants were left, allowing them to reinvest in downtown.
“In order to keep that momentum flowing, and I think there is momentum,” said Brad Toothaker of Great Lakes Capital. “And occupancy is good and getting better. There was a set back with the recession. But downtown is proving to be a place and a sort a feel, environment that people want. A re-urbanism a move back downtown, so the strength of what is already here and trying to build on that and add value to existing product instead of building new.”
More than half of the building is already contracted to be occupied for office use. The plan is to have retail space on the ground floor. Nearly $4 million will be spent on the entire project.
The move in date is expected to be the start of next year on the building's 100th birthday.