Train station development project in the works in Michigan City

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WNDU) - Michigan City is ready to double down on the part of the Double Track project that will bring a new South Shore train station to town.

Today, plans to demolish structures in the block around the old train station were being carried out by crews.

Plans for the new station itself are kind of getting carried away.

“When we started, this project was simply a lobby and a 436-space parking garage. But the more we got into it, we want it to be a showpiece. A wow factor, so to speak,” said Clarence Hulce with the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City.

The city is looking to partner with a private developer who is willing to build a station up to ten stories tall.

The city is willing to donate the land, donate some $16 million toward the parking garage, help with environmental clean up costs and consider further tax incentives as warranted.

“This will be the only train station this big on the whole route and so we are looking to do a mixed use, multi modal project, where we’ll have apartments on upper floors, with offices second and third floor, and the first floor will be retail,” Hulce explained.

The notion of dreaming big stems from the belief that Michigan City’s stock as a bedroom community for Chicago workers will increase as the Double Track project decreases the travel time from city to city.

“We see ourselves as at that point as a bedroom community of Chicago. I mean, we’ll be exactly an hour from downtown Chicago which puts us in the same time frame as Shaumburg, Libbertyville, or Niles, so why not live in Michigan City and work in Chicago?” Hulce asked. “This is the game changer for the community. This sets the tone for what happens here the next 20 years.”

If the station project does produce a building ten stories high, it would be tied for the second tallest building in Michigan City according to the website Emporis.

The city will hold a question-and-answer session for interested developers on Oct. 7 at Uptown Social, 907 Franklin Street. Proposals are due Dec. 10, and it’s hoped a contact can be signed in January of next year.

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