Work to resume on $45 million East Bank apartment building

Published: Nov. 7, 2019 at 5:09 PM EST
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Construction crews will return to the site of downtown South Bend’s largest residential project on Monday.

Work on the project called 300 E. LaSalle stopped about nine months ago.

This week, a 230-foot crane was erected on the site.

On Thursday, workers made a few test lifts with a 15,200-pound weight. Next week, the crane will be used to put concrete wall panels into place.

300 E. LaSalle is a planned $45 million,10-story building with 144 apartments, along with office and retail space.

The work stopped as the city sought greater assurance that a grocery store and pharmacy would be part of the project.

Next door to the LaSalle site on the first floor of the developer’s office building, the River Valley Farmer’s Market recently opened.

“Which is unrelated to the specifics of this project but definitely falls in line with the intent,” developer David Matthews told 16 News Now.

The 300 E. LaSalle project is arguably too big to fail. It is the largest of all the downtown housing projects, with about 24 more units than were built near the ballpark.

“Right now a lot of the new apartment buildings in downtown South Bend have a waiting list. Rents have gone up quite a bit. We need to get a lot more housing built. That will help push down rent prices,” Matthews explained.

Matthews said he hopes to have some of the new apartments occupied by the end of 2020. He expects two-thirds of his tenants to be over the age of 58.

“It’s a group that shows up and says, ‘OK, Dave, we’re working on our 10-year plan. If we stay in the suburbs and we lose the ability to drive, we have to go to a home, but if we move downtown now, when we’re able, and we lose the ability to drive, even if we lose the ability to walk, we take our wheelchair, we can go to the park, can go to live concerts in the summer, every day outdoor live music in the winter, there’s live music most days in downtown,'" Matthews said. "You can go to a restaurant, you can go to plays, you can go to the theater, you can go to the museum. There’s a longer, better quality of life to be had living in a downtown, walkable urban neighborhood like the East Bank of downtown South Bend.”

About 10 years ago, Matthews was the first developer in some 30 years to build new market-rate housing downtown. He started out slow with six townhomes and says the apartment building project is a sign that the market has matured.

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