Long ago, (as some of us might remember) downtowns were the heart of a city, with a strong beating sound of people, shopping, banking, living, entertainment and activity. The economic model changed over the years, downtowns weren’t the go to place anymore, instead sprawling suburban developments featuring one-stop shopping and convenience took over.
I am reminded of a famous line from the movie, The Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.” This seems to be taking hold, not only nationally, but locally as well, for many downtowns across the country. The landscape of our region is changing and bringing with it a new synergy. Transformations are being centered around the 250 miles of the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers, which in turn benefits many of the downtowns in our Michiana cities.
The national trend of bringing downtowns back to vibrancy, has been aided locally by the Regional Cities Initiatives. It’s expected to bring tens of millions of dollars to northern Indiana, through a $48 million state investment for the region. Cities and towns in this region are focusing on providing amenities for their residents, increasing downtown population, tax rolls, improving recreational components and creating Riverfront Development Districts. These new districts encourage arts and entertainment venues and a revitalization of older areas throughout the cities.
Risk-taking developers in partnership with city and economic development are responsible for several mixed-use projects throughout our region. These community investors are bringing life back to old historic buildings and transforming them into market-rate apartments. The demand for urban living is up and these downtown living spaces offer entertainment venues, restaurants, retail and office components.
The cities are experiencing new construction as well, with the addition of hotels, upscale apartments, townhomes and condominiums, causing the rapid absorption of vacant parcels in the downtown and riverfront areas. This forward momentum is transforming these downtown areas into beautiful and vibrant communities bringing with it a substantial increase in population.
Our firm is excited and proud to be part of this resurgence with the recent announcement of The 500 Building, formerly called “Hotel Elkhart”, a mixed-use project with retail, commercial, market-rate housing and a boutique hotel in downtown Elkhart.
Michiana is poised for an opportunity to leave a legacy that ensures the longevity of our downtowns through a strong entrepreneurial spirit, technological innovation, creative ideas and solutions, and most importantly, the people willing to take a risk to better our communities.
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Connie has over 40 years of experience in business development, marketing, and real estate sales and leasing. Connie is responsible for strengthening ties with existing clients as well as cultivating new clients, identifying and capitalizing on growth opportunities. Other responsibilities include creation of seller/landlord presentations, site selection analysis, market valuations, forecasting and market research, referral coordination, utilization of our proprietary database, and direct interaction with clients, prospects and brokers. Connie is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Indiana. Prior to joining Cressy Commercial Real Estate, Connie was the Marketing Assistant for a local real estate development company.