It is no secret that the retail apocalypse is affecting our country. Many well-known stores and retail giants have closed their doors including some popular ones we had here in the Michiana area. K-Mart, Charlotte Russe, and Payless ShoeSource are just a few of the many. Although the trend of increased online shopping is one of the top causes for the decline of bricks and mortar retail, there are still some business owners holding onto hope in the future of retail…
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University Park Trade Area
In 2016, the University Park Trade Area (UPTA) benefitted from the rejuvenation of Wilshire Plaza. Six tenants leased over 103,446 square feet in the shopping center, increasing the occupancy rate from 75 percent in 2015 to 96 percent in 2016. The plaza brought in multiple regional and national quality tenants such as Fresh Thyme, SkyZone, DSW, and HomeGoods. The revitalized shopping center, along with several other retail projects, has helped renew national interest in the Grape and Main corridor.
Elkhart County Retail
The retail market in Elkhart County has picked up over the last couple of years. This uptick in development is in part due to an increase in disposable income for the county, driven by high employment in the RV industry. Shoppes on Six, an 115,000-square-foot development completed in 2015, created a new shopping destination for the entire Elkhart trade area.
Selected Major Area Projects
Concord Towne Center - Elkhart
Concord Towne Center, previously known as the Concord Mall, began plans in 2016 on a $60 million overhaul, transforming the existing indoor mall into an open-air, mixed-use destination. The project is reportedly expected to generate $150 million to $200 million annually for the Elkhart and Michiana region once completed.
Smart Streets – South Bend
The Smart Streets project, while controversial and still ongoing, has reached a point where we can see some early returns based on the projects that were waiting in the wings for news on whether it would be approved. So far, there have been several positive outcomes:
- Instrumental in attracting redevelopment of the JMS Building, LaSalle Hotel, new Courtyard Marriot, Berlin Flats, and other projects that will add several hundred new residents to the downtown area
- Two-way traffic and street improvements on Main Street triggered the redevelopment of Main Street Row
- Catalyst for nearly $200 million worth of investments in downtown
Continued observation will be needed to see the full extent of how the project will impact South Bend's future.
The River District - Elkhart
- “New urbanistic extension,” of Downtown Elkhart.
- $60 million aquatics and fitness center
- $29 million luxury apartment complex
- Streetscape improvements and other mixed-use developments
- One of 39 projects chosen to receive funding from the Regional Cities Initiative