As expected, Vincennes Community School Corp. board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to accept an offer from Myszak + Palmer Architecture and Development to purchase and develop its downtown properties.
David Skinner, chairman of a special committee comprised to look at the offer, called the estimated $9 million development deal a “great thing for the corporation” and he recommended that the board accept it immediately.
“These are local people who want to do great things for our community,” he said.
Myszak + Palmer two weeks ago submitted a proposal to the VCSC to purchase the downtown properties — the old Clark Middle School at 500 Buntin St. and the old administration building at 300 N. Sixth St. — for $820,000.
The firm plans to start by tearing down the old Clark building and replacing it with four single-family homes, green space and additional parking. The project also would entail renovating the old administration building into an affordable senior housing facility.
The also includes $1.7 million in renovations to Adams Coliseum, which will remain in the hands of the school corporation.
The school board had few questions regarding Myszak + Palmer’s plan. Most members were excited about the proposed plan and thrilled that a local firm was stepping up to invest so much in Adams Coliseum.
But school board president Aaron Bauer expressed at least some hesitation. Another, similar development deal proposed by a Fort Wayne engineering firm waned in recent months, he pointed out.
“Convince our community why this is different,” Bauer ask Andy Myszak, the firm’s co-owner.
In response, Myszak said his firm, along with a development team that includes Flaherty & Collins Properties in Indianapolis and their respective tax consultants, are investing $40,000 alone in the application process associated with the federal tax credits needed to fund the development deal.
The team has already been successful in securing such credits for a housing project currently under construction in Washington, one of similar scope and size as the proposed local one. The tax credit application for the local downtown project would be submitted in November, and the award would be announced in March of next year, Myszak said.
Myszak called the project “a viable” one and said members of the development team have said it could potentially be “an award winning project in Indiana housing.”
He also believed the project would score very well in the application process based on its design.
“If we didn’t, I wouldn’t be here,” he told the board. “We wouldn’t be investing our own money.”
To that end, the board voted unanimously to accept the offer and give Myszak + Palmer its blessing to proceed.
Several members of the Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation have expressed their support for the proposed development project even though Clark will be torn down as a part of it, and Tommy Kleckner with Indiana Landmarks also has gotten behind the project.