GOSHEN — A new developer has officially been found for the former Millrace Townhomes site on the east side of the Goshen millrace.
During their meeting Tuesday afternoon, Goshen Redevelopment Commission members voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a $93,000 purchase agreement with Mishawaka-based development firm Insite Development, operating as Millrace Townhomes LLC, for the former townhomes site.
Generally located north of Douglas Street, south of Purl Street between River Race Drive and the millrace in downtown Goshen, the approximately 1-acre site had formerly been the target of a project, officially titled “Townhomes on the Millrace,” proposed by South Bend development firm Matthews LLC.
In the works since 2012, the project involved construction in three phases of approximately 24 luxury townhomes, with streets, sidewalks, utilities and underlying infrastructure for the development completed as of fall 2017.
However, construction of the actual townhomes had been plagued with delays in recent years. Most recently, developer Dave Matthews told the commission in late 2017 that the primary delay was due to a shortage of skilled masons in the area, due in part because of a $1 billion construction project at the University of Notre Dame and the recent completion of Four Winds Casino South Bend.
Given the ongoing delays with the project, commission members last July voted unanimously to accept an offer by Matthews LLC to return the property to the city.
With the property back in the hands of the city, commission members last November voted to authorize a new request for proposals for the site.
Two proposals were received, one from Insite Development and one from Anderson Partners LLC.
“A selection committee was established to review and score the proposals, and in December 2018, the commission accepted the committee’s recommendation to select Insite Development’s proposal for 16 new townhomes and to negotiate a purchase agreement,” Becky Hutsell, redevelopment project manager for the city, told the commission Tuesday. “Insite is creating a limited liability corporation for this development and the agreement will be with Millrace Townhomes LLC.”
According to Scott Sivan, a managing partner with Insite Development, Insite’s plan for the property involves construction of approximately 16 modern townhomes, ranging in size from around 1,800 to 2,200 square feet, with all homes featuring private garages, decks and courtyards.
Total private investment for the project has been tentatively quoted at about $4.2 million.
“So the premise here on this site south of the Hawks Building is to put up eight pairs of townhomes. And the reason that we made them into pairs as opposed to one continuous, more typical townhouse arrangement, is basically twofold,” Sivan said of the plan. “One, it gives us flexibility to be able to build a pair at a time, so we don’t have to build all 16 units at once. The second premise is that when you have a row of houses that are connected by party walls, not only are you sharing a wall with a neighbor, but you have no light or air penetration on two sides of your house, which for the most part isn’t of the best comfort and the best way to live. So we separated them purposefully so you have all the light and air quality in between houses. So that’s another reason to separate them.”
Additionally, Sivan noted that building the townhomes in pairs will allow for much more flexibility when it comes to modifying units to the specific needs of each buyer.
Sivan informed the board’s members that while the project is only in the very beginning stages, he has already been approached by several people expressing interest in a possible townhome purchase.
Should that interest continue to build into the summer months, Sivan said there is a very good possibility construction on the project could potentially begin as early as this winter.
“I think over the next three or four months, towards the summer ... if we do have a buyer or two or three or four, we’ll commit to starting the project probably by the end of the year,” Sivan said. “So I think this is something that we can move forward pretty quickly on.”
In addition to the proposed townhomes development, InSite Development is also currently working on two apartment-related projects near the Goshen millrace.
One such project involves the planned construction of a four-story, 40-unit upscale apartment building adjacent to the millrace near the intersection of South Third and Jefferson streets.
Coined “River Art,” the project will be divided as follows: six studio apartments, nine one-bedroom apartments, 19 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom apartments. The proposal also includes 60 on-site parking spaces on the ground level of the building, with the remaining three floors comprised of the residential units, active space and open space.
Total cost of the building has been quoted at about $11 million.
“River Art, the new building, we’re still debating when to start that, but probably this fall, with the intention of being done maybe 14 or 15 months later,” Sivan said of the project Tuesday.
The second Insite project involves the planned redevelopment of the north half of the nearby Hawks Building into apartments or condominiums, plus a common-space coffee/art gallery at a cost of about $3.6 million.
“We’re having a kick-off meeting for our first contract (Wednesday), and either at the end of this week or next week, we’re going to mobilize and actually start the work there,” Sivan said of the Hawks project. “So the work is going to start either this week or next week, and hopefully this time next year it will be done, and maybe sooner than that.”