The South Bend Redevelopment Commission is asking private developers to submit proposals for seven city-owned parcels near downtown.
The request includes comprehensive suggestions for redevelopment but encourages alternative uses, too.
“We really want to market these city sites, which have been in city ownership for over a decade,” said Tim Corcoran, the director of planning and community resources in the Department of Community Investment for the city, in a telephone interview.
He said the purpose of the request for proposals is to inspire developers, and that each parcel could be designed in many different ways.
He also said the city hopes to get proposals from a variety of companies, including national developers.
“We want to see these sites developed,” he said. “We have a lot of open space in the city.”
Here are the proposed sites from the Redevelopment Commission resolution.
Lincoln Way West and Marion Street: Mixed-use development of the near northwest neighborhood that would offer several types of housing, including singe family and apartments, on 1.27 acres.
West LaSalle Avenue and North William Street: Residential development in the near west side neighborhood and the West LaSalle National Historic District that would offer detached houses or duplexes, as well as apartments, on 1.31 acres.
Washington and Taylor streets: Residential development in the near west side neighborhood and the West Washington National Historic District that would include apartments and townhouses that look similar to single-family houses, on 9,600 square feet.
100 Block of South William Street: Residential development in the near west side neighborhood with apartments in two- to four-story buildings, depending on the location, on 0.67 acres.
Sample Street and Lafayette Boulevard (east): Commercial use near downtown with one- to two-story buildings that offer office or industrial use with a pedestrian-friendly façade on 1.16 acres.
900 block of South Michigan Street (west): Small-scale commercial uses on the city’s primary north-south street near downtown that extends the “Main Street” feeling with entrances facing Michigan Street on 0.68 acres.
1300 block of South Michigan Street (west): Mixed-use development on the city’s primary north-south street but away from the downtown that would feature light industrial, office or residential spaces on 0.49 acres.
Parking, for the most part, would be in alleys behind the developments as allowed. Developers are encouraged to make buildings blend in with current structures, create plenty of outdoor spaces and offer curb appeal. Buildings would not be taller than four stories.
The city issued another request Nov. 14 for proposals of new residential construction in its neighborhoods. One incentive is a subsidy for the appraisal gap that Corcoran explained as the difference between new construction costs, especially in light of inflation, and the potential sales price.
“Typically we take each proposal on its own,” Corcoran said. “Depending on the proposal, the city will work with the developer and that could include city participation.”
The city did specify that companies may request an award of up to $750,000 per applicant, even if they offer more than one proposal.
The city wants to intensify redevelopment in light of recent population growth. A Residential Market Potential Analysis completed in 2021 also said 8,000 more families could move to South Bend annually during the next five years.
“Our population increased faster than the county for the first time in 50 years,” Corcoran said.
South Bend, which is in St. Joseph County, was estimated to reach 103,353 people in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the fourth largest city in the state, which has 685 cities.
The city also offers pre-approved plans for buildings that would offer lower-cost housing for residents.
“All these programs together are trying to address the large number of open space,” Corcoran said.
The city’s architectural plans are meant to serve as a “Sears catalog of housing options.” They also take zoning and housing laws into consideration, as well as lot sizes and construction trends.
The inquiry deadline for proposals of the seven redevelopments sites is Dec. 30, with all proposals due Jan. 31, 2023.
“We see these sites playing a role in the continued development of our community,” Corcoran said.