South Bend’s Best Development Opportunity

by Nick Molnar on August 3, 2006

The South Bend Community School Corporation has a new administration building, and their former headquarters is now for sale. This building, which fills a full city block, is located at 635 South Main St. The building has about 150,000 square feet, a 100 year history, and landmark status. It also has floor-to-ceiling windows, an atrium, a historic mural depicting the history of transportation, original wood paneling, oversized fireplaces, stained glass, a library with a sliding ladder, an industrial kitchen, 8 secure vaults, 21 bathrooms, marble staircases, an 8,000 pound freight elevator, and two loading docks.

The South Bend Schools left because the building requires extensive renovation to bring it to modern code and environmental standards. Because this will be costly, and if no buyer is found it will be demolished, the building is being offered for just $1. The purchaser may also be able to negotiate financial assistance in the form of grants, tax credits and various redevelopment loans.

Those of you who bemoan the loss of the areas historical buildings as we trend toward big box retailers, this is your chance. Recruit three business partners, form your LLC, and begin work on a development proposal. You can each renovate one floor and create the areas most interesting mixed-use retail/residential building. If you need inspiration, you might look to the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, which is another building that was created by the Studebakers and occupied by the South Bend Schools.

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