New $25 million project to bring retail, restaurants to North Hammond

2013-07-10T02:00:00Z New $25 million project to bring retail, restaurants to North HammondLu Ann Franklin nwitimes.com
July 10, 2013 2:00 am  • 

Horseshoe Casino created a show-stopping destination with its $485 million expansion that debuted in 2008 and features The Venue, restaurants and more gambling experiences.

Then in 2011 the Walmart Supercenter opened its doors at 110th Street and Indianapolis Boulevard in the Robertsdale neighborhood. The 184,000-square-foot building includes more than 30 departments and employs about 400. Hammond spent about $2 million rebuilding 112th and Fifth in connection with the arrival of Walmart.

This area near the Illinois border draws many Illinois residents who spend their money in Hammond.

That kind of economic development has a ripple effect, according to Phil Tailon, executive director of the Hammond Department of Planning and Development.

Now a $25 million project will bring new retail businesses and restaurants to a 16-acre parcel along this busy section of Indianapolis Boulevard.

In June the Hammond City Council gave its final approval to offering incentives for the project proposed by Marina District Development LLC, which is a partnership between Oakridge Properties of Algonquin, Ill. and the Collins family of Hobart.

The city council’s approval of bond sales opens up $3.5 million in incentives from the city for Marina District Development. The bonds will be paid off through tax-increment financing.

This project is far-reaching, says Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr. and that incentive package will spur work from the Indiana-Illinois state line to the five-points intersection at Calumet Avenue and 114th Street.

“The tax situation between Illinois and Indiana, particularly Cook County, Ill., and Indiana, there’s an incentive for people to shop in Indiana,” McDermott says. “We’re just trying to lure them over here.”

The 16-acre development adjacent to the Walmart site will include two retail strip malls, at least two sit-down restaurants and a bank planned for northwest of the Horseshoe entrance ramp. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

A possible second phase of the project could focus on Indianapolis Boulevard from the Horseshoe ramp down to five points and could include a hotel. However, no details of this second phase have been finalized.

The agreement OK’d by the city council requires the developer to complete construction on this project by 2015. Some new retail stores may open by the fall of 2014. However, most would open in 2015, according to Timothy Schwartz, president of Oakridge Properties.

As part of the new development, at least three buildings will be demolished. Mr. Lucky’s Cigarettes near the state line and two vacant gas stations near five points will be razed.

In addition, the developer holds a purchase agreement for Spot Liquor/Cigarettes on Indianapolis Boulevard near Marina Drive. That agreement would call for relocation or redevelopment of the business.

The agreement calls for the BP gas station near Indianapolis Boulevard and Walmart to remodel the convenience store and car wash.

This $25 million project will also affect two traffic signals on Indianapolis Boulevard. The development group has proposed adding one new stop light and relocating the existing stoplight to help handle increased traffic expected when new businesses open.

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