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HAMMOND | A new multimillion dollar office building is expected to be constructed in Hammond's Gateways Redevelopment area at the same time as the city looks to expand the boundaries of an economic incentive zone.

The Hammond Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday approved a development agreement with ATG Real Estate Development LLC, of Hobart, which is proposing an approximately $5.5 million development project on a 3.5-acre site at Oxbow Landing near Interstate 80/94 and Kennedy Avenue.

It would be across from the new Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

Oxbow Landing is within the Gateways Redevelopment Area, which the city hopes to expand north along Calumet Avenue and Kennedy Avenue to 165th Street.

Plans call for constructing a 30,000- to 36,000-square-foot, three-story professional office building. The commission would provide the developer with an incentive of $1.6 million through the sale of economic development bonds provided ATG complies with all the terms of the agreement and begins construction by April 15.

The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2016.

Tax increment financing money, which consist of tax dollars generated by increases in property value within a designated area, are to be used to pay the bonds. 

Phil Taillon, the executive director of the city's Planning and Development Department, said this will be the first Class A office building in the city. Class A office space is considered high quality with state-of-the-art amenities and premier tenants.

Taillon said the office building's developers already have some tenants lined up for the facility, although they are not sharing those names yet. 

The developer is to receive $700,000 at the time construction begins. Another $500,000 is to be provided when the developer has completed all exterior work, except for signs and landscaping. The rest will be disbursed when the developer has completed all work necessary for tenants to build out the leased space.

The city also will construct a highway sign for the project visible from Interstate 94 and remove an existing sound barrier in the vicinity of the premises.

Also on Tuesday, the Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement with Cender & Company LLC, of Merrillville, to perform consulting work in connection with expanding the Gateways Redevelopment Area. The commission will pay the company up to $30,000 for the work.

A public hearing will be held prior to any expansion taking place.

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Ed has been with The Times since January 2014. He previously covered government affairs for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida. Prior to Scripps, he was with the Chicago Regional Bureau of Copley News Service.