HAMMOND | The Hammond Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement Tuesday with a developer planning to bring retail and restaurants around the Walmart Supercenter in Robertsdale.
The city is committing to give $3.5 million in incentives to the project, which would pay for a new stoplight and other infrastructure improvements along Indianapolis Boulevard.
The project will redevelop 16 acres adjacent to the Walmart site at 5th Avenue and 112th Street and encompass all available land northwest of the entrance ramp to Horseshoe Casino, said Timothy Schwartz, president of Oakridge Properties, of Algonquin, Ill.
The city announced in October it had signed a letter of intent with Marina District Development LLC, which Oakridge Properties is a part of, for the project.
Plans are to build two retail centers — one sized at approximately 60,000 square feet to hold three tenants across 5th Avenue from Walmart and another at 15,000 square feet to hold smaller shops.
The site also will hold a bank and three national chain restaurants, Schwartz said. The use of two lots is still to be determined.
The project is anticipated to bring $25 million in investment to the area, according to Phil Taillon, executive director of the city’s Department of Planning and Development.
“The names they’ve thrown out to us as far as new retail and restaurants are all exciting and all good names,” Taillon said. “We are excited about working with them. We have a lot of high expectations for that area.”
Taillon said the city would issue a bond for the infrastructure improvements, which will be paid off by tax increment financing. The Redevelopment Commission voted earlier this month to create a new tax increment financing district to cover the incentives for the project.
City Engineer Stan Dostatni said the project would add a new stoplight to Indianapolis Boulevard and also sync existing stoplights, so the road can handle an influx of traffic.
Schwartz said the hope is to start construction by this year with most stores open by fall 2014.
He said his group has spoken with a few interested tenants, but no leases have been signed because the project still required city approval.
Before taking on this project, Oakridge has done retail developments in Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida.
Schwartz said a future phase of the project would redevelop Indianapolis Boulevard picking up from the casino’s entrance ramp south to the Five Points intersection at Calumet Avenue and 114th Street.