LAPORTE — With a Dunkin' Donuts already open and a Starbucks on its way, a redeveloped brownfield site is poised to take off.
A recent decision by the Redevelopment Commission could mean several new retailers and/or restaurants opening in NewPorte Landing next summer.
Holladay Properties, the contracted developer of the former Allis Chalmers site, was given permission to construct its own buildings in the heart of the 45-acre, shovel-ready property along Pine Lake Avenue.
Bert Cook, executive director of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp., said it’s a standard move in the industry to give developers more control once their negotiations with prospective companies advance to a certain point.
"If you’re looking at it from the developer’s perspective, obviously, they’re not going to build the building unless they have people to occupy that building," Cook said.
Typically, whenever talks reach this stage, developers that want their own buildings start having blueprints drawn up to the specifications of prospective tenants, and actual construction begins once deals between the negotiating parties become official, he said.
Holladay Properties, with offices in Portage and South Bend, has plans to construct one building next year.
Cook, though, believes other structures will be going up.
"They do have some interested parties at the moment, and the hope is as they design the building and put the plan in place to construct that building, that will also generate additional interest from other tenants that will occupy that space," Cook said.
Starbucks is expected to open in early December, and construction of a new Dunes Event Center could start any day at NewPorte Landing.
The Dunes Event Center, which primarily offers space for volleyball practice and competitions, is relocating from Rolling Prairie to a new 50,000-square-feet metal building on the southeast corner of the grounds near Clear Lake.
The new facility will contain twice as much space and puts the tens of thousands of people who go there annually closer to more restaurants and other amenities.
Cook said the traffic generated by the athletic facility is exactly what was desired for the success of both NewPorte Landing and the nearby downtown to be connected eventually by a new road to the development.
Mayor Mark Krentz, who formerly served on the Redevelopment Commission, said the pump is primed now for an area viewed as key to the city’s future.
"We are all on the same page there and all excited about it," Krentz said.