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Final Oxbow Landing project to bring new corporate headqaruters from Illinois, allow Impact Networking to expand
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Final Oxbow Landing project to bring new corporate headqaruters from Illinois, allow Impact Networking to expand

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HAMMOND — When Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. sent his son Chase off to law school, he assumed like many college graduates he'd end up taking a job somewhere far from home.

Instead, his son now works in a new office tower the mayor helped pave the way for nearly two decades ago, when the city bought and tore down the River Park Apartments on an oxbow of the Little Calumet River, clearing the way for the Oxbow Landing development that now includes offices, hotels, Byway Brewing and a Buffalo Wild Wings.

On Tuesday, the city and ATG Real Estate Development broke ground on Oxbow Landing's final multimillion-dollar, three-story office building at 2911 Carlson Drive. The 14,000-square-foot building will be occupied by an expanding Impact Networking and clear the way for an Oak Brook-based energy firm to relocate its corporate headquarters from Illinois to Hammond.

"River Park Apartments had seen its glory days, and its glory days had come and gone," McDermott said. "I made a promise to the voters then and it really resonated. I told them if I became mayor we would redevelop River Park Apartments. I'm going to buy it, we're going to demolish the buildings and I'm going to put a commercial development there. I had no idea how much that would resonate in our community. It was a problem in our community. It was a problem in Highland, our neighboring community. It was taking a lot of our resources. We had police and fire here constantly. We bought it and, after some lawsuits and $20 million, demolished the buildings. When I come here 18 years later, I come back and know this place is worth three times what it was as River Park Apartments."

The new development, at the southeast corner of the Kennedy Avenue interchange of the Borman Expressway, has added millions of dollars of assessed valuation to the city. It helped lead to more development with the ice hockey arena on the north side of the interchange and the Cabela's big-box store just off the Indianapolis Boulevard exit, McDermott said. 

"When Eric Gastevich with ATG Real Estate invested in Hammond, there weren't a lot of people who wanted to invest in this part of the city," McDermott said. "People didn't have the confidence. But he took a chance on us and a chance on our city."

ATG Real Estate Development built the 37,000-square-foot sister office buildings at 2901 Carlson Drive and 2929 Carlson Drive just off the expressway. The original 2901 Carlson Drive is completely full while 2929 Carlson Drive is leased out except for three smaller spaces that ATG is in discussion with potential tenants about.

"When I'm done being mayor, this is probably one of the proudest accomplishments I'm going to have," he said. "It's probably one of the proudest accomplishments in my life. We took a major negative for Hammond and the Region and completely turned it around and gave people the confidence they could do it in other parts of the Region as well."

The new building will be entirely occupied by Impact Networking, which came to Hammond's Oxbow Landing in 2017 but outgrew its space.

"It's a very good problem to have," CEO Frank Cucco said. "The building will add 30 to 40 jobs, including sales, service, managed IT and cybersecurity."

The space Impact Networking occupied on the east half of the third floor of 2929 Carlson has been leased, when it moves out next summer, to Primary Energy, a company that has four major steel mill clients in Northwest Indiana and will move its headquarters to Hammond.

"We're really excited about that," Gastevich said.

 
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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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