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Major new retail and office development in Munster will feature cutting-edge container architecture
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Major new retail and office development in Munster will feature cutting-edge container architecture

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A major new development in Munster will bring professional offices, stores, restaurants and cutting-edge container architecture, similar to Stackt in Toronto, Ontario, and Sparkman Wharf in Tampa, Florida.

Developer Jay Lieser of 1st Metropolitan Builders plans to build Maple Leaf Crossing, the "largest implementation of container architecture in the Chicagoland area to date." The project's highly stylized look will seek to "draw from our heritage of steel and rail."

“This is a significant place-making development that incorporates the high-quality and pedestrian-centric design our community looks for,” Munster Town Manager Dustin Anderson said. “The town of Munster is very pleased to work with Mr. Lieser on facilitating this unique project."

The 120,000-square-foot development will be located at the northwest corner of Calumet Avenue and 45th Street, catty-corner from the former site of Munster Steel before it relocated to Hammond and just north of the new Centennial Village development that's home to a hotel and restaurants like Harvest Room, The Simple Greek, and Kitaro Surf & Turf & Sushi. The project envisions six buildings that will be constructed in phases, with the first office spaces and storefronts available for lease in the fall of next year.

“Munster is known for its first-class schools, homes and health care. With Maple Leaf Crossing, we will add professional and retail space to the list,” Lieser said. “I live here, work here and raise my kids here. I am proud of our community and want to do my part to improve it."

The estimated investment is $35 million to $40 million. 

An extension of the Monon Trail will cut through the center of the Maple Leap Crossing campus, which Lieser said will give a place for "bikers, walkers and businesspeople meeting for lunch, shopping or a night on the town."

"The center of the campus will include multi-story container architecture featuring 10-15 local, boutique shops," Lieser said. "Adjoining the container architecture to the south will be two larger retail and professional buildings with an additional 25,000-30,000 square feet of space that provide space for an additional 20-25 stores. The professional buildings to the north will include over 70,000 square feet of office space that can be subdivided into units of 5,000 square feet."

No tenants have been named yet. Renderings depict a variety of potential businesses, including a pizzeria and outdoor bar.

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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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