HIGHLAND — Groundbreaking for the Cardinal Campus is expected this year, and a bond issue to help fund it is slated for early 2018, the redevelopment commission/Town Council said Monday.
The upscale office park will rise at the corner of Main Street and Prairie Avenue and is the brainchild of Dr. Claude Gendreau, a veterinary surgeon from Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
The 9-acre complex eventually will include seven two-story office buildings and a three-story boutique hotel similar to a popular one that Gendreau owns in Homewood.
Gendreau has said he wants to erect several buildings at a time.
"He wants to be done in less than two years," Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin said.
The project was given final approval by the town earlier this year.
Griffin said Tuesday the commission expects to use economic development bonds that would help with the infrastructure.
"These aren’t sold in a big sale, but rather are negotiated and placed privately with a private buyer," Griffin said. "In this case the private buyer will likely be the developer."
Thus, Gendreau probably is the one who will buy the bond issue but, as a private entity, he needs the governmental structure of the town to officially receive the funds.
The total amount is not yet known, but the financing will be done in stages, with the sale of $3 million to $5 million to help with the first phase, Griffin said.
Griffin said that a "not to exceed" number will be established as the overall value of the bonds, but that these funds will be released incrementally for each phase of the project.
"This is to protect the town and to make sure that we tie the sizing to each phase and its needs," Griffin said. "After all, it is the improvements themselves that create 'increment,' which is the money that is used to repay the bonds.
"That's a fairly significant return on investment," he noted.
In related action, the commission unanimously approved two resolutions that create an agreement for financial advice and bond sale support from the London Witte Group LLP.
The second resolution paves the way to issue the bonds.
Resident Larry Kondrat questioned the size — and need — or the bond issue.
Commission President/Town Councilman Bernie Zemen, D-1st, replied with a reminder that the town of Schererville paid about $20 million to help one of the commercial developments in the Main Street/Indianapolis Boulevard area.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to give an extra $1,906.92 to The Hydrant Dog Grooming service to reimburse unexpected costs to improve the façade of its new location at 8630 Kennedy Ave.
The commission had previously granted a reimbursement of $22,330.02.
Redevelopment Director Kathy DeGuilio-Fox also announced that the annual Festival of the Trail was cancelled because of inclimate weather.