TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - These next two weeks are big weeks for Indiana State University's downtown housing project. The final hurdle: will the Terre Haute City Council approve a bond as an incentive to help finance it?
Take a walk or drive through downtown Terre Haute, and you can see massive changes that have taken place all within the last decade. Two years ago, Thompson Thrift and Indiana State University approached Mayor Duke Bennett and Redevelopment asking for incentive from the city. It's a $17-million project of combined retail and university housing space.
"It's going to bring in roughly 230 students who will live right in the downtown area, and of course it calls for about 20,000 square feet of commercial space," said Redevelopment Director Cliff Lambert.
This project will run from 5th to 6th streets along the north side of Wabash Avenue. Today, it's one of the more blighted blocks of downtown.
"To renovate an entire city block, you do not get this opportunity very often in redevelopment or economic development," said Lambert. "So, we're thrilled with that opportunity."
To make this opportunity a reality, city Redevelopment proposes an incentive... asking the City Council to make another investment in downtown. The deal between the city, ISU and Thompson Thrift calls for the council approving $1.2 million in bonds, with 75% of those funds gong towards the project's construction. Lambert says the project calls for lots of public right-of-way improvements, which is one return on this investment. Others include increasing the city's tax base, beautifying a blighted downtown block, and it bringing more public and private investment to downtown.
"This project will put us over the last 8 years with close to $200 million of public and private investment in the downtown area," said Lambert.
The Terre Haute City Council will hear a presentation on the project at Thursday night's Sunshine Meeting.
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