River Centre project moving forwardJanuary 16, 2017
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — After a December packed with special meetings and final approvals, the purchase of the former Jasper Cabinet site is complete and demolition for the River Centre project is set to begin when the weather breaks.
It’s a major milestone almost two years in the making.
The project was first announced in the fall of 2015 when Indianapolis developer Jane Hendrickson of Boxer Girl, LLC presented plans for the site — located on the north side of the Patoka River across from Jasper City Mill and behind the Jasper Train Depot — to the City of Jasper and asked the city to create a tax increment financing district in the area.
The common council agreed in October 2015.
From there, it took two years of planning, meeting with city boards and getting the necessary approvals from multiple sources to get the go ahead for everything involved in the project. For example, Boxer Girl had to coordinate work on the Patoka River’s banks with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Boxer Girl also had to get special zoning set up through Jasper to create the mixed-use space at the site. Once all of that finished in December, Hendrickson purchased the property.
She’s excited for the project to move forward.
“It’s got so many of the components for redevelopment,” Hendrickson said. “It’s downtown; it’s an old industrial building; and it fits in nicely with the other projects (Jasper has going on) like the library and Courthouse Square.”
Hendrickson sees the River Centre as a way to bring more connectivity to Jasper’s downtown riverfront.
Several public-use projects are planned that will add walkable trails and sidewalks to the area and more than 200 parking spaces, as well as railroad and riverbank improvements.
The project will add 75 apartments and 36,000 square feet of retail space. Jasper Cabinet’s old kiln building will be converted into an 80-room hotel, and Hendrickson said agreements with the hotel chain are in final approval. She’s been working with General Hotels Corporation from Indianapolis to set up that part of the project. River Centre, LLC plans to announce the hotel flag in March.
“It’s not a mom-and-pop chain,” she said. “It’s a national firm.”
River Centre represents a more than $30 million investment in Jasper.
The first big change to the area people can expect to see is demolition in March. Parts of the kiln building will be the first to come down, making way for contractors to access the riverbank for some of the public-use projects. Other structures and parts of buildings not being salvaged will come down over a month-long period.
After demolition, the pace of the project should pick up. Hendrickson expects tenants for the business spaces to be finalized after demolition. Demolition, she said, helps attract tenants.
People interested in the retail and office space can contact Hendrickson at 317-716-8042 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hendrickson said the City of Jasper has been great to work with throughout the preparation process.
“They took the initiative to hold special meetings to help us get through all the approvals in December,” she said. “That allowed me to purchase the building (by the end of the year).”
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