Evansville City Council votes on June 12 moved the long-anticipated redevelopment project at Fifth and Main streets closer to construction.
The project’s updated design is a four-story, U-shaped building, with no fewer than 150 apartments and sidewalk-level commercial spaces facing Main Street.
City officials plan for this structure, as well as a community park at Fourth and Main, to occupy the block where the 18-story Old National Bank tower stood for a half-century before its controlled implosion in November 2021.
The City Council approved two bond issuances, each not to exceed $12 million. One is related to the new building and the other to an underground parking garage at the site.
City-issued bonds for the building’s construction will be purchased by the developer, CRG Residential of Carmel, Indiana. CRG, then, is to use property taxes generated by the new project to retire the bonds.
Construction of the parking garage is to be funded by a city tax-increment finance district. Kelley Coures, executive director of the Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development, says bond payments on the garage payments would be canceled out by the upcoming expiration of an unrelated bond issue.
Coures says the city’s actual cost on the garage will be about $9.6 million.
The planned apartments, Coures says, will be a mix of “market rate” one- and two-bedroom units. The complex includes a courtyard and pool for residents’ use.
Commercial spaces on the ground level still are undefined but could become retail stores or restaurants, Coures says.
Officials with the city and the Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District have pursued the redevelopment project since the tower was imploded and the neighboring Sycamore Building was razed, leaving behind an unsightly, empty lot.
The project has gone through different iterations – at first, a different developer, Domo Development, planned to rehabilitate and restore the 18-story tower.
That same company then stated plans to implode the tower and construct a two-building, mixed-use development. But Domo left the project in 2022, and CRG took over.
Officials estimate the Fifth and Main project will cost roughly $60 million in total. Officials say the City Council’s vote on Monday was a key step in providing incentives needed for the developer to begin construction.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says his goal remains to get the project started by the end of this year, when his third and final term in office ends.
Winnecke says last year’s change in developers, as well as nationwide economic conditions and interest rates, set back the project, but “the fact that we’re at this point is really positive for the city.”
CRG Residential is working on construction documents, with the intention of having those in place by August or September. The project would then go out for bid, presumably in time for a groundbreak in late 2023.
“We are working like crazy to make sure that happens,” Winnecke says.