Regional Development Authority Votes To Approve Regional Cities Funding Requests


SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (November 10, 2016) – The Board of the Regional Development Authority (RDA) for the South Bend-Elkhart region in North Central Indiana has selected three additional projects to be submitted to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for funding approval. The three quality of place projects will promote technology training, increase health and wellness opportunities, and support the revitalization of historic buildings in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

The RDA is pleased to allocate Regional Cities funding toward these projects, each of which is strongly aligned with our region’s goal of creating and sustaining Smart Connected Communities. With this allocation, eighteen projects have been slated to receive a portion of the $42 MM secured for our region through the Regional Cities Initiative. All eighteen projects that have received an allocation from the RDA must have final submissions, including IEDC approval and full commitment for all matching funds completed by June 15, 2017.

Apex Climbing South Bend

The Apex Climbing South Bend proposed project exists to bring indoor rock climbing and related athletic and fitness opportunities to the former College Football Hall of Fame building, which has seen minimal use for close to four years. The facility is intended to be a multi-use recreational facility for the entire region, providing a space for resident recreation, health management, and tourism attraction. Apex Climbing supports the region’s goal of high-performing communities and offers fitness amenities unique to the South Bend – Elkhart region.

  • Total Project Investment: $3,765,000
    North Central RDA Funds Allocated: $400,000 (11% total project cost)

“Apex Climbing is honored to be chosen as a Indiana Regional Cities grant recipient,” said Michael Dickens, CEO of Apex Climbing Center. “We are excited to move into the next phase of our fundraising for our initial project: repurposing the former College Football Hall of Fame into a world-class indoor rock climbing facility. Although we have a lot of work ahead in finalizing financing, building renovations, and facility build-out, having this grant will greatly accelerate our efforts. We wish to thank the Regional Authority Board for their continued efforts to improve the quality of life and quality place in our region.”

Technology Training & Demonstration Center

The Technology Training and Demo Center will create a cluster of advanced manufacturing and technology companies and an education center that provides services, including professional grade 3D Printing, modeling, and tech programming, to assist businesses throughout the Midwest. The Technology Training & Demo Center will work with universities to provide internship opportunities for students in technical programs as well as provide classrooms, demonstration areas, and a large lecture area. The Technology Training & Demo Center will be in former Studebaker Building 113 which is part of the Renaissance District, one of the Marque Projects featured in the RCNI Plan. The project will catalyze the expansion of new technology within the existing sectors and, most importantly, will focus on the training and education of workers in these fields. The project is expected to include Purdue Polytechnic, South Bend Code School, enFocus, Springboard 3D and other experiential learning partners that participated in the Regional Cities Initiative.

  • Total Project Investment: $2,670,665
    North Central RDA Funds Allocated: $507,000 (19% total project cost)

“This project will create a density of technologists and resources to make the South Bend -Elkhart Region relevant from a talent technology perspective,” said Andrew Wiand, executive director of enFocus. In fact, the concept of engaging millennials, higher education and industry in high-tech STEM areas was one of the most distinctive portions of the Smart Connected Communities plan.”

The 500 Building

The 500 Building, formerly called “Hotel Elkhart”, is the largest, most iconic structure on Main Street and the tallest building in Elkhart County. For years, this historic building has served as the commercial and residential center of the City. Despite years of neglect, through this project, the property will be transformed into the prototypical mixed use project incorporating retail, commercial, market-rate housing and a boutique hotel. Located on the southeast corner of Main and Marion street, in the heart of the city, this redevelopment will further the revitalization of downtown Elkhart and impact the entire community.

  • Total Project Investment: $9,188,673
    North Central RDA Funds Allocated: $900,000 (10% total project cost)

“It brings back overnight lodging to Main Street and provides additional foot traffic to all retailers downtown,” said Kurt Janowsky of Navarre Hospitality Group. “It also enhances the attractiveness of the Crystal Ball room to out-of-town guest, which will further leverage the considerable public and private investment in the Lerner Theater and the Crystal Ballroom.”

About the Regional Development Authority (RDA)

The Regional Development Authority (RDA), comprised of a five-member board representing Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph counties, is guided by the Smart Connected Communities plan produced in 2015 by Regional Cities of Northern Indiana as it oversees projects of regional importance. Board members include John Affleck-Graves, Chair, Executive Vice President, University of Notre Dame, John DeSalle, Vice Chair, President of Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., Dallas Bergl, Secretary-Treasurer, President & CEO of INOVA Federal Credit Union, Kristin Pruitt, Member, Vice President and General Counsel Lakeland Financial Corp., Pete McCown, Member, President of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.

About Regional Cities of Northern Indiana (South Bend-Elkhart Region)

Regional Cities of Northern Indiana represent over half a million people in 22 interconnected cities and towns in Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph counties. The group consists of and leverages the collective experience and services of Northern Indiana’s leading business, academic, philanthropic and government leaders to support transformational economic development projects and strategic initiatives that will improve quality of life and spur population growth.

Michiana Partnership, which helped lead the effort to secure the $42 million Regional Cities grant for the Regional Cities of Northern Indiana, also provides staffing support to the RDA.

Media Contact
Regina Emberton