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A recent post on the SRA Blog talked about the new HepCat Loft Development in Warsaw, Indiana. It’s an interesting concept and one I might consider including in our Sand Hill Farm Development when it moves forward. There is not much in the way of what I would call “loft space” developed as such in Culver. Most of the spaces above the downtown buildings have been developed as more traditional apartments such as what Susie Mahler has created above Cafe Max. (Listing with pictures here.) Jan Nanini’s building at 110 North Main Street took the old Masonic Lodge on the second floor and subdivided it into apartments as well. (You’ll need to go to Jeff Kenney for better history of that building. He tells us it’s haunted here.) Others, such as the space above Fisher & Co. have been left undeveloped and have been relegated to storage.
When I think of “Loft Space” I think of open concept and high ceilings, generally having exposed trusses and often having spiral duct HVAC systems. (I love Google Image search, but it’s frustrating when I look through so many pictures and don’t find exactly what I want. This time I came pretty darn close!) It is very much the look Larry Surrisi went for in the original design of The Edgwater Grille (now The Lakehouse Grille) in Culver. There are more of these spaces in Plymouth. We worked on a loft space at the site of the old Moose Lodge and George Schricker has developed some loft apartments above the former Vine Restaurant as well.
This is very much what RW Kidd Construction has gone for in their concept design; the difference being that instead of rehabbing existing abandoned second floors of buildings, they have used “Loft Space” as a style for their new construction. It is somewhat of a minimalist style that should lend itself to some cost savings. It looks like RW Kidd had outfitted them at a fairly high level though to go along with the HepCat theme, which has reintroduced costs.
I like the flat roof patios. I’m picturing them along the east property line of the Sand Hill Farm Development where they would look out over the baseball diamonds. It could be an interesting concept there. I also like the multifamily format. I think some limited mix of this type of building could fit well in my mixed use scheme. As mentioned above, it would be something different for Culver. I also wonder if it could be modified to work with a more traditional loft theme where there could be some home-based retail on the first floor, possibly moving the garage entrance to the back off of an alley. There’s potential here!
I’m in Warsaw enough that I will need to swing by and see them in person. There are quite a few pictures at the HepCat Loft Development site listed above, so check them out if you’re interested. Let me know what you think. Is this something that could work in Culver?
It’s always nice to see a Culver business get mentioned. George was interviewed about the bison he raises and serves at the Corndance in an article here.
The Culver Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Wine Fair at the Culver Cove September 15, 2012. This is the first year of what will hopefully be an annual event in Culver. You can purchase tickets online and get a $5 discount off the event price. The advance purchase price is also available if you want to pick up tickets at Brockey Insurance in Culver. Check the bottom of this post for some additional links to find out more and get your tickets.
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Last night the Culver Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Community Conversation bringing together representatives of the Chamber, Second Century Committee, LMEC/F, Town Council, Plan Commission, Redevelopment Commission, the Town Clerk and Town Manager as well as others. Linda Yoder of the Marshall County Community Foundation was also in attendance. Dawn Brockey with the Culver Coffee Company and current Chamber President was kind enough to host the event providing wine and light appetizers for the group.
The goal was to discuss strategies to strengthen the business community in Culver. Ralph Winters brought up the proposed new Comprehensive Plan. I was asked to discuss how it would affect the community (20/20 Vision for Culver!) and there was a spirited dialog. There was discussion as to how the various groups could participate and what funding sources were available. One thing that Ralph emphasized was that everyone needs to read the current plan before we start on the revisions. I thought that was an excellent recommendation.
There was quite a bit of discussion on how to extend the business season beyond the summer. There was discussion of how the Triathlon, Winefest and Ice Fishing Tournament can help the retail merchants. (One sad note was hearing that the L’Max Film Fest will be moved to the Culver Academies and away from the downtown theater.) There was a request for brainstorming for other events like those. I’ve been negative on the Marshall County Tourism in the past, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear how they were helping with many of these events.
There was discussion regarding a need for a community calendar. I found that discussion interesting since there have been many attempts at this which have not gotten support. One of those, IHeartCulver, is still up, but struggling and close to being taken down due to lack of support. It would seem that an existing model such as that could be built on and support a local entrepreneur in lieu of reinventing the wheel.
All in all there was good discussion. It will be interesting to see how the Chamber moves forward with the input they received.
Jay Bletzinger has a vision for a new business park in Culver. He has commissioned Scearce Rudisel Architects to create some preliminary drawings and site plans. He has looked at a couple of locations and one of them is my Sand Hill Farm property. The other is the 19+ acre property owned by JD One JD Two, Inc. (locally known as the Jefferson Street Dicke Property) bordered by Jefferson St., Mill St., and S.R. 17. I’ve discussed the possibility of a Sand Hill Farm PUD here before, but due to the sluggish economy I’ve pretty much put the idea on hold. Possibly this is a reason to resurrect the idea. Jay has put together some interesting ideas and has plans to be the first tenant!
Preliminary Concept Drawings were previously commissioned for both of these properties by the Culver Redevelopment Commission (CRC). Those drawings were prepared by Lehman & Lehman and presented to the CRC in 2007. (I have a hard copy, but if electronic copies exist, I do not have access to them.) This led to the CRC extending water and sewer to the end of Jefferson Street in hopes of spurring development on the Dicke property. Along with the utility extensions there were plans for relocating power lines, widening Jefferson Street, adding sidewalks and landscaping the area with new trees and sod. Unfortunately negotiations with NIPSCO fell apart and the completion of this project was put on hold.
Jay believes that there is a need for incubator office and manufacturing space in Culver and that these can be combined in a viable business park. The building plan shows back to back suites with offices at the front, manufacturing/warehousing at the back. The rear of each suite would back up against a common loading dock area. The “front” of the building would consist of small commercial office spaces. In both cases, the offices and the manufacturing/warehousing spaces are divided by walls that are non-load bearing so that they can be removed to provide flexibility in rental space. Jay’s initial build-out ideas and cost/lease projections are here and continued here.