Factory conversions breathe new life into Vine Street


Sourced from Dubois County Free Press


Construction on the Jasper senior housing development, Vine Street Lofts, should start later this year.

According to developer Miller Valentine Group, the Vine Street Lofts and its companion project, Jasper Lofts I, will revitalize the former industrial center of the city by converting two former factories into housing.

“We really want to breathe some life into the street as we transform these buildings,” Miller Valentine Group Senior Developer Pete Schwiegeraht said about the two nearly $15 million projects.

The Jasper Lofts I project is under construction now while construction on the Vine Street Lofts should start later this year.

As part of the $410,000 in economic incentives the city agreed to provide for the Vine Street Lofts development, the Jasper Common Council began the process to create a 10-year property tax abatement at the recommendation of the Jasper Economic Development Commission at Monday’s regular meeting.

Schwiegeraht who was in attendance at the meeting, explained the Jasper Wood Products building at 1316 Vine Street will be turned into 62 apartments for seniors 55 and older. The estimated $12 million project will be rent-controlled and feature a gym, theatre and a business area as well as other amenities for residents.

The designs are still being completed but according to Schwiegeraht, the majority of the apartments will be 1,100 square foot two-bedroom units. He did not have a range of prices for the units but explained they would be income-based on 60 percent of the area median income. “The managers will determine that on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

The building will also feature about 12,000 square feet for use as retail or office space. “At this time we don’t know what is going in there but the space is available if anyone is interested,” Schwiegeraht said.

After weighing the abatement application at Monday morning’s meeting, the Economic Development Commission recommended a 10-year abatement package with 100 percent of property taxes abated for the first seven years, 75 percent in the eighth year, 50 percent in the ninth year and 25 percent in the 10th year.

At the council meeting, Schwiegeraht explained the previous business, Monster Recycling, was still in the process of removing items from the building. To ensure the title is clean when Miller-Valentine closes on the property this fall, Schwiegeraht mentioned the company and city may need to work together to complete the removal of the items from the building.

Across the street, Miller Valentine Group is working on the creation of workforce development housing in the former JOFCO building at 402 E. 13th Street. Jasper Loft I is the first phase of a two-phase project in the building. The estimated $13.1 million project will create 60 to 70 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. According to Schwiegeraht, the project will have about 6,000 square feet to be used for commercial space.

Phase I was awarded $1,199,705 in Rental Housing Tax Credits through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Phase II of the project did not qualify for this round of tax credits.

The city has committed $450,000 in contributions to the project and it has received a tax abatement as a portion of that contribution. The city committed to another $50,000 in off-site improvements with this development as well.

The council unanimously approved a resolution creating the economic revitalization area that is required to proceed with the tax abatement for the Vine Street Lofts. The confirmatory resolution for the tax abatement will come at a later date.