Developer wants to bring upscale apartments, business park to Valparaiso
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent November 6, 2012 5:08PM
Updated: December 8, 2012 6:38AM
VALPARAISO — The city may soon get the business or industrial park it has been seeking.
At Tuesday’s Site Review Committee meeting, SJBZ Development brought plans for a 117-acre combination upscale apartment complex and business development in Washington Township, east of Indiana 49 and Pine Creek Estates subdivision.
Valparaiso Economic Development Director Matt Murphy said the city has been looking for a large area to bring in new businesses for at least five years.
“It’s just so hard to assemble land and create a shovel-ready business park, so we’re excited that a big portion of this project is land for business development,” he said.
The T-shaped property extends north from Evans Avenue but ends before Vale Park Road.
The developer, which is part of the corporation that owns WiseWay and PayLow grocery stores, wanted to see if the city is amenable to rezoning the land.
They want to change it from general residential into urban residential in the acreage’s southern part and into business park for the northern 45 acres where NIPSCO wires exist.
The developers plan to make the apartments like their complex Prairie Point on the border of Crown Point and Merrillville.
“I don’t think there’s anything like this in Valparaiso right now,” said Don Weiss, president of SJBZ.
The planned 512 units would have a clubhouse and attached garages on two-story buildings with 14 units, three-story buildings with 22 units and combined two/three story buildings with 18 units.
Weiss said his company would own the apartments, so their business park needs to coexist with apartments where the average income is $77,000 per household.
He said the company likes the location of the Indiana 49 corridor and Porter County Regional Airport.
The developers asked for a special Plan Commission meeting Nov. 20 and to have the rezoning before the City Council Nov. 26 and voted on Dec. 10.