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Unfinished Valpo subdivision gets new life

Updated: March 18, 2013 12:06AM



VALPARAISO — A subdivision that went into foreclosure in 2007 with just three houses and 10 duplexes built will see development again this summer.

However, Bridgewater Estates won’t be the 57-lot community of duplexes with “maintenance free” living that the city approved in 2004.

Bob Coolman of Coolman Communities appeared before the Valparaiso Plan Commission on March 12 with new plans for the subdivision, which is on the north side of Country Club Road, east of Calumet Avenue.

Most notably, he wants to turn the 41 undeveloped duplex lots into one-story, single-family homes.

They will still be marketed at “empty nesters,” adults whose kids have moved out and are looking for smaller homes.

Coolman said that his building development firm and landowners MJF Development see this as a good time to resurrect Bridgewater after five years

“The housing market has clearly picked up — across the country but also in Valpo,” he said.

He is changing the subdivision plat — its layout — from duplexes to single-family homes because he felt the previous developer had too big a difference in duplex sizes for upscale empty nesters.

Coolman said Bridgewater only got out of bankruptcy court last fall because it was part of a larger business conglomerate from Crete., Ill., and the banks approached him and Mark Forst of MJF to do something with the land.

Residents and neighbors of Bridgewater who spoke out at the meeting said they were glad to see something done but were concerned about flooding, erosion and other problems.

Coolman said he would re-establish the homeowners association that was supposed to maintain drainage and other upkeep, and he would talk to residents about what they expect the homeowners association to provide.

The new Bridgewater Estates developers will appear before the Plan Commission for final approval of the new plat at the April 9 meeting.

In other business, the Plan Commission had a first look at changes to how retail business along U.S. 30 will look.

City Planner Tyler Kent said the city wants access roads to run along 30 on both sides.

This will allow the buildings to be against those roads and have parking in the back and sides, making shopping areas more pedestrian friendly.

The commission members will vote on the changes at the April meeting.



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