Studebaker project in cleanup phase
Kevin Smith, CEO of Union Station Technology Center, told the city's Common Council on Monday the good news is the building, as an assembly plant, is likely to have fewer environmental issues than a foundry, for example.
The building, also known as Ivy Tower, is just south of the railroad tracks near Coveleski Stadium in an area city officials are calling the Renaissance District.
Assuming the process goes well to remove materials such as asbestos and lead paint from the building, Smith told council members he hopes to move forward with the project next year.
He said Union Station, which he bought in 1979 and eventually converted to a data center, is nearly full. Ivy Tower, which would be connected to Union Station by a tunnel under the railroad tracks, offers a million square feet of space for data servers, offices and even residential lofts.
Smith said the project will put South Bend on the map nationally as a hub for technology and data storage.
"We do have the capabilities in South Bend to house international companies," he said. "I've been doing it for quite a few years."
The city's Redevelopment Commission approved two agreements with Smith in March and April to spend a total of $8.35 million on infrastructure, environmental cleanup and exterior improvements at the site. Smith has agreed to spend at least $17.5 million on the project.
Old school, new use
The University of Notre Dame, the new owner of the old St. Joseph's High School, plans to use the building at Angela Boulevard and Michigan Street as "swing space." That is, when university offices are being renovated, staff in those departments could use the former school as temporary office space.
Notre Dame officials are seeking to have the property's zoning changed from a single-family to university district to enable the new use.
Tim Sexton, the university's vice president for public affairs, told council members Monday that one company from Innovation Park might also move into part of the school building for a period of 18 to 24 months. Sexton said the company has outgrown its space at the business incubator and is considering using 8,000 to 10,000 square feet inside the 165,000-square-foot school.
"They're still very much reliant on the research that's occurring on campus," he said, "so this would provide them a great avenue to do that."
Staff writer Kevin Allen: