By Ted Land (email@example.com)
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9:28 PM EST, December 3, 2012
SOUTH BEND -- City planners will soon have to think pretty seriously about what to do with the downtown property that the College Football Hall of Fame is about leave behind.
The last thing neighbors want to see is another empty building.
There are a lot of ideas about what to put there, but the city needs something practical, and the structure, which was designed and built to be a museum, just might have to go.
“I think what you have to do is begin to take a real serious look at what you got and what the practical solutions are,” said David Varner, a South Bend Common Council member.
“That might mean you demolish it and you let someone put something brand-new in that’s productive,” he said.
The College Football Hall of Fame will close at the end of the month and relocate to Atlanta, where they're about to break ground on a new building.
The South Bend property, which also includes a scaled-down football field, is right in the heart of downtown, next to shops and restaurants.
Made in Michiana, a nearby shop, says it wouldn't bother them if the building were knocked down, as long as new retail storefronts moved in.
“There's constantly people out there, especially on the weekends, people coming in from out of town for the Notre Dame Football games,” said Ann Rudasics, a co-owner.
She’d like to see an open-air market occupy the space during warmer months.
For now, the city just wants to know if there are any interested buyers -- willing to pay roughly $2.8 million for the property, before deciding what, if anything, will take shape next.
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