SOUTH BEND — Two new apartment projects are beginning to test the market for upscale housing in the heart of the city, with promising early results.
Work is nearly complete on The LaSalle, a 67-unit apartment project in the former LaSalle Hotel, and Studebaker Lofts, a 52-unit project in the former JMS Building.
Meanwhile, people already are moving into the two historic buildings, contributing to a growing population of permanent, full-time residents downtown.
The projects, developed with support from taxpayers, represent the tip of the spear in terms of new market-rate housing downtown, with as many as seven similar projects set to come online by the end of 2019.
Those projects, ranging from a repurposed former printing plant to a new nine-story apartment building, comprise an additional 450 new living units in the Central Business District and East Bank.
And they promise to breathe new life into a city that has struggled to reinvent itself since residents and businesses started fleeing for the suburbs in the 1960s.
Colfax @ Hill, a newly constructed apartment building at Hill Street and Colfax Avenue, already is close to full. The mixed-use building features 17 market-rate apartment units with rents ranging from $1,000 to $1,800 per month. It opened in August.
Still, who will occupy all the new apartments remains to be seen.