Starbucks Heritage Square

Improvements for a new Starbucks have started within the west endcap suite of the former Doctor’s Express Suite at Heritage Square.  The expectation is for the cafe to open within the next 90 days.  The building faces the highly trafficked Cleveland Rd and the Starbucks suite will feature a drive-thru window.  There is already a Starbucks within the Martin’s Side Door Deli at Heritage Square, and that will remain in place.


One Michiana Square

The One Michiana Square building, located at 100 E Wayne St in downtown South Bend, came under new ownership in 2016.  The building was built in 1985 and had historic vacancy rates of 20-30%.  Now with ownership partners from Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett and new tenant partners including Ladue Curran and Kuehn, the building is now 95% occupied and a true class A office building.  Renovations to the common areas and tenant spaces have given the interior a much needed updated modern feel.  The finished lobby is gorgeous and the office space within LCK’s space features collaborative working space, glass office walls and an open break area.  If you are in the area, step into the lobby and check out the work that has been done by Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett.

LaSalle Hotel nearing completion

The LaSalle Hotel renovation project is noticeably nearing its completion.  The exterior ground and 2nd floor window trim is being scraped and painted, facade is being restored and on the inside, the apartments on the upper floors are now weeks away from completion.  In just over two weeks, the building owners will be accepting a historical preservation award for the building and the project at an exclusive event at the building.

There is definite excitement for the project as inquiries and leasing activity on the apartments has been steady all year.  The retail space on the ground floor still has opportunities for restaurant and bar.  Contact me for details.

Downtown South Bend Booming

Anyone that has visited or driven through downtown South Bend this year, has seen changes and witnessed massive commercial developments.  The Smart Streets project, which is converting the one-way streets into two-way streets with round-a-bouts and new sidewalks and landscaping, is impossible not to notice.  The redevelopment of the Chase Tower and JMS building into condos and the LaSalle Hotel and Amerigo renovations into apartments and commercial retail are also obvious improvements.  Recently the parking lot which will become a new Courtyard by Marriot hotel was also tore up.  All these developments are meant to bring much needed residents into the downtown area but in the meantime have made downtown a virtual construction site.

Has all the construction hurt business?  Local owners say no.  Mark McDonnell, owner of the LaSalle Grille, recently commented that despite the road detours business has been great.  James, the owner of Bruno’s Pizza downtown, stated the same experience in his store.  Recently I stopped in for lunch at the Chicory Cafe at the corner of Jefferson and Michigan St.  I arrived at 11:45 and within 30 minutes the line to order food was steadily 12 people deep.  The staff at Chicory handled the rush beautifully, the line moved quickly and food was brought out with little wait.  Outside the cafe, the streets were a bustle of people enjoying music and food on their lunch break.

On the most recent First Friday Event downtown, people of all ages and backgrounds filled the sidewalks and local restaurants and pubs. Musicians played played in cafes and on the plaza, merchants displayed their wares in windows and on sidewalks, and everywhere people enjoyed the sunshine and atmosphere.  In the evening hours, Latin music on the plaza drew party goers to dance on the plaza…yes even me.  While enjoying a craft beer at Brew Werks, I chatted with a young guy from Dowagiac making his first visit to South Bend.  He had been told that there was nothing going on in South Bend, but his first visit proved just the opposite.  As someone that has worked downtown for the past 13 years, I have to admit that I have been completely amazed by the change in the town.  The increased volume of people working, visiting downtown is amazing.  It’s easy not to notice subtle changes, but the life and quality of new businesses downtown and East Bank is truly quite amazing and sure to continue to grow.

If you haven’t visited downtown recently, get out and make the short trip.  If you have, share your experiences.

Hoffman Hotel Apartments

I got a chance to walk through parts of the Hoffman Hotel Apartments in downtown South Bend recently.  The artist apartment building is now open and actively leasing.  Currently the owners have 18 tenants that have already moved in since the building opened on March 18.  The studio apartments are attractive with great views of downtown and Notre Dame!  The project also features common fitness area and artist creative studio space.  Pictured below is the creative space on the top floor.

LaSalle Hotel apartments next door are set to open in just a few months and will feature beautiful 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and commercial retail space.  Two great projects for downtown South Bend.


South Bend’s Historic LaSalle Hotel

Check out some of the interior photos of South Bend’s Historic LaSalle Hotel main floor.

Floors 2-9 will feature first-class apartments with all the amenities.  Main floor space is available for lease to a restaurant, cafe, bar or retail space.  What a great building and opportunity!


1st floor plan v3

Lobby Atrium

Lobby Atrium

Original LaSalle Hotel Bar

Original LaSalle Hotel Bar

Original hotel mail slots

Original hotel mail slots

Hotel Kitchen

Hotel Kitchen

Hotel kitchen

Hotel kitchen

Lobby View from atrium

Lobby View from atrium

Biggby Coffee at Eddy St Commons

Heidi Prescott recently announced the closing of Biggby Coffee located in the Eddy St Commons development at Notre Dame.  The local family owners of Biggby politely cited family concerns as their top priority as reason for closing the South Bend store.  Besides any family reasons, local observers of Eddy St Commons could easily predict this announcement.  The developer of the project grants retail users exclusive use so that direct competitors cannot establish stores in the same project and drive one another out.  That worked well for Biggby in the beginning, but when the Notre Dame bookstore, who had no restrictions on competitive uses, installed a Starbucks within their bookstore on the corner of Angela and Eddy, complete with signage along Eddy St, the future of the Biggby was almost certain.  Starbucks is a formidable brand for any coffee house, even more so when coffee drinkers  need to walk directly past the Starbucks in order to arrive at Biggby.  Unfortunate for the family business, but wish them much success on their other locations in Elkhart, Three Rivers and St Joe MI.

River Rock Complex takes first steps

What shall become the River Rock Complex took its first steps with the demolition of the old 4-unit apartment building located at 126 Mishawaka Ave in Mishawaka.  In its place will be a 79 apartment mixed-use development project with ground floor retail, parking and courtyard.  The expectation is that retail space will be ready to be delivered to tenants for build out late in 2015.

The location is yet another improvement to the downtown Mishawaka river area which has included town-homes and the Iron Works Project.

I have included the before, current and future look of the site.  The future is a dramatic change and one that should bring lots of interest.  For information on leasing the retail space, visit my company website,

126 Mish N view before


Emporium Bldg-Niles Ave South Bend

Pictured here is a portion of the newly restored brick exterior of the Emporium Building in South Bend.  Local developer Dave Matthews purchased the building back in 2013 and recently began removing the paint from the exterior.  Matthews will continue to remove the paint from the Niles Avenue side of the building improving the look and further enhancing the feel of the local neighborhood.  The brick on the river side of the building is too soft to withstand the paint removal process, says Matthews, so that side will remain as is.

The East Bank Village continues to see improvements and developments.  Jefferson Blvd improvements were recently completed which includes sidewalks, bike lanes and curbside landscaping.  New residential units are breaking ground and others planned near the river at the former Transpo site.  I would expect that we will continue to see new developments announced for the area in the near future.


Emergency Alert System Sound!!

What is with that annoying sound that resembles an old dial up modem connection that occurs at the beginning and end of the emergency alert system?  This is a topic that has nothing to do with commercial real estate or new business developments, but I just heard that attention getting sound as it interrupted the radio program and I couldn’t help but wonder why this particular sound is still used?  Isn’t there a modern way to get listeners attention?

Well interestingly, the sound and tones used are called a SAME header, Specific Area Message Encoding.  That specific digital sound contains information and automatically triggers EAS equipment located in each radio station.  Stations do not need to be manned at the time of the alert and the system automatically interrupts whatever is being broadcast at the time. There is data within the tones including who send the message, the type of emergency and what areas are affected.  There is also a different set of tones that occur at the end of the EAS message that signals the end and turns off the equipment.

Interesting bit of info that one rarely thinks about.