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10/10/2017 6:14:00 PM
Hammond looks to take control of another downtown building

Ed Bierschenk, Times of Northwest Indiana

HAMMOND — The city's redevelopment commission has agreed to a deal that calls for it to purchase another downtown building.

Under terms of a settlement agreed to by the commission recently, the city would acquire the Straube building in the 5200 block of Hohman Avenue.

The city would pay $110,000 for the building and another $20,000 for a liquor license, said Chief of Staff Phil Taillon. 

Taillon said the liquor license could help the city attract a restaurant operation to the building, although he said the city is open to other possibilities for the building. He noted, however, the city has been continually looking for a new downtown restaurant operator.

The liquor license being acquired by the commission as part of the deal could be used at other locations in the city, Taillon noted. For instance, the downtown Hotel LaSalle the city is acquiring has a restaurant facility.

Taillon said he is "very confident" the city will be able to find a purchaser or user for the property. Ideally, he said, the city would want someone to purchase the property, but it would be open to leasing it out as well.

He said the building has an interesting construction, however, and he hopes the city can preserve the structure's history if it takes over the building. 

"I think we have shown that private investment in downtown real estate can stand on its own if the property is managed and marketed properly," Barnes said.

He added they are still "bullish on downtown Hammond" and there is a "real attraction" to being in the city because of Indiana's competitive tax structure and "Hammond's pro-business attitude."

The city's purchase of the building is part of a settlement agreement between C&R Remodeling LLC, the city of Hammond, the city's planning and development department, and the city's facade rebate committee.

C&R Remodeling had contended in a lawsuit the city did not give the company the amount it felt it had been promised under the city's facade rebate program for improvements made to several of the buildings it owned in Hammond.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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