GOSHEN — Building activity in the city occurred at a torrid pace in 2017 and is expected to continue this year, according to Mayor Jeremy Stutsman.
Stutsman said that in one of the city’s “good” building years in the past, the value of property listed in building permits reached $35 million. In 2017 the value had reached $110.7 million in late December.
The city has several housing projects that began in 2017 and helped boost the numbers. The largest is the 199-unit upscale apartment complex being constructed at 1375 Lincolnway East. MA Investments and Emmert Group Properties began the project in June. The developers are putting up $14 million to build the apartment complex.
The first subdivision to be built in the heart of the city in in recent memory is also moving forward. Developer Richard Miller and supporters created a 15-lot subdivision on the east side of the millrace where a collection of homes will result in a shared community living experience for homeowners.
Another new housing project started was the Blue Diamond Community in Maple Woods Estate. The development is a collection of four houses offering 48 seniors an assisted-living experience. The project is being developed by Tonya Detweiler.
According to city building records, the “residential housekeeping buildings” category, in which apartments fall into, amounted to 24 percent of the building activity in the city in 2017.
Non-residential buildings, the category that large industrial buildings, churches, health care structures, stores, gas stations and others are placed, amounted to 40.3 percent of the activity, according to those records.
Thirty-three projects in that category added up to $44.6 million in value added to the city’s tax roles.
Stutsman said the tax values added in 2017 will have a long-term positive impact on city residents’ pocketbooks.
“Our assessed value goes up quite a bit after all this,” the mayor said. “Our budget can’t raise more than 3 percent a year but this will really help spread the tax liability out among the residents and businesses in Goshen as the assessed value goes up.”
A few projects for this year have already been revealed. Insite Development of Mishawaka is proposing to spend $11 million to build an apartment building just to the east of the Hawks Building along the millrace. In addition, the company wants to redevelop the vacant north half of the historic brick factory structure by creating 18 upscale condominiums. That segment of the project would cost $3.6 million, according to the developers who made a presentation late last year to the Goshen Redevelopment Commission.
Another possible 2018 project could be the development of an industrial park for Lippert Components Inc. at 16629 C.R. 36. The company wants to have 330 acres annexed into the city so it can tap into city utilities to build several factories and a research and development facility. City officials categorized the project in 2017 as being potentially the largest building project in the city’s history.
But the project is on hold for now as the Goshen City Council tabled the annexation this week due to concerns from residents near the site. Stutsman broke a tie on the council and voted to table the issue.
During a Dec. 26 interview about building activity occurring in the city Stutsman said, “The staff and I are looking hard at making sure we manage the growth in a smart and efficient way.”
He also touched on the issue of tax phase-ins and incentives being used to help developers during a time of low unemployment and rapid development.
“With that apartment complex over by the Hawks Building, there are people who are frustrated with some of the incentives that are going that way,”
he said. “But the nice thing in Goshen is that the incentives being asked for and requested are much, much lower than what other communities around us are giving. We are able to do that because people are wanting to build here and I am hoping that continues so we don’t have to start offering really high incentives in order to get developers interested.”