A developer’s effort to renovate South Bend’s tallest building into a high-end boutique hotel and senior-living center  advanced last week when the city’s Economic Development Commission approved a plan for $7.5 million of city-issued bonds on behalf of the project.

Chicago-based developer Victor Osinski hopes to tap another $13.5 million of bonds through St. Joseph County and $10.7 million of debt issued by the Indiana Finance Authority.

At least some of the borrowing, which would total $32 million, would include recovery zone facility bonds, according to local reports.

The debt would be backed by revenue generated by an existing tax-increment finance district located in the downtown area around the building.

If approved, the TIF district would receive no new property tax revenue for 20 years, the life of the bonds, reports said.

The South Bend Redevelopment Commission needs to sign off on the proposal, which would then go before the City Council.

Proceeds from the bonds would allow the developer to rehab and update an existing Ramada Inn into Hotel Indigo, an upscale boutique hotel, as well as a senior-living center.

The rehab would include the building’s façade and would reduce the number of hotel rooms to 80 from 176.

“I’m excited that a quality developer is looking at our downtown and committed to reinvest in a key landmark for our community,” Mayor Stephen Luecke said in a statement. “This project will increase the number of downtown residents and workers, which, along with the project itself, will have a ripple effect on our downtown economy.”

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