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Developer plans $9.5M town house project near old Milano Inn site

February 27, 2018

A local condominium developer is buying property near the old Milano Inn restaurant in the Fletcher Place neighborhood with plans to build a $9.5 million residential project.

Onyx+East project 250pxOnyx+East has received approval from the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission to demolish two buildings at 777 Bates St., between South College Avenue and Interstate 65, to construct 35 town houses.

Onyx is purchasing the one-acre site from a local investment ownership group called 777 Partners LLP, a part of the Acorn Group real estate firm, according to county assessor records.

Acorn was not actively listing the property, but decided to sell after Onyx approached it with an offer, said David Leazenby, vice president of product and growth.

“There aren’t that many places you can go downtown and find sizable parcels for development,” he said. “You can walk very easily from there to anywhere downtown.”

The property is just inside the northern border of the revitalized Fletcher Place neighborhood, south of the former Milano Inn restaurant and east of a parking lot that bounds College and Bates.

If completed, the project will join an area that's seen a lot of redevelopment in recent years.

Nearby, at 325 S. College, Deylen Realty Inc. developed the Pin Bureau coworking space in a former bowling alley that's part of same building occupied by the well-known Iaria's Italian Restaurant. The 10,000-square-foot space is affiliated with the Hinge Bureau coworking space at 719 Virginia Ave.

To the north, and just outside of the Fletcher Place boundary, Herman & Kittle recently completed a $28 million, 211-unit apartment project on 2.6 acres called The Vue.

“There has been a tremendous amount of activity and investment in that area, and it’s close enough to Fletcher Place and Virginia Avenue,” Leazenby said.

Also on the drawing board is a redevelopment of the Milano Inn property. South Bend-based Holladay Properties early last year bought the restaurant building and surrounding land at 231 S. College Ave. Holladay has yet to announce formal plans for the property. The restaurant closed at the end of 2016.

Onyx + East, meanwhile, hopes to close on the sale of the Bates Street property in May and start demolition immediately, with the first units available in January 2019. An small warehouse and garage structure currently sit on the site.

The project would consist of eight buildings. Units all will be two-bedroom, range in size from 1,270 square feet to 1,600 square feet, and priced from about $290,000 to $350,000. All units will include one- or two-car garages, and some will boast rooftop decks.

Onyx+East has an existing presence in the Fletcher Place neighborhood. The company, an offshoot of prolific apartment developer Milhaus Development LLC, is housed in Milhaus’ headquarters at 460 Virginia Ave.

But that’s about to change. Onyx is moving this week to 1834 Central Ave. in the Herron-Morton neighborhood, where it has renovated a vacant, brick building to serve as its new office.

Adjacent to it, the company has started building 60 condominiums on 2.7 acres on the north end of the block bordered by 19th Street to the north and Central Avenue and New Jersey Street to the east and west, as part of the $18.4 million project.

Onyx+East also has downtown condo projects in the works.

Sitework has started at the corner of North Street and Fort Wayne Avenue—just north of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building and adjacent to the Cultural Trail—where the developer will build 12 two-bedroom units in a two-building development. The $3.6 million project will include town houses and flats ranging from 1,340 to 1,667 square feet and priced from the low $300,000s. Onyx so far has sold seven of the units, Leazenby said.

A few blocks northwest, at 727 N. Illinois St., the company plans to build 32 condos and town houses. Construction on that $8.4 million project should start in about a month, he said. Units will start in the high $200,000s.

 

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