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Ward Bakery Building In South Bend's Near Northwest Neighborhood Could Soon See New Development


The Ward Bakery Building in South Bend’s Near Northwest Neighborhood has been vacant for over a decade, but the building could see new development in the coming year. 

The Near Northwest Neighborhood has tried six times to turn the building into low-income housing, but was never able to secure the tax credit funding to do it. 

Instead of housing, the current plan being considered would turn the building into a neighborhood hub for business, arts and retail.  

“I like to call it a collaborator village," said Texas developer Monte Anderson. "You know, somebody does graphic design, somebody’s got a restaurant, somebody might make cupcakes for the restaurant, all of these things. You begin to work together and it becomes this cultural hub.”

Anderson has teamed up with local developers Mike Keen, Greg Kil and Dwayne Borkholder to refurbish the building and fill it with tenants whose business the neighborhood would likely value.

“What matters is what the neighborhood and the market say to put in here," Anderson said. "We’re going to create the environment where the neighborhood can express itself.”

The development won’t come without challenges, though. Environmental assessments found lead and asbestos on site that will need to be abated, and Keen said the group will have to have tenant leases lined up to pay for that cleanup. 

Still, the developers expect to take possession of the building by early December, and hope to have it refurbished by late summer 2021. 

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo

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Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.