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City warns against reading too much into DTSB ribbon cutting

Photo of the apartment complex at 300 East LaSalle Avenue on Jan. 5, 2023.
Marek Mazurek/WVPE
Photo of the apartment complex at 300 East LaSalle Avenue on Jan. 5, 2023.

Downtown South Bend Inc. will host a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Thursday for developer Dave Matthews’ East Race Market. But DTSB is not a part of city government, and the city’s lawsuit against Matthews for failing to open the store on time continues.

As a nonprofit that receives at least three-quarters of its annual operating revenue from the city, Downtown South Bend Inc., or DTSB, could find itself in an awkward situation at the event.

As it does for many new downtown businesses each year, DTSB Inc. will host the ribbon-cutting to celebrate Matthews’ opening of a store. Matthews will operate it on the ground floor of his 300 E. LaSalle apartment high-rise, after his inability to draw in a grocery and pharmacy retailer.

The city is suing him for $7.5 million because he failed to open a grocery and pharmacy by the end of 2022. Matthews’ promise to do so was a key factor in the city giving him $5 million toward the project’s cost. The other $2.5 million the city seeks accounts for damages the city says it has suffered.

His new market also doesn’t include a pharmacy.

Caleb Bauer, the city’s executive director of community investment, said he couldn’t discuss litigation strategy publicly. But he cautions against reading too much into the ribbon-cutting.

"The deadline has long passed for this grocery store to be open," said Caleb Bauer, the city's executive director of community investment. "At the end of the day, this was the responsibility of the developer, to have an on-site grocery store and pharmacy.

"And so once it's open we'll be able to take a look at what's on offer there, and whether it meets the development agreement. But our litigation is ongoing and that's where it stands right now."

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).