- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A group seeking to rehabilitate three buildings that once were part of the complex where Studebaker Corp. cars were manufactured on the southern edge of downtown South Bend has secured $22.9 million in financing for the project expected to cost about $146 million.

Entrepreneur Kevin Smith, CEO of the nearby Union Station Technology Center, envisions converting the Studebaker complex into a center of innovation with space for manufacturing, technology firms, business incubators, training and education. The South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1XavT7d ) the financing is primarily for two buildings that have about 220,000 square feet of space adjacent to a sprawling six-story, 950,000-square-foot building known as the Ivy Tower.

“This financing provides the capacity for the project to turn the corner,” said Shawn Peterson, vice president of strategic initiatives and general counsel at Union Station Technology Center. “It enables future phases to happen on a more aggressive time frame.”

Capital One, U.S. Bank and United Federal Credit Union worked with RDistrict One LLC on the financing and used $18.6 million in New Markets Tax Credits from Urban Research Park CDE and the National Community Trust Investment Corp. The tax credits are an incentive designed to encourage investments in low-income areas.

The Studebaker complex dates back to the 1920s. The plant closed in 1963, leaving 25,000 unemployed.

The effort to restore the Studebaker buildings could soon receive another infusion of money, as the project was one of the top priorities listed in north-central Indiana’s winning application to the state’s Regional Cities Initiative last year. The state-funded program award includes $42 million that will be available for developments in St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties.

According to the Regional Cities application, the work on the three Studebaker buildings will cost about $146 million. Some of that work, such as environmental remediation, already has been completed.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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