- Associated Press - Sunday, January 17, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The sale of dozens of city-owned properties in South Bend over the last four years has been a financial boost and led to redevelopment of some sites.

The South Bend Department of Community Investment says 71 city-owned properties have been sold since the beginning of 2012, bringing in more than $3.4 million. The city has sold more real estate than it has bought since Pete Buttigieg became mayor in 2012, the South Bend Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1UMINVn ).

Properties sold by the city include the former Bendix Corp. headquarters and factory that was bought in 2014 by Curtis Products, a South Bend-based company that fabricates steel tubing. The city also sold the long-vacant downtown LaSalle Hotel that’s being converted into an apartment building. Other parcels are in organized developments.

The city has also sold the city-built Blackthorn Golf Club for $1.6 million to a private investor group. And a company agreed in April to pay $1.2 million for the former College Football Hall of Fame and incorporate it into a planned hotel and company headquarters.

City staffers have worked to clear up property titles and digitizing records on city-owned sites as there used to be 60 different names on the titles for those properties, said Brock Zeeb, the Department of Community Investment’s director of economic resources.



Zeeb said those changes enable city officials to move faster when someone wants to buy one of the sites.

“We don’t have to waste months trying to clean up something that’s wrong with the deed or recording. We’re catching all of that right now,” he said.

Buttigieg’s administration has focused on selling city-owned properties not needed for core government services. Dozens of properties were acquired over the years as part of strategies for economic development or saving buildings from being demolished.

About 800 properties are still owned by the city, ranging in size from large public parks to small parcels of real estate that provide utilities access. There are 150 to 200 parcels in Ignition Park, a technology park south of downtown.

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

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