- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - A developer is planning to reopen a barn-like building that previously housed a large northern Indiana farmers market after efforts to find businesses and restaurants.

Logistical setbacks and the holidays are blamed for slowing down the reopening of the American Countryside Farmers Market property along U.S. 20 just south of Elkhart. The farmers market closed in 2010 about three years after it was built, and a plan to put stores and restaurants inside the distinctive red 51,000-square-foot building originally called for a fall reopening.

American Countryside President John Levy tells The Elkhart Truth (https://bit.ly/1OQ73o7) the process was slowed because the company was finding it hard to secure a combination of restaurants, stores, employees and products.

Levy hasn’t set an opening date, but said it could happen within the next month. He said work will soon start loading inventory for restaurants and stores.

Plans for a $170 million European-style holiday villa next to the farmers market were scrapped because of a lack of investors. Other development plans for the property - including a minor-league baseball stadium - also fell through.

Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder said he believed it was difficult to find new uses for the building because of its size and unique design to accommodate nearly 500 indoor and outdoor vendor spaces.

“I’m excited about the possibility of it opening it again,” Yoder said. “We don’t like to see empty buildings. It sounds like a business model that might work.”

Several restaurants expected for the building include a bakery, coffee shop and frozen yogurt shop. Among the stores locating there are a gun shop, jewelry store, computer electronics business and an Amish quilt store.

Levy said a department store on the building’s second floor will have merchandise from online retailers offered at discount prices.


Information from: The Elkhart Truth, https://www.elkharttruth.com

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