EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Developers unveil updated plans on one of downtown Evansville’s most recognizable pieces of property.
The plans call for demolishing old 420 Main building and replacing it with new apartments and offices.
When the building’s current owners took over, they had visions of turning this old tower into new apartments and new space for business. But new plans presented this morning to the city redevelopment commission show that tower will be imploded to make room for a new project.
“Our number one priority was to save the tower and we would have loved to see that done,” said Candace Chapman, executive director for Downtown Evansville. But the tower’s structure and cost of rehabbing it, lead developers to replace old 420 Main.
“I think all of us would have preferred to be able to renovate and repurpose old Old National Bank building,” said Jeff Justice of Hafer Design.
Domo Development presented new plans for a 6-story and 4-story building, with 127 apartments, tens of thousands of square feet of office and retail space. The Sycamore building on the same block also expected to be coming down. Developers say the financial gap between cost of rehabbing the tower and money available, plus the current layout of the building made reusing it unfeasible.
Those floor plates were only 7500 feet, which only allowed about 6 apartments per floor, and so, you’re trying to redevelop 150,000 square feet and only getting about less than 70 apartments out of that. At the end of the day, the numbers didn’t work,” Chapman explained.
“You are not working within the confines of an existing footprint. So, we were able to rightsize the project to accommodate the apartments in an efficient way, to accommodate the retail and restaurant space in the best way,” added Justice.
“As long as they’re building something and the city’s growing, that’s great,” said Ken Butler, who used of have an office on the 17th floor. He likes that plans are moving forward, but is heartbroken to see the building brought down.
“My heart breaks because I’d like to see the building used, it’s a beautiful building. But if they can’t use it, they can’t use it,” he said.
The plans also involve redeveloping the park on the corner of this block. Officials say the time between the start of demolition and opening of new buildings could take at least two years.
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(This story was originally published on November 17, 2020)