SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A massive plant in northern Indiana that’s been abandoned for decades is getting some improvements.
There are plans to reface portions of the 94-year-old former Studebaker plant in South Bend, the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/2tm9Imi) reported.
The new facade will be made of brick and glass that will mimic the building’s historic look. Work will also include structural improvements, said owner Kevin Smith. He said he hopes work on the facade will start this summer and be about halfway complete by the end of the year.
Smith said he envisions one day projecting light on the new glass surface to mimic the Aurora Borealis.
The project has support from the South Bend Cubs. The Cubs’ owner, Andrew Berlin, recently broke ground on a mixed-use apartment complex near the old factory.
“It’s extremely exciting to see this, because it just shows more investment on our side of town,” said team President Joe Hart. “Seeing what they’ve done on the south side of the (complex), it’s absolutely beautiful. So to imagine what it’s going to look like on our side, we just can’t wait.”
The $7 million project has received $3.5 million from the state and $3.5 million from the city.
It’s part of a larger effort to create a mixed-use technology center south of downtown. That entire project is expected to cost more than $150 million and could take more than 10 years to complete.
The sprawling structure has been largely abandoned and unused since Studebaker Corp. shut down its automotive assembly line in 1963, leaving 25,000 people unemployed.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com