Press ReleasesMay 30, 2008
Local Developer Presents Plan for $120 Million Downtown Gary Transportation Project
A local developer has presented a proposal to the City of Gary for a $120 million mixed-use, transit-oriented development (TOD) that would spark an economic rebirth in downtown Gary.
Gateway Partners LLC presented an agreement to the City of Gary this week, requesting approval for the Merrillville development company to move forward with a plan to replace the current train station at Fourth Avenue and Broadway and build the Adam Benjamin Gateway Station.
It will constitute the largest project in the City of Gary in years. Construction would begin late fall and is slated for completion in 2011.
The nine-acre development includes a 60,000-square-foot train station for passengers of the South Shore Commuter Rail Line, two parking garages, retail development, and an enclosed, above-ground walkway from the station to the Genesis Convention Center.
The multi-level station, featuring an environmentally friendly design, will include seating areas, restrooms, a coffee shop, and a newsstand. The Transportation Security Administration will operate an office inside the building.
Connected to the station will be two parking garages, one containing 1,500 spaces and the other, 500 spaces. Knowing full well that safety is crucial when people travel, both parking garages will be equipped with lighting, video cameras, and police security. The development team, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), and the City of Gary want to ensure a highly safe facility is in place for all those utilizing the South Shore, particularly for its ridership that is 70 percent female.
In addition to South Shore passengers utilizing the parking garages, city and county employees will be provided access. Nearby, an entire block of retail shops planned along Fourth Avenue will fuel expanded shopping opportunities downtown and will lead South Shore passengers and others to stay longer in Gary to shop and dine.
After months of negotiation, the development is the result of a public-private partnership among the City of Gary, Gateway Partners LLC, and NICTD. No new taxes will be needed to fund the project.
While Clay embraced the project when it was originally proposed last year, he preferred for the development to be relocated from I-65 and U.S. 20 and to take place instead in downtown where it can help revitalize the area and provide greater accessibility for Gary residents.
Gateway Partners LLC is represented by Gary resident Vance Kenney, whose vision for the $120 million project is the creation of a transit-oriented development. A TOD is a mixed-used residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transportation.
“As a resident of Gary and a member of the development team, it is my desire to help fan the flames of economic progress and enhance the quality of life in a community that has so much to offer, but hasn’t fully been realized. However, thanks to the foresight and commitment of Mayor Clay, NICTD, and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, the City of Gary’s potential will fully materialize,” Kenney said.
This new economic engine for Gary is more than just about expanding a commercial presence downtown; it’s about improving accessibility to the South Shore for people with disabilities and reducing overall travel times for commuters.
The existing train station at Gary Metro Center and the Miller train stop have not been compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), triggering a federal mandate to modernize the facilities to accommodate those with disabilities.
High-level boarding platforms will be constructed at the new station, making trains fully accessible to passengers with disabilities and speeding up loading and unloading times for all passengers. Additionally, escalators and elevators will be installed to fulfill ADA compliance.
"The Adam Benjamin Gateway Station would mean a first-rate train facility with a fully accessible, high-level boarding area, as well as an enhanced means to getting passengers to their destinations faster," said John Parsons, NICTD Director of Marketing and Planning. The new station will result in the consolidation of the deteriorating Gary Metro Center station and the Miller stop, which lack restroom facilities. By combining the stations into the new single facility, it will reduce travel times in both directions by up to 7 minutes.
An expanded bus presence at the Miller train stop provided by the Gary Public Transportation Corp. will connect passengers seeking to ride the South Shore to the new facility.
While construction takes place over the next two years, a temporary train station will be constructed on the property at Jackson Park next to Third Avenue. A 500-space parking lot will be built at the temporary location, but the area will be restored once the new station is constructed.
For more information call Vance Kenney at 219-613-2450.