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Riverview Lofts nearly full, developer says

Riverview Lofts, an affordable apartment complex on the banks of the Wabash River, is nearly full, its architect, Andy Myszak, told members of the city’s Redevelopment Commission on Thursday.

Myszak, who led the development team that built both Riverview Lofts on First Street as well as 22 new single-family homes throughout the city, said the homes themselves are completely leased; Riverview Lofts has reached 93% capacity but will reach full capacity when the last tenant moves in next month.

There are also 40 people currently on a waiting list.

That building, too, has nine market-rate condominiums on its third-floor; of them, seven have already been purchased, Myszak said.

“So it’s going very very well,” he told members of the RDC.

The majority of construction wrapped up at the end of 2020, although Myszak said there are still a few amenities yet to add at Riverview Lofts, things like a gazebo, bike racks, various pieces of furniture as well as the addition of a community room, theater room and business center. The rooftop terrace, too, has yet to be outfitted.

He’s hoping for a ribbon cutting celebration, he said, for either late June or early July.

The $9.4 million housing project was funded primarily with federal tax credits. Myszak partnered with the city in securing most of the 22 empty lots as many existing, unsightly homes had been torn down as part of Vincennes’ state-funded effort to eliminate blight.

The RDC was a partner, too, in that it paid the necessary $500,000 to tear down the 90-year-old grain silos that once stood where Riverview Lofts is now.

RDC members appreciated Myszak’s update, and president Tim Smith called it a “really good project.”

“It looks good down there,” he said.

Myszak, too, said he’s purchased one of the condominiums himself as he splits his time between here and a home in Arizona. He’s throughly enjoyed his time watching the Wabash River float by, he said.

The market rate units have been so popular, he said, that the appraiser from Indianapolis bought one the day he came to inspect them.

“Thank you for your help in getting those silos down,” Myszak told the commission. “I love it down there. It’s really a great addition to downtown.”

RDC member and at-large city councilman Marc McNeece said, too, that “it’s good to see more people moving around downtown,” and argued that it makes the entire community safer.

He eluded, too, to the possibility of new and expanding business as more an more people call downtown home.

“There’s more of an urban feel down there right now,” he said. “And it’s really nice.”

Advantix Development Corp., the not-for-profit arm of the Evansville Housing Authority and a member of Myszak’s development team, is managing the lease of the 22 homes as well as the units at downtown’s Riverview Lofts. Twenty-two of those are income-based.

The homes, per the tax credits that funded them, will be leased units for 15 years then could potentially be sold.

Myszak’s team has undertaken several, similar housing projects across southern Indiana in recent years, including a very similar project in Washington and, here, the transformation of a former downtown school building into Clark’s Crossing of Historic Vincennes, a more than 40-unit senior affordable housing complex at 300 N. Sixth St. in 2015.

ONB breaks ground on new downtown facility

Officials with Old National Bank on Thursday morning broke ground on a new facility to be constructed on South Sixth Street.

ONB purchased the square block — which is bordered by Sixth and Vigo streets and Seventh and Church streets — two years ago from Good Samaritan and will now move forward with building a more than 7,000-square-foot facility to replace its current location at 20 N. Third St.

“Construction starts today, right now,” said Vincennes Region President Helen Seirp with a wide smile.

Seirp, in a short address to a large crowd gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking, offered thanks to all current and former employees who helped to “pave the way” toward making the new building a reality.

“And we’re excited to open this new state-of-the-art facility,” she said, adding that the new bank’s doors will likely open in the spring of 2022.

“It will include a conversation area, an enclosed, attached drive-thru, lock boxes, a 24-hour ATM and, most importantly, the same familiar faces the Vincennes community is used to seeing,” she said.

Seirp went on to say that ONB officials are “proud” to be building downtown and will remain an active part of Vincennes.

“We are excited to continue to invest in the community,” she said.

Mayor Joe Yochum, too, commended ONB for staying downtown.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am that you are building here,” he said, gesturing wide. “There’s so much going on, and I love that you want to stay here and be a part of it.

“I’m excited to see this development.”

And Jamie Neal, president of the Knox County Chamber of Commerce, pointed to all the ways in which ONB gives back to the community it serves. It’s difficult, she said, to find an organization that hasn’t, in some way, benefited from ONB’s philanthropy.

“So we just want to congratulate our long-term partner on this exciting occasion,” Neal said. “Thank you for making another investment, and thank you for developing our downtown area.”

Good Samaritan sold the green space to ONB in 2019 for $650,000.

The hospital had owned the property since 2004, maintaining it as a green space and holding onto it in the case it was needed for new construction.

But as the hospital expanded to the south, toward Willow Street, hospital board members agreed that holding onto it was no longer necessary.

Seirp said ONB does not own its facility on North Third Street. Instead, it signed a 20-year lease, which expires in 2022.

The bank for years has offered space to organizations like the United Way of Knox County and the Knox County Community Foundation.

Seirp said she does not know what will become of that facility — it’s owned by someone who lives out of state — but that she believes there has already been “lots of interest” in possibly buying it.

ONB’s Hart Street location is set to remain open.

Farmers market set to return for 12th year
  • Updated

The Farmers Market of Historic Vincennes is returning for its next season and with new hours on May 29.

The vendors’ setup time will be moved to 8 a.m. with the market opening to customers at 9 a.m., an hour later than previous seasons. It will remain open, as usual, until 1 p.m.

This will be the 12th year for the historic farmer’s market at the Riverfront Pavilion, located at 112 N. Second St., and event organizer Shirley Rose, a member of the alliance group that runs the market each year, is excited about getting back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If people are more comfortable wearing a mask, we certainly encourage it, but it’s not required,” Rose said.

“There is already space between the vendors and customers.

“We’re outdoors so the restrictions have basically been lifted,” she said.

Rose is particularly excited about many of the new additions to the market this year.

The market will see 22 vendors returning, and they’ll be joined by more than 15 new ones, including three more produce vendors, two more egg vendors, more baked goods, and jewelry, just to highlight a few.

Also near this year will be a coffee truck and the addition of Tia Chi lessons.

A certified Tia Chi instructor will begin lessons behind the Old State Bank building beginning in June. More details will be released later, Rose said.

Good Samaritan will also have a presence at the market this year.

“They will have their mobile clinic on site for blood pressure screenings and other testing,” Rose said.

Many market-goers, too, will be happy to see the return of live music to Saturday mornings at the Riverfront Pavilion. Many new acts have already contacted Rose about performing at the event. Just One More will kick off the season on May 29.

Andwith so many new vendors and activities — and with additional space required due to the pandemic — Rose said vendors could eventually spill outside the pavilion itself and onto Busseron Street with the use of tents, especially as more are added later in the season.

“Space is limited, even more so now,” Rose said.

“But we want people to be a part of the market.”

For more information, contact Rose at 812-882-5162.