SOUTH BEND — Under leaves and vines, perhaps a fitting new purpose for a forgotten armory. Where you see foliage, a South Bend developer sees his future winery. Designs and a plan for change got the go ahead from the city today. A winery and culinary center coming to a brick building empty for two years.
“It’s gone through kind of a saga of state ownership and city ownership,” says Brian Pawlowski, community investment director for South Bend. “We’re really refurbishing old buildings that have a lot of character and a lot of meaning and are coming back online to be places that people can really go to enjoy themselves.”
The city sold the building to developer Brad Emberton with the promise he’ll invest up to three million dollars to clean up the crumbling structure.
“It’s a beautiful historic building built in 1928,” Emberton says. “It just seems like a shame to tear something down that has a potential reuse. So, we’re doing an adaptive reuse of the building.”
Behind these windows, a planned tasting room overlooking the river and a kitchen that can be used by food truck operators.
The city will use TIFF funds to add signage and repair cracked sidewalks. Pawlowski says restoring the early 1900s building might boost sales for neighbors like the nearby Farmers Market.
“It’s a perfect space on the water. People are going to go there, enjoy this wine tasting,” he says.
Emberton says he hopes to start renovations this year, with plans to open in late summer or early fall 2017.