SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE — SOUTH BEND — A downtown office building that went through foreclosure four years ago is getting a new lease on life.
Wayne Street Associates announced plans Thursday to invest $6 million in One Michiana Square, a five-story office building at Wayne and Michigan streets.
Much of the work has already started.
“We’re very excited to be part of downtown,” said Ed Bradley, a principal with Wayne Street Associates and senior vice president of Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett.
The city, for its part, will contribute $250,000 to the project for sidewalk, parking lot, lighting, landscaping and plaza work.
That work will complement the Smart Streets work the city is doing on St. Joseph Street, Bradley said.
“It’s a minimal investment on our part to make sure that building succeeds in that space,” Brian Pawlowski, acting executive director of Community Investment for the city, said Wednesday.
Built in 1985, the 100,000-square-foot building went through foreclosure in 2012, with occupancy dipping below 60 percent at one point.
The glass and granite building occupies an entire city block and includes on-site parking, including underground parking, and a raised plaza at Michigan and Wayne.
Additional parking is available in a former city-owned lot at the corner of Main Street and Western Avenue.
“If you know the history of the building, it’s a huge, landmark building that anchors the south end of downtown, but it had fallen into disrepair,” Bradley said.
“The building was in a bad way a few years ago,” Pawlowski said, “and kind of experienced a mass exodus.”
The tide began to turn in October of last year, when Advanced Centers for Cancer Care, an offshoot of Michiana Hematology Oncology, announced plans to lease 12,000 square feet of space in the building.
The company, specializing in health care management, promised to invest $7 million in the space, creating 110 new jobs over 10 years.
The city, in turn, agreed to contribute $900,000 to the project for new equipment.
“What that did was set the tone, to say to other investment groups, ‘This building is viable,’” Pawlowski said.
Wayne Street Associates, which consists of principals of Newmark Grubb, Advanced Centers for Cancer Care and the law firm of LaDue Curran & Kuehn, bought the building in November.
LaDue, Curran and Kuehn will eventually occupy offices on the third floor of the building.
The law firm will be among 17 tenants representing a total of about 250 employees, bringing occupancy to 90 percent.
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