The vacated building on the corner of State Street and Northwestern Avenue is on track to be replaced with apartments and a popular retail store.
The space – which now bears only a gutted neon sign of the bar it once housed and faded artwork featuring shadowy figures – has long been an eyesore, says West Lafayette Development Director Erik Carlson.
He says big box store Target has signed a lease for the first floor with basement space, and the upper four levels will be apartments for rent.
“We have a vacancy rate of less than one percent in West Lafayette for apartments, so there is very much a need for more rental units,” Carlson says. “So, this will help fill that demand.”
Carlson says part of that demand comes from recent growth among Purdue University’s student population.
And though the apartments in the new building will be managed by a different company, he hopes the project will complement the city’s other housing developments.
“We also envision that -- not on a competing level -- but that they will actually help feed each other so that the people that will be living in the Hub, Hub Plus or Rise will be shopping at the Target on the first floor of the SSC building and vice versa,” Carlson says.
Construction is expected to be complete by the fall of 2019. The Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission approved the rezoning request at its meeting Wednesday night.
The zoning authority also approved a decades-long, billion-dollar makeover for the area around the Purdue University Airport.
The so-called ‘Discovery Park District’ would include office space, housing developments for non-students, a hotel and a larger retail presence.
Purdue Research Foundation Chief Facilities Officer Richard Michal says the goal is to use the university’s research presence as a pull to develop the area as a whole.
“It’ll be a beautiful neo-traditional, new urbanist development. It’s a great location – it’s within walking distance of all those resources of the university,” Michal says. “So there’s the cultural amenities, the athletics, the recreation, the entertainment. This’ll be the whole deal, it’s very exciting.”
The project will be paid for through tax increment funding or ‘TIF’ money. The plan is expected to take 20 to 30 years to complete.
The recommendations now move to the West Lafayette City Council.