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Future plans for old Home Hospital site

It’s been a little more than four months since the owners of the former Home Hospital in Lafayette sold the property. An Indianapolis-based partnership, known as Columbian Park Redevelopment, bought the building and several others nearby with plans to demolish them.

Teri Flory lives in the Columbian Park neighborhood. She says since Franciscan Saint Elizabeth Health announced in November it was selling the empty hospital, homeowners have had a range of emotions.

“I think there was a lot of sadness in general, and I think now there’s just a bit of anxiety of what’s going to happen," she says. "I think if we had known before the hospital started being torn down what was going in, it wouldn’t be quite what it is right now. But I think, because we don’t know what’s going on and we don’t know what the long-term plan is, that is creating a little bit of concern.”

The new owners did hold one meeting with neighbors in December and promised to have more. Flory says she didn’t think those living nearby would have much say in the future development, but she hoped they’d be able to give input.

“Hopefully we have a positive improvement to the neighborhood and not something that would bring down property values.”

Denny Excavating is involved with the project and handling the demolition of the buildings. Fred Price is the business development director. He says several houses along Ferry Street have been taken down already. But he thinks razing the hospital building will go through August.

In the meantime, Price says they’re talking with developers about the site.

“Several ideas being kicked around. All of it has some form of housing. Nothing has been finalized yet. Hopefully, we’ll have announcements in the next 30-to-60 days and we’ll be a little more definite about who’s going into the various sites.”

One of those interested parties is Brinshore Development. The company partnered with Lafayette to build Chatham Square along Greenbush Street.

“The appeal is that it’s such a large site and there’s room for many developers to work there," says Peter Levavi, senior vice president. "So, there could be a lot of synergies brought with lots of different pieces to this puzzle.

"We like complex, nuanced, you know, well-designed projects and there’s a lot of interested parties who would like to work there and we, you know, would like to be included in the mix.”

He says the demolition of the hospital and the other buildings sent a message to developers that the city wanted something done and wanted the area improved.

“There are many, many, many hospitals all over the Midwest that are closing, and what’s unique is the leadership taken by the City of Lafayette to turn what could be an eyesore and problem into a real asset.”

Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson says he keeps in contact with new owners and has heard about the interest in the property. He says the city is ready to help.

“Possible development may need a different zoning classification, or they may opt for a planned development, which we would strongly encourage.”

But until a decision is made by the new owner and developers, work will continue on taking down buildings, and neighbors will continue to wait and think about what could be.

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