Liberty Tower to Get Phase 2 Facelift

Published Friday, June 29, 2018

The 25-story Liberty Tower building’s New York city-based owner, Tower at Washington Square LLC, and city officials have reached a deal to improve the building's roof, facade, and other touches, particularly on the Washington Street side.

The city’s redevelopment commission on June 28 approved a development agreement committing the city to contribute $1 million in tax incremental financing property tax money toward a projected $3.7 million second phase of the building’s renovation, aimed at creating new ground-floor retail space. Specifically, the agreement requires the city to complete improvements to the building’s roof, the sidewalk on Washington Street, and exterior finishes, including paint.

There are about 10,000 square feet on the ground floor and another 10,000 square feet in the basement that could be unified with the ground floor.

The building, built in 1970 as the city’s tallest structure and formerly called Chase Tower, had fallen into disrepair during years of foreclosure under previous owners, teetering on the brink of demolition. Washington Square, which bought it in 2014, has broken the building’s rebirth into three phases.

The first phase, renovating the first nine floors for the new Aloft hotel, which opened in November, was initially estimated to cost $33.87 million, an investment that Washington Square exceeded by $6.8 million. That phase received no TIF money but did receive property tax abatements awarded by the common council.

Phase 2 is the ground floor retail renovation. The development agreement requires Washington Square to start work by Oct. 1 and finish by the end of next year.

The third phase, projected to cost $12 million to $15 million, will renovate former offices in the floors above the hotel for up to 96 new apartments or condominiums, with apartments ranging from $1,000-per-month studios to two-bedroom units for $3,000 a month, Bradley Co. officials have said. That work is set to begin next year, and the city has yet to commit any funding.

Source: Read the Full Story by Jeff Parrott in the South Bend Tribune