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Kite given rights to develop

Kaitlynn Riely | Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Plans for the development of Eddy Street Commons took a leap forward Tuesday when the University announced it had entered into an agreement with Kite Reality Group Trust to give the group exclusive rights to prepare and implement a design for a commercial district south of campus.

Notre Dame Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said the search for a contractor began almost two years ago. From the approximately 90 firms the University approached, Kite was selected for the task.

“We decided that Kite was the most qualified,” Affleck-Graves said. “It was a very, very careful process.”

The Indianapolis-based company has plans to build a mixed-use area near the intersection of Eddy Street and Angela Boulevard on approximately 30 acres of land currently owned by the University. The plan includes a retail center, a full-service hotel with business conference facilities, office space and condominiums, townhouses and apartments. The development is expected to take up more than 500,000 square feet south from Edison Road to Howard Street.

In a press release from Notre Dame’s Office of News and Information, Thomas K. McGowan, Kite’s executive vice president and chief operation officer, said the company was pleased to have been chosen as the developer for the project.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop a project of this magnitude that will simultaneously serve as an extension of the University and an addition to the community,” he said.

Kite was announced as the preferred developer in August and the last few months have consisted of negotiations about how Kite would use the land and how it would divide the amount of retail area versus residential area, in addition to other concerns the University posed.

“We just weren’t going to give it to them and let them do whatever they wanted to do,” Affleck-Graves said.

But now they have reached the stage where they agreed Kite is the “master contractor,” he said. Notre Dame will not own the property except for land adjacent to campus, he said, and this will be Kite’s – not Notre Dame’s – operation.

“We decided that this would be something that our students would enjoy. We are the people who will push the project,” Affleck-Graves said. “In that sense, we’ve done all the planning up till now. But now it’s time to hand the planning over to the developers and let them do it.”

The retail development and the construction of new apartments, condominiums and town houses on the corner of Eddy Street and Angela is the first phase of a five-part plan.

The University has also discussed plans with Kite to build a technology park, to extend Napoleon Street and construct residential housing along the extended area and to add additional retail and services near the Five Points intersection. Parts of the project will proceed at a pace dependant on city approval. Kite has the responsibility to get all its plans through the city council, Affleck-Graves said.

He said does not know what the cost of the project will be, since Kite has not disclosed its budget to the University.

Affleck-Graves said he hoped Kite would break ground on the project by the end of 2007.

“Hopefully the whole project will be done in four or five years.”

The construction work should not impact Notre Dame’s campus, he said.

“We are hoping it’s going to be very attractive to the students,” Affleck-Graves said. “It will be a place where they can go and do some shopping, they can do relaxing … but I don’t think construction will affect campus at all.”

Kite Reality Group Trust developed Erskine Village on the site of the former Scottsdale Mall on the south side of South Bend. It has developed several properties in Indiana and Illinois, including projects in Chicago, Indianapolis and Naperville.