UPDATE: Hirsch-Martin Development makes pitch for IU med school at ‘Promenade’
by John Martin
EVANSVILLE — When Indiana University requests proposals from local sites interested in its medical school expansion, The Promenade on Evansville’s East Side will have a strong one to offer, developers said Wednesday.
The property at North Burkhardt and Oak Grove roads has about 225 acres, 69 of which will be made available for IU, said Steve Martin with Hirsch-Martin Development LLC. That’s likely more than IU would need, at first, but Martin said the campus will need room for growth.
“The potential for additional growth is huge,” Martin said during a news conference at The Martin Group’s Evansville office. “Perhaps, additional dental, pharmacy or some additional technology that we don’t even know about today. So let’s plan for the future,”
Developers of the The Promenade unveiled plans for a multiuse development, with IU including a residential community with 224 apartments, retail, entertainment, business and a hotel with a small conference center. Plans to develop the site date back several years but were stalled by the 2008 economic downturn.
Martin said development of the land does not depend on IU choosing it for the medical school expansion. But he said The Promenade is an ideal site for the campus, and it would be a catalyst to move The Promenade forward at a faster pace.
“Instead of a 10-year project, it might end up being a five-year project (if IU is a part of it),” Martin said.
The Promenade’s acreage is inside the city limits. Martin said the land is ready for construction, with city utilities and services available. It is part of Tax Increment Financing District on the East Side.
Martin noted the site’s proximity to Deaconess Gateway Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center and other East Side medical facilities, along with its quick access to transportation arteries that lead to Jasper, Ind., and Owensboro, Ky. Hospitals in Evansville, Jasper and Owensboro will host medical residency programs.
IU is to request proposals for the expanded local medical school in November, and the Board of Trustees is to choose a site by January. Other possible locations include Warrick County, Downtown Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana. IU’s current local medical school operation is in a USI classroom building.
USI, the University of Evansville and Ivy Tech Community College are partners with IU in the medical campus project. It’s projected to have about 2,000 students and faculty.
“I think we all agree, this is a game-changer for Southwest Indiana regardless of where it locates. It’s a big step in raising the bar for the Tri-State,” Martin said.
Developers said nearly 1,000 units of housing are to be built within The Promenade, while about 1,000 existing apartments and condominiums are already within walking distance.
The property’s apartment complex, known as The Havens of Promenade, is to have one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Monthly rent is to range from $920 to $1,290.
Developers plan a luxury clubhouse, pool and lounge area, an outdoor bar and grilling area with the apartment complex.
Martin said The Promenade will be a place where residents can live, work and play, and, he hopes, study. A town center is to have a “Main Street USA” feel, Martin said, with retail and office spaces, plus walking and bicycle paths.
The hotel conference center is envisioned as another component, Martin said, but developers don’t view that as a competing with Downtown Evansville’s effort to bring large conventions back there.
The planned Hilton DoubleTree in Downtown is to have 253 rooms. Public financing of $20 million has been approved, and officials hope to break ground late this year or in early 2014.
“We’re not looking to do the same thing they’re doing Downtown, by any stretch,” Martin said. “We’re looking more at things that would be of use to this immediate area … the location of our development.”
This is a developing story. Check back with courierpress.com for more information as it becomes available.