How will a vacant building on Wabash Ave. be used?

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — It once served as a bank and the former headquarters for the Terre Haute Police Department. But, for the last several months a building on Wabash Ave. has sat vacant.

Recently, WDG Construction, a group out of Indianapolis, has proposed building a new two-story apartment complex. It will feature 100 units of studio rooms and shared living spaces.

The company has already built a similar structure in Bloomington, Indiana. They say it has been a successful venture so far.

Mayor Duke Bennett said the city will hope to house college students and young professionals.

“We’re going to put this property back on the tax rolls and it’s going to spread out among that area for additional investments,” Bennett said. “We have a stock of old houses in Terre Haute. I’ve said that many times.”

In total, this project will cost around $9 million. The company is not seeking any tax abatements.

“When you have those market-rate apartments it goes a long way towards seeing us economically. People want to come here, they want to live here, they want to work here and they want a high-quality place to live,” the Mayor added.

A mile away from the proposed site is Sonka Irish Pub and Cafe. Manager, Noelle Cress said the news is “exciting” and adds that any investment in the area is positive.

“We were excited to hear the apartments were coming. That opens up a lot of possibilities for us, both clients and staff. We hire most of our staff being college-aged students and a lot of our clients are college-aged students,” Cress stated. “This can only be beneficial for us.”

The property will be rezoned to planned development, which is on the city council agenda for July.

“The goal is to help small businesses. This is one way as a community we can do that,” Bennett said.

The Mayor acknowledges that adding an apartment complex to Wabash Avenue could kick start more investments. Renovations to Gilbert Park are being discussed.

Cress said she would like to see more businesses and housing added.

“Just to bring more attention to this part of town. There are some cool things down here and we want people to come down here and support everyone,” Cress said.

If all goes according to plan, the project will be completed by next August before the school year begins.