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Groups work to restore historic property in South Bend

South Bend, Ind.—

While new developments continue to pop up around South Bend, Indiana Landmarks is set on restoring an old property that’s been underutilized for years.

“Reality is, sometimes if you buy time for a building, you’ll find use for it,” said Todd Zeiger, Director of the Northern Region of Indiana Landmarks. “It kind of brings that life back.”

The organization believes there still is quite a bit of use for the old Kizer Mansion.

“Different uses that might involve the public, Indiana Landmarks offices would be a good fit for this property instead of just rental that it was,” said Zeiger.

The plan is to turn the 20-room, 10,000 square foot building into mixed residential and commercial spaces.

It’s the latest underutilized property in the city that will soon see better days again.

“You take a property that’s underutilized or empty, or not utilized in the fashion that’s helpful to the neighborhood and you put a new use, a new life to that and all of a sudden you bring energy back to that location and the surrounding areas,” said Zeiger.

New life came to LaSalle street this past year.

The Hoffman Hotel and the LaSalle are now home to new tenants.

A few blocks over, $30 million is being pumped into the once-dark Chase Tower.

And nearly $10 million in renovations are coming to the old JMS Building.

“There are other buildings that are on the bubble right now and are looking for new uses,” said Zeiger.

One of those buildings is the Lafayette.

Last April, the owner was fined for letting the five-story building with so much potential go to waste.

But there’s still hope in these once-abandoned historic sites.

And organizations like Indiana Landmarks aim to into tap that potential.

Indiana landmarks will hold an open house of the Kizer Mansion on July 22.

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