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Northpointe Plaza businesses excited for renovation project

City officials have dubbed it as the front door of the city, and many seem to agree that it’s not a pretty one. But, it could soon be a lot more attractive.

Northpointe Plaza is the first thing people see when they enter Elkhart off the the Toll Road, or Interstate 80/90.
But, with over 70 percent of the retail space vacant, a local hotel manager said it isn’t the gem it used to be. Renae Thomas, with Hampton Inn, said the hotel used to fill up, right along with the parking lot at the plaza.
“It used to be we were guaranteed to be sold out. Monday through Wednesday. No matter what. We were guaranteed to be sold out,” Thomas said.
But Thomas said since stores like Martins, Sally’s Beauty Supply, and CVS are left the plaza, the hotel’s occupancy rate has suffered.
“Once those came down, our business went down. We went down to about five rooms a night. Everybody here had their hours cut.”
Matt Lavine, General Manager at the Applebee’s in the plaza, said he hopes the project entices new companies to take over the empty spaces.
“There’s been rumors. Like a Meijer. I’ve heard that rumor. Or a home depot, I think that would be cool. I mean anything! Anything really just to draw people back that way,” Lavine said.
Both Lavine and Thomas said they both hope it boosts traffic through their doors, and makes the entrance into Elkhart a lot more attractive.
“I hope it makes us busier. I hope it makes us easier and accessible,” Lavine said.
“We can only do so much with our building.  When we have nothing behind us, and nothing around us, that doesn’t help us,” Thomas said. “Hopefully doing that, they can be like they have a nice hotel, a nice facility, and they have everything we need right there.”
Some of the plans include adding a roundabout, improving the curbs, sidewalks, and sewer lines, and making the intersection more convenient.
City officials said work will start after Labor Day Weekend, and wrap up on October 8th, which is in time for Notre Dame’s third home game of the season.
 

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