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South Bend developer eyes expansion for Emporium

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Proposed development around the St. Joseph River could lead to a boom in South Bend’s East Bank neighborhood.

We could have a kitchen, have maybe a stage, and help continue to developing this section of the neighborhood into a lively corner,” said developer Dave Matthews. “It makes for a more diverse, more interesting neighborhood.”

Matthews is looking to extend the Emporium over the city’s Riverwalk in the hopes of bringing more food and drink options to the area.

He’s hoping new development could bring more folks across the bridge.

“Howard Park is going through a phenomenal transformation,” he said. “Our thinking is that when people are there exercising and playing they’re probably going to get hungry and we’re getting our building ready so if a restaurateur wants to open up, we’ll be ready for them to move into our space and help serve that crowd.”

The proposal would expand one of the seven shops in the building.

“We’re just doing preparatory work to make what is currently Anna Ryan Drew’s Art Gallery which is 1,700 square feet and expand it to be about 3,400 square feet,” said Matthews.

It would also eliminate a blind spot on the Riverwalk.

“The new Riverwalk will curve to connect with path under the bridge,” said Matthews.

That expansion could still be a year or two away.

Even if the city council is on board with this plan, Matthews says he has to be approved of a Flood Control Act permit from the DNR.

Projects seeking approval must prove they will not harm wildlife, will not restrict flood way capacity and will not be a hazard to public safety.

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