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> MIchigan City Development Thread!
Hypnotic
post Mar 3 2015, 01:29 PM
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I think that we should have a thread where we can keep track of and discuss projects that are under construction, planned or proposed for the city. We can also exchange ideas about what types of developments Michigan City needs to attract to be competitive in the region. I am sort of a development nerd and the idea comes from 'Skyscraperpage' where the site is devoted to major construction projects from around the world.

Current projects and proposals:

Michigan City Police Station
Lifeworks Business Park
Construction on South Franklin
Realignment of Washington and Pine
New activities center/pavilion at Washington Park
U.S. 421 Overpass
U.S. 12 bridge
Franklin Street Bridge
LMGIS
Art Space
Proposed "up-scale" hotel for North End
Former Memorial Hospital Site
Trail Creek Corridor
Beautification of Nipsco Cooling Tower
Nipsco "Scrubber"
NICTD Track Realignment

We have a lot of development in the works. I've always felt that Michigan City is a sleeping giant that has the potential to dominate the region. We have had multiple developers envision high-rises and mid-rises in the city at various locations. I can remember back in 2006-2007 a developer from Chicago wanted to demolish Galveston Steakhouse and erect a 13 story "S" shaped condo on the site before the economy collapsed. Another developer proposed two 20 story condo/hotel buildings for the former Memorial Hospital site and Lohan-Anderson recommended 3-24 story condos for Trail Creek next to Blue Chip. The possibilities are endless but the city must rid itself of the terrible NIMBY'ism which harms our growth.

I hope to hear of other projects in the city that people have knowledge of that I am unaware of and welcome even rumors. For instance, I have a friend with ties to sources in the city and he has stated that they are working towards Marquette Mall being demolished with the city claiming emanate domain. Whether it is substantial I don't know but it is certainly conceivable and necessary. He also claimed that the mall doubled the rent of Applebee's and that is why they exited the city. I hope Michigan City does not work to just become Valparaiso redux which I fear is the idea. Michigan City has a unique opportunity to become more South Bend like with major developments. We have almost double the Sq. Mileage of Valpo and La Porte. The problem is Michigan City is largely underdeveloped. We have large swaths of land primed for mixed use projects. Cleveland Ave. for one has the potential to be even more prominent with a greater density than Franklin Street yet it has attracted no interest from what I can glean. The sign for "Cleveland Crossing" has been up for 8-10 years. I would also like to see Michigan City attract more authentic ethnic restaurants and other businesses to give more of a big city feel by offering something for everyone and widening the demographics rather than just being a high-end mono-cultural boutique city like Valpo. A market research company suggested Michigan City also attract a college campus somewhere downtown to give a "university feel" to the North End. Either PNC, Ivy Tech or I.U. That would be an excellent idea to bolster growth.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 3 2015, 05:34 PM
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Glad to hear the city is doing something about Marquette Mall. Like I stated before when the stores closed at Century Mall in Merrillville it was torn Dow, when the stores closed at Woodmar Mall in Hammond it was torn down, when the stores closed at Scottsdale Mall with in South Bend it was torn down, when the stores closed at several subarban Malls in the cities and villages in Illinois they were torn down. So why isn't Marquette Mall being torn down?
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taxthedeer
post Mar 4 2015, 08:12 AM
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I recall that back in the early 90s right after I moved here that Buddy Myers of the Chicago Wolves hockey team as looking into building an indoor event arena in Michigan City. He wanted to locate it across from the airport on U.S. 35 where they keep talking about putting in a truck stop. The three county commissioners that were in at the time who are now all deseased wanted a big chunk of the revenue and mayor Brillson wanted to locate it on the old Memorial Hospital property. Nothing ever came to fruition.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 4 2015, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 4 2015, 08:12 AM) *

I recall that back in the early 90s right after I moved here that Buddy Myers of the Chicago Wolves hockey team as looking into building an indoor event arena in Michigan City. He wanted to locate it across from the airport on U.S. 35 where they keep talking about putting in a truck stop. The three county commissioners that were in at the time who are now all deseased wanted a big chunk of the revenue and mayor Brillson wanted to locate it on the old Memorial Hospital property. Nothing ever came to fruition.


I remember that as well. Brillson also wanted to bring a 2nd casino, (she fought for Four Winds and land based gaming but the state law did not pass) a minor league baseball team and a regional airport. She had great vision and passion. We have not had a mayor to match her vision for Michigan City. She was responsible for much of the growth that we experienced.

As for the mall, it is a blight and I have no clue why nothing is being done about it. All I have heard is that the owners are obstinate and can afford to operate at a loss essentially forever. This is supposedly why the city is at the emanate domain stage as all other options have been exhausted. Though the city has been negotiating with Blocksom for over a decade. If the mall goes anything like that then this will be a futile notion. A Shoe Carnival manager told me last year he heard that a Macy's is supposed to take over the Penney's building. Then they announced their closing a few months later. I hope this isn't true and the mall is indeed demolished. I think there is more potential for the location than what a rejuvenated mall would bring.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 5 2015, 08:31 AM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 4 2015, 11:52 AM) *

I remember that as well. Brillson also wanted to bring a 2nd casino, (she fought for Four Winds and land based gaming but the state law did not pass) a minor league baseball team and a regional airport. She had great vision and passion. We have not had a mayor to match her vision for Michigan City. She was responsible for much of the growth that we experienced.

As for the mall, it is a blight and I have no clue why nothing is being done about it. All I have heard is that the owners are obstinate and can afford to operate at a loss essentially forever. This is supposedly why the city is at the emanate domain stage as all other options have been exhausted. Though the city has been negotiating with Blocksom for over a decade. If the mall goes anything like that then this will be a futile notion. A Shoe Carnival manager told me last year he heard that a Macy's is supposed to take over the Penney's building. Then they announced their closing a few months later. I hope this isn't true and the mall is indeed demolished. I think there is more potential for the location than what a rejuvenated mall would bring.

Marquete Mall property would be an ideal location for the Northwest Indiana Convention and Event Center similar to Donald E. Stevens in Rosemont, IL or McCormick Place in Chicago. There is nothing like that anywhere in the Northwest Indiana region.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 5 2015, 03:05 PM
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There is talk about tearing down the old Chrysler dealership at 11th and Michigan Boulevard. We purchased a home in that area which I am renovating.

I watched the Ministerial candidates forum on ALCO and one of the council candidates expressed their concern that there is a dire need of a full service grocery store on the eastside of Michigan City which hasn't existed along the Michigan Boulevard corridor since SuperSave Foods (formally K&M) in Eastgate Plaza went bankrupt.

That would be a great location for a grocery store for the residents of that area, either a 3rd Al's location or bring in a chain like Martin's.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 9 2015, 12:57 AM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 5 2015, 03:05 PM) *

There is talk about tearing down the old Chrysler dealership at 11th and Michigan Boulevard. We purchased a home in that area which I am renovating.

I watched the Ministerial candidates forum on ALCO and one of the council candidates expressed their concern that there is a dire need of a full service grocery store on the eastside of Michigan City which hasn't existed along the Michigan Boulevard corridor since SuperSave Foods (formally K&M) in Eastgate Plaza went bankrupt.

That would be a great location for a grocery store for the residents of that area, either a 3rd Al's location or bring in a chain like Martin's.


I hope they do tear that down, that has been an eyesore for a long while and that is a prime location with all the traffic for the casino. I agree that side of town does need a grocery store. Karwick is way too expensive for the economic climate of the Eastside.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 9 2015, 01:09 AM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 5 2015, 08:31 AM) *

Marquete Mall property would be an ideal location for the Northwest Indiana Convention and Event Center similar to Donald E. Stevens in Rosemont, IL or McCormick Place in Chicago. There is nothing like that anywhere in the Northwest Indiana region.


A convention center with a mixed use high-rise tower including hotel/office/retail/restaurants and perhaps live theater space ala "Star Plaza" would be such a perfect utilization of the property and put the city on the proverbial map. Or the site could serve as a satellite campus for a major university with a combination of low & mid-rise offices, halls and dorms and an athletics facility.

Sadly, knowing Michigan City if anything we will see strip malls, banks and gas stations go up in it's place if anything ever happens.

It would require an ambitious developer and a substantial investment on the city's behalf but the rewards would be incalculable.
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Southsider2k12
post Mar 9 2015, 11:42 AM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 9 2015, 02:09 AM) *

A convention center with a mixed use high-rise tower including hotel/office/retail/restaurants and perhaps live theater space ala "Star Plaza" would be such a perfect utilization of the property and put the city on the proverbial map. Or the site could serve as a satellite campus for a major university with a combination of low & mid-rise offices, halls and dorms and an athletics facility.

Sadly, knowing Michigan City if anything we will see strip malls, banks and gas stations go up in it's place if anything ever happens.

It would require an ambitious developer and a substantial investment on the city's behalf but the rewards would be incalculable.


With the local demographics, it would be a really tough sell when compared to the communities around us. You need a pretty white collar, college educated community to not only to support that type of development, but also to staff it. Too many of our college grads are lone gone to greener fields in other towns.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 9 2015, 12:17 PM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 3 2015, 02:29 PM) *


Current projects and proposals:

Michigan City Police Station
Lifeworks Business Park
Construction on South Franklin
Realignment of Washington and Pine
New activities center at Washington Park
U.S. 421 Overpass
U.S. 12 bridge
Franklin Street Bridge
LMGIS
Art Space
Proposed "up-scale" hotel for North End
Former Memorial Hospital Site
Trail Creek Corridor
Beautification of Nipsco Cooling Tower
Nipsco "Scrubber"


Another thing you didn't mention was the NICTD realignment.

I don't understand Mr. Parry and the Libertarian candidate stating that they want to put people to work but are opposed to the plan as NICTD will increase freight train traffic as they are wanting to haul steel coils to and from the Mills to the ArcelorMittal I/N Kote/I/N Tek processing plant in New Carlisile so the people there will have the raw material to go to work.

I bet there are a lot of Michigan City residents that are employed at IN Kote/IN Tek that this would benefit.

I'm sure NICTD would schedule the freight trains to run during off peak hours to keep traffic tie up to a minimum.
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Southsider2k12
post Mar 9 2015, 01:43 PM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 9 2015, 01:17 PM) *

Another thing you didn't mention was the NICTD realignment.

I don't understand Mr. Parry and the Libertarian candidate stating that they want to put people to work but are opposed to the plan as NICTD will increase freight train traffic as the are wanting to haul steel coils to and from the Mills to the ArcelorMittal I/N Kote/I/N Tek processing plant in New Carlisile so the people there will have the raw material go to work.

I bet there are a lot of Michigan City residents that are employed at IN Kote/IN Tek that this would benefit.

I'm sure NICTD would schedule the freight trains to run during off peak hours to keep traffic tie up to a minimum.


When you run for Mayor you have two choices as to how to run.

#1, you can be opposed to everything the other candidate stands for.
#2, you can run on the premise that your ideas are better than the other candidates.

So far I am seeing a lot of #1 from Parry.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 11 2015, 08:25 AM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 9 2015, 01:57 AM) *

I hope they do tear that down, that has been an eyesore for a long while and that is a prime location with all the traffic for the casino. I agree that side of town does need a grocery store. Karwick is way too expensive for the economic climate of the Eastside.

Once Super Save went bankrupt mayor Meer as well as 5th ward councilmen Mr. Duane Parry should have both the chamber of commerce and economic development director Mr. Hulse to bring in a sustainable supermarket chain that specializes in serving the needs of lower middle income families and keeps their prices in line with their competitors. It never happened because it is very clear that Mayor Meer and Mr. Parry do not work well together.

Martin's supermarket operates a store on Western Ave. by Washington High School area that services the predominately mixed Hispanic and black residents of the Westside of South Bend would be a ideal for the Boulevard.

The residents of the Eastside, the most densely populated area of the city should not be forced to traverse halfway across the city to buy groceries especially in the winter time.

Everybody has to eat.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 12 2015, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 11 2015, 09:25 AM) *

Once Super Save went bankrupt mayor Meer as well as 5th ward councilmen Mr. Duane Parry should have both the chamber of commerce and economic development director Mr. Hulse to bring in a sustainable supermarket chain that specializes in serving the needs of lower middle income families and keeps their prices in line with their competitors. It never happened because it is very clear that Mayor Meer and Mr. Parry do not work well together.

Martin's supermarket operates a store on Western Ave. by Washington High School area that services the predominately mixed Hispanic and black residents of the Westside of South Bend would be a ideal for the Boulevard.

The residents of the Eastside, the most densely populated area of the city should not be forced to traverse halfway across the city to buy groceries especially in the winter time.

Everybody has to eat.



This is an epidemic in Chicago and I'd imagine many other major cities throughout the country including New Orleans. Minorities not having access to fresh meats and produce. Chicago stores are rife with junk food and alcohol on the south and west sides wile Jewel, Whole Foods and others are abundant in downtown and on the north-side. Many families, including elderly and disabled's have to take at least 10 mile bus trips to buy groceries at stores they cannot afford just to find food with nutritional value. Chicago is anti-Wal-Mart due to being non-union although I believe a couple have finally been built now in south-side locations. My aunt lived on 95th and Normal and it was a 18 mile round trip journey on trains and buses to find decent food. All that for a single 73 year old woman can be daunting and exhausting not to mention dangerous. She was limited on what she could carry as well having to use public transport. An alpha global city with a GDP greater than 2/3rds of the countries in the world should be able to provide access to fresh food for its residents.

Eastgate Plaza with the old K&M should be razed. Michigan Blvd. has been neglected for decades now. The stores are dilapidated and abandoned. I don't know why with the city being so conscious as to what casino visitors see during the trek to and fro are not at least renovating the facades of some of these places and attracting new business. They are giving grants for downtown and Dunes Plaza though the biggest white elephant is Michigan. Maybe, (and I hope) the city building the new Police Department on Michigan will lower crime and appeal to developers. After investing millions in the beautification process it would only make sense to follow through and now work on the homes and businesses. Similar to the west side rehabilitation projects.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 12 2015, 11:49 AM
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QUOTE(Southsider2k12 @ Mar 9 2015, 12:42 PM) *

[/b]

With the local demographics, it would be a really tough sell when compared to the communities around us. You need a pretty white collar, college educated community to not only to support that type of development, but also to staff it. Too many of our college grads are lone gone to greener fields in other towns.


Well I would think a new campus for a major university would attract people from the entire region. A college like Indiana, Purdue or Ball State etc. etc. have the resources to fully staff a new institution through recruitment. The reputation alone would attract students and faculty. Imagine news of a "Northern Ball State" coming to Michigan City. That would resonate through the entire Midwest. PNC is flourishing, something on an even bigger scale I believe would succeed in a city environment. One thing that lacks with every other school in the area other than Valpo is a Division 1 athletics program. That would definitely increase viability. I think an 8-10 thousand student capacity sized school would offer competition to attract students and faculty headed to Purdue/I.U./Valpo or out of state.

There are plenty Michigan City residents who could now attend school at home. For instance I know many people who attend Michigan City Ivy Tech and their number one complaint is that they have to travel to South Bend or Valpo for most of the classes that they take since the city campus offers so little. Nursing is the only program I see people actually graduating from and going on to find high wage jobs. My wife had to attend Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor for Dental Hygienist. There are just so few options in Michigan City. It would take years and a few phases but feasible. We have the land across from the airport which could house it or along 94, 400.

Having said all that, I know there is no way anything like this ever happens. I don't even foresee a Valpo sized Ivy Tech ever being built in Michigan City. They won't even build a new High School after combining both and supposedly being on sinking land.

Daniel Burnham said, "Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." The Michigan City NIMBY's need to heed this advice.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 12 2015, 12:04 PM
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Take I-94 to Chicago. Right off the expressway in mid town section of Gary at 25th and Grant St. Country Fresh Market location would be another prime example.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 12 2015, 12:12 PM
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I don't know whether it's true or not but I have heard from multiple people that they are supposed to be building a Target/Plaza behind Kohl's and tearing down Rodini's to access it from Franklin. I would think the plaza with the Cigarette Outlet and Dollar Store next to Rodini's would also have to come down to even be able to view it from vehicles traveling down Franklin. I couldn't imagine developers spending millions on a new location without prime visibility.
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Southsider2k12
post Mar 12 2015, 01:40 PM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 12 2015, 12:49 PM) *

Well I would think a new campus for a major university would attract people from the entire region. A college like Indiana, Purdue or Ball State etc. etc. have the resources to fully staff a new institution through recruitment. The reputation alone would attract students and faculty. Imagine news of a "Northern Ball State" coming to Michigan City. That would resonate through the entire Midwest. PNC is flourishing, something on an even bigger scale I believe would succeed in a city environment. One thing that lacks with every other school in the area other than Valpo is a Division 1 athletics program. That would definitely increase viability. I think an 8-10 thousand student capacity sized school would offer competition to attract students and faculty headed to Purdue/I.U./Valpo or out of state.

There are plenty Michigan City residents who could now attend school at home. For instance I know many people who attend Michigan City Ivy Tech and their number one complaint is that they have to travel to South Bend or Valpo for most of the classes that they take since the city campus offers so little. Nursing is the only program I see people actually graduating from and going on to find high wage jobs. My wife had to attend Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor for Dental Hygienist. There are just so few options in Michigan City. It would take years and a few phases but feasible. We have the land across from the airport which could house it or along 94, 400.

Having said all that, I know there is no way anything like this ever happens. I don't even foresee a Valpo sized Ivy Tech ever being built in Michigan City. They won't even build a new High School after combining both and supposedly being on sinking land.

Daniel Burnham said, "Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." The Michigan City NIMBY's need to heed this advice.


I would love to see it happen. I really would. Ultimately these places have to make money, or they won't survive. That is the biggest hang up. There has to be a market to support the underlying business.
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taxthedeer
post Mar 12 2015, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE(Hypnotic @ Mar 12 2015, 12:49 PM) *

Well I would think a new campus for a major university would attract people from the entire region. A college like Indiana, Purdue or Ball State etc. etc. have the resources to fully staff a new institution through recruitment. The reputation alone would attract students and faculty. Imagine news of a "Northern Ball State" coming to Michigan City. That would resonate through the entire Midwest. PNC is flourishing, something on an even bigger scale I believe would succeed in a city environment. One thing that lacks with every other school in the area other than Valpo is a Division 1 athletics program. That would definitely increase viability. I think an 8-10 thousand student capacity sized school would offer competition to attract students and faculty headed to Purdue/I.U./Valpo or out of state.

There are plenty Michigan City residents who could now attend school at home. For instance I know many people who attend Michigan City Ivy Tech and their number one complaint is that they have to travel to South Bend or Valpo for most of the classes that they take since the city campus offers so little. Nursing is the only program I see people actually graduating from and going on to find high wage jobs. My wife had to attend Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor for Dental Hygienist. There are just so few options in Michigan City. It would take years and a few phases but feasible. We have the land across from the airport which could house it or along 94, 400.

Having said all that, I know there is no way anything like this ever happens. I don't even foresee a Valpo sized Ivy Tech ever being built in Michigan City. They won't even build a new High School after combining both and supposedly being on sinking land.

Daniel Burnham said, "Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." The Michigan City NIMBY's need to heed this advice.

I remember there was once two grocery stores at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Woodland Ave.

The location that is now the Michigan City location of Brown Mackie Business College was originally Eagle Food which specialized in generic brand foods and across the street is now the state welfare office was originally Jim's Fiesta Villa Super Market and later became Al's then Box office video rental. Can't buy nothing to feed the family there either nowadays.

Here's an old newspaper ad from the 70s for Jim's Fiesta Villa Supermarket:

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Hypnotic
post Mar 13 2015, 11:05 AM
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QUOTE(Southsider2k12 @ Mar 12 2015, 02:40 PM) *

I would love to see it happen. I really would. Ultimately these places have to make money, or they won't survive. That is the biggest hang up. There has to be a market to support the underlying business.


Look at similarly sized Kalamazoo for example, (land area) home to Western Michigan with 25,000 students, and Kalamazoo Valley with 12,000, a downtown business district replete with high rises etc. For being 20 square miles Michigan City is grossly under-populated and under-developed. There are many similar sized cities with double and triple the population. With the city wanting to build luxury high/mid-rises condos, high-end hotels, upscale eateries and becoming a regional destination there is no better way to go about it than having an educated workforce with high earnings potential and opportunities at home. I don't want to oversimplify the process but I think that there is always a market for institutions of higher learning. The industry sells itself really which in turn leads to other industries attaching themselves to the opportunities which are presented by such a massive development which then sells itself to the people.

With forming a university, I am led to believe that along with it, would also come more diversified professional industries to the city and surrounding area. High paying finance/medical/advertising/manufacturing jobs would materialize from large corporations which would locate to the city knowing it is drawing from a college educated population. As it stands, what motivation would a global corporation such as Mercedes have to ever build a Michigan City plant for example? Valparaiso has significantly more and higher paying manufacturing jobs and I believe that is solely due to having a higher educated workforce and better schools.

Considering that we are calculated in the Chicago Metropolitan Population which has roughly 9.7-10 million people and with many of these major universities having a 65-80% acceptance rate. Those statistics provide a potential student population that far, far exceeds what having 10 times the amount of colleges in the area could accommodate. I don't believe Michigan City proper would have to be the catalyst for success. If the school had a reputable research facility, division 1 athletics and post graduate programs I think the institution would make money.

As it stands, Michigan City is a dead end for it's citizenry. Low paying service jobs, a relatively high crime rate and a disillusioned youth who must relocate to find success leaves them taking menial jobs with no ambitions of attending college. All this could change with a systematic overhaul of the school system which would be possible with outreach programs through the university and funding from taxes collected. They could hire better teachers and administrators and students would take a more active role in their studies and preparation for their future's knowing their is an opportunity to attend school and find living wage employment at home.
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Hypnotic
post Mar 13 2015, 11:32 AM
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QUOTE(taxthedeer @ Mar 12 2015, 08:08 PM) *

I remember there was once two grocery stores at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Woodland Ave.

The location that is now the Michigan City location of Brown Mackie Business College was originally Eagle Food which specialized in generic brand foods and across the street is now the state welfare office was originally Jim's Fiesta Villa Super Market and later became Al's then Box office video rental. Can't buy nothing to feed the family there either nowadays.

Here's an old newspaper ad from the 70s for Jim's Fiesta Villa Supermarket:

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Wow thanks, for the life of me I could not remember what was in that location before Box Office Video. I'm 35 so I was too young to see "Jim's Fiesta Villa." I can vaguely remember there being an "Al's" now that you point it out. My wife and I just went by the location the other day and couldn't recall what was there.
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