Apartment high-rise, hotel planned on same corner in Jeffersonville

Apartment high-rise, hotel planned on same corner in Jeffersonville
Published: Sep. 30, 2015 at 8:18 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 14, 2015 at 10:43 PM EST
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The former Rose Hill Elementary School (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
The former Rose Hill Elementary School (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Two projects worth $45 million will transform a corner in downtown Jeffersonville with places for people to lay their heads.

It marks a shift in the plans for a transformation in downtown Jeff.

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The Big Four Bridge has helped bring the restaurants and retail, now the mayor says it's time to give people places to live and stay: a $15 million hotel and $30 million high-end apartment high-rise.

Lynn Rhodea can pinpoint her customers by the pins they've left behind. "Just asked people to stick a pin in the map where they're from," said the owner of Pearl Street Treats, a frozen yogurt shop that's been open since April 2014. In the year-and-a-half the shop has been open, Rhodea has exceeded expectations thanks to traffic from the Big Four Bridge. "It's just a prime spot," she said.

It's about to get even better. Just across Big Four Station from Pearl Street Treats, developers have big plans for the old Rose Hill Elementary: a three-story, 93-room Towneplace Suites from Marriott.

"We knew there was a need down there," said Alan Muncy, President and CEO of ARC Companies. "There's not a lot of rooms in the Jeffersonville downtown area."

Muncy says his company has worked hard to make sure it fits into the neighborhood. "If you can envision a lot of the older buildings in downtown Jeffersonville along Spring Street that really fit the community, imagine taking all of those facades and pushing them together," he said of the design.

That neighborhood is growing.

"You'll see high-end apartment living with first floor retail," Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said.

The $30 million apartment project should break ground in a couple of months on the site of the former American Legion and will include 150 public parking spaces, Moore added. "We're ensuring parking for the downtown area. We're creating a heck of a lot of new revenue for downtown and for the entire city."

Moore said the development is all the more exciting, considering what was true in the neighborhood just a few years ago. "This was probably one of the most blighted areas in the city a couple of years ago. [The former Rose Hill Elementary] was sleeping rooms for men. The neighbors were up in arms because there were a lot of convicted felons."

Now, the mayor says, the area is looking up, which means Lynn Rhodea may have to make more room in her shop. "We may end up just lining our walls with maps," she said.

The mayor points out that development is not limited to the downtown area in Jeff. He said Veterans Parkway, long the focus of efforts to bring in business, is opening new stores every day, and the River Ridge Commerce Center will continue to expand as the East End Crossing nears completion. Moore said all of that development brings in revenue that allows for more public safety hires.

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