When Coffee Creek
Center was originally platted, not quite a quarter of a century ago, the
Lake Erie Land Company (LEL) envisioned the development as the future site
of corporate headquarters, high-tech light manufacturing, and other
large-scale users of land.
Some of that has
since come to fruition, of course: the Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute,
Urschel Laboratories Inc., the Symphony, and the Residences of Coffee Creek
all call Coffee Creek Center home.
But as Jeff Trout
noted at the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission’s meeting Thursday evening,
the market for land has changed significantly over the years. “Somebody
buying up 10 acres and developing it just isn’t happening in today’s
market,” he said. Instead, smaller lots are trending now: one- and
three-quarter- and half-acre pieces which have been fully infrastructured
and are shovel-ready.
Which is why LEL is
now looking to replat some of its larger pieces into smaller ones and then
install infrastructure on the chunks. First up: a parcel of approximately
four acres located in the 1st Addition, Phase B, west of Village Point and
immediately south of the new Chesterton Family Dental facility.
wants to cut those four acres into six separate lots, ranging in size from
0.50 acres to 0.72 acres.
potential clients come in and look at larger acreages,” LEL rep Keith Sharpe
explained to the commission. “And when we start talking about subdivision,
their eyes glaze over. Because there’s always a shovel-ready site somewhere
down the road.”
Makes sense to
Trout. “There’s a better chance you’re going to get a client putting up a
building and doing something with it on a smaller lot,” he said. “I think
the idea of chopping it up and making them more sellable is a good thing,”
preliminary hearing on the re-platt, however, had to be continued to
planners’ next meeting, July 16, after Associate Town Attorney Chuck
Parkinson drew their attention to a couple of technical issues in need of
First, there’s the
question of a land donation which LEL is required to make--under the terms
of the original 1996 planned unit development ordinance--to the Chesterton
Parks and Recreation Department. Sharpe noted that the PUD stipulates
a donation of 17 acres but that LEL is planning to increase that to 28,
because the land in question--located generally on the west side of
Dickinson Road, south of East Memory Lane--includes a natural-gas pipeline
easement and some wetlands fringing Coffee Creek.
Parkinson had two
chief points to make: LEL needs to define the exact location of that land;
and 17 acres of it must be available for active, not passive, park land,
that is, not a pipeline easement and not a wetland. In any case, the
donation must be sorted out before the commission may hold a public hearing
on the replat.
said, the four acres in question include a sliver of Lot 37 to the north,
and that sliver must be vacated before the four acres can be replatted. “It
would be premature to do the replatting ahead of the vacacting. They should
go hand in hand.” In fact, Parkinson has in mind two separate preliminary
hearings, and two separate public ones: the first on the vacation, the
second on the replatting.
return to the matter next month.