Cubs success helps bring business boom to Renaissance District
SOUTH BEND, Ind. –
The South Bend Cubs growing attendance is bringing more than a boost to the team; it’s also bringing a boost in business for the city.
The Renaissance District downtown is seeing new life. A few major projects have brought change just within the last year.
“It’s been a pretty transformational year,” said Dan Buckenmeyer, the director of business development for South Bend.
He mentioned the transformation to the old Hibberd building, the new Ivy at Berlin apartments and the Studebaker Building as some of the major projects as the South Bend Cubs open their season.
“A lot of the surrounding businesses have stepped up and really invested in their own buildings,” said Buckenmeyer.
That’s benefitting fans inside Four Winds Field.
“The windows and the building it looks terrific,” said South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin about the new façade on the Studebaker Building. “It has obviously a very important presence in part of our view, our vista in sitting in our baseball bowl.”
It’s also benefitting the city as a whole.
“Having the Cubs here has kind of transformed us and so on I mean there’s a lot more excitement downtown,” said Buckenmeyer. “That excitement has really bled out into the area.”
Buckenmeyer says just in the area right around Four Winds Field there has been around $30 million in investments in the last few years. He says he doesn’t anticipate that slowing down.
“Those places that you see now that are just empty parking lots or empty buildings, we’re really optimistic about those filling in with new businesses, new residents and so on,” said Buckenmeyer.
“I think other businesses are moving to the area and feel the excitement in this part of South Bend,” said Berlin.
Buckenmeyer agrees, saying he has seen more businesses showing interest to the area around the field.
“The ball field is really close to downtown and I think you’re going to see a lot of infill between the two,” said Buckenmeyer.
There are still some empty parking lots and buildings. The old VA building is one that has yet to be repurposed.
“We’re working with Cressy,” said Buckenmeyer. “They have a listing and are talking with a lot of folks. There have been some exciting ideas coming through; we’re just going to see which one sticks.”
He couldn’t expand on what those ideas were, but said it will be something that is “going to be great for South Bend.”
As empty buildings, parking lots and apartment buildings fill up, Buckenmeyer says the new life will bring a major boost to the area.
“It’s real exciting,” he said. “Getting about 120 plus apartments in The Ivy and another almost 20 in the Hibberd, activating those with that many people in this part of town is just going to be transformational.”
The president of the South Bend Cubs says he completely agrees, saying filling the Ivy at Berlin apartments will also bring a boost to the team, the field and the game day experience.