Office and Condo Development in Former Barko Space Requires Plan Approval | Local news

A mix of commercial and residential space that has been in the works for a few years is now seeking the necessary approval before construction can begin.

A development plan for mixed-use development in the downtown area that housed the old Barko building received a favorable recommendation from the city committee on Wednesday. He is now heading to the city planning committee for a vote on April 13.

Local Fortune Companies Inc. plans to develop the now vacant land at 114-118 W. Walnut St. into three commercial spaces and three condos.

According to documents presented at Wednesday’s meeting and project details initially made public in late 2019, Fortune plans to construct three two-story buildings in the space, each of which will include approximately 1,200 square feet of first-floor office space and 2 100 square meters. – condos on foot on the second floor.

The condos will include garages, while the development will include parking spaces along Buckeye Street, north of the incoming buildings. The buildings will be constructed in such a way that they look like they were built 100 years ago so that they blend in with the overall aesthetic of other downtown buildings.

Scott Pitcher, who heads Fortune Companies, told the Tribune that construction is expected to begin this year if government approvals are received and is expected to be completed around the same time next year.

The property has been at the center of redevelopment plans for several years.

Property records show that in 2003 the building, which was constructed in 1872, passed from James and Priscilla Barko to James Vogel.

News then broke in the summer of 2014 that the building had again received a new owner, going to Home B. Center Inc., controlled by developer Jeff Broughton.

At the time, the structure was to be repaired with the help of a $ 240,000 forgivable loan provided by the city to make the site structurally safe and compliant with city and state regulations.

The building suffered extensive damage at the time after its rear wall collapsed in June 2014, after which structural engineers hired by Vogel worked to assess the structure.

Initially, the city believed the building had suffered too much damage from moisture infiltration into its bricks and mortar. Notably, in 2003 the roof partially collapsed before Vogel bought it and made efforts to make repairs.

Then, following the collapse at the rear of the building in 2014, the city received emergency demolition quotes but ultimately decided that it was more expensive to demolish the building than to attempt to demolish it. help to be redeveloped.

“The problem was that it was more expensive to demolish it completely,” Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said in an interview at the time. “The problem was, the owner had no resources to do the repairs. We basically had a dangerous structure with an owner who couldn’t afford the demo. “

Soon after, Vogel ceded title to the three-story building to Broughton.

In an October 2015 interview, Broughton told the Tribune that the redevelopment of the building was hampered by financial difficulties, especially privileges, which he claimed to be beyond his control.

In April 2016, the structure was unexpectedly turned into a rubble heap during an emergency demolition after the third story collapsed late at night, leaving much of the north wall exposed from top to bottom.

The dramatic episode included fire officials saying they feared the structure, located next to an often-crossed lane, could collapse at any time.

Crews glued the alleyway behind the building and began installing wooden braces along the wall to keep them from tilting and potentially falling into the street or neighboring buildings – and demolition took place.

As the building began to collapse, hopes that one of the city’s oldest structures could be renovated, repaired and reused for new downtown development also collapsed.

Broughton said the building’s title was finally released from privileges days earlier. But, much to her disappointment, the structure began to collapse, resulting in the necessary demolition.

Property records show that a waiver deed was filed in June 2017, transferring ownership to the town of Kokomo. Another deed of waiver was filed in November 2019, transferring ownership of the city’s property to the Kokomo Community Development Corporation, which then ceded the property to Pitcher in December 2020.


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