(La Porte, IN) - There's seemingly no end to what could be viewed as a housing boom in La Porte, as, on Monday night, the city council approved an agreement with a developer to extend water and sewer lines to a more than 30-acre wooded parcel of land where the construction of over 100 homes is planned.
The site, annexed into the city last year, is on Park Street near the Thomas Rose Industrial Park on the city’s northeast side.
New housing was a high priority for Mayor Tom Dermody during his first term in office, and that hasn’t changed for his next four years beginning January 1st.
One of his strategies for growth in the city involves updating a housing stock built primarily before 1940 with new homes at all price levels. Just 20 percent of existing homes were constructed since 1980.
“We got a lot more work to do but housing, housing, housing is here,” he said.
The developer, Park Street Community, LLC, plans to build 118 town homes and 19 more traditional single-family dwellings, with a current estimated price range going from $340,000 to $405,000 apiece.
La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership Executive Director Bert Cook said that close to a dozen homes will likely go up at a time over a period of years beginning in 2024, with the construction of more homes to probably begin once the completed ones are sold.
Cook said the current demand from people wanting to live in La Porte has probably existed for several decades, However, he explained, lack of housing options caused by very little construction of new residences drove many of those would-be residents to other communities with a greater selection of newer dwellings. Some of the people who wanted to live here but went elsewhere have been with new companies that came to La Porte.
“We have to continue to find ways of bringing new product to the market. This project does exactly that,” he said.
Since 2020, the new housing completed includes The Banks, consisting of 200 resort-type apartments near Clear Lake and several townhomes priced at more than $700,000 apiece beside Fish Trap Lake. Roughly 40 affordable units inside the once-condemned Monroe Street Apartments building downtown have been restored and modernized. Low to mid-priced homes are currently going up at the former Tibma Bakery site on Woodward Street and on 18th Street across from Kesling Middle School. In addition, more new housing continues to be added to the existing Whispering Pines subdivision along Indiana 4 on the city’s southeast side.
Right now, the city is soliciting bids from developers to construct more than 100 upscale homes along the municipally owned Beechwood Golf Course starting next year.
The results of a study released nearly a year ago recommended that the city add more than 900 homes for ownership and over 750 rental units over the next few years, also pointing to a need to renovate some of the existing residential structures.
Cook noted that a lot of work remains, but the newly approved development noticeably moves the needle toward achieving the new housing goal.
“This is easily one of the largest residential developments that has occurred in La Porte in probably the last 40 years, probably longer than that,” he said.
The developer is the same one whose request for a zoning change to construct homes on 166 acres near Rolling Prairie was turned down last year by the La Porte County Commissioners, who were concerned over density and the site’s close proximity to farmland along with urban sprawl.
Cook said the city quickly approached the rejected developer about building homes in the city.
John Kavchak of Park Street Communities, LLC said he looks forward to helping the city fill the wide gap between housing supply and demand.
“La Porte continues to implement strong, pro-growth policies. We seek to support La Porte’s growth by providing housing at the intersection of quality and price point,” he said.