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Old 01-20-2024, 12:52 AM
 
3 posts, read 888 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all!

I relocated from Merrillville to just north of Downtown Hobart and I have really enjoyed and grown to love the area, eventually looking to buy or invest here! Downtown Hobart has all the makings for a booming, dense retail corridor! New restaurants have been opening: Bon Vie (located at the former 54 Main Bistro) is a farm-to-table, all organic restaurant with a rotating seasonal menu, curated cocktails, and a fantastic patio with views of Lake George. Tania's (a new Puerto Rican Restaurant, with a large following) as well as Maple & Yolk; a breakfast restaurant with some unique options! This doesn't include Sip & (somewhat new) Farmhouse Coffee, Cafe 339, and many other businesses. The city has been improving the downtown for quite some time, I looked at pictures from 10+ years ago and WOW it looks so much nicer! Direct access to Lake George, as well as Festival Park are great assets to the thriving downtown!

In the future I envision most of the shops along Main Street being 3-5 story (or taller!) mixed-use, higher-end developments with the possibility of smaller (3-5 story) infill developments in the areas MANY underused parking lots. However, there are some problems I think plague the local population, as well as the town officials. It is ironic how many locals frequent the Downtown area and "love the walkability" but are SO adamantly against bringing denser housing to the area. Also, (some) private investors/landlords who own some of the storefronts Downtown have NO incentive to rent the spaces! My co-worker was trying to call one of the owners of a small, unused storefront & open a unique pastry shop, she inquired about the building and wanted a tour; the owner said "it is 4 f****ng walls what else do you need to know" WHAT?? It is like private landlords and city officials would rather have UNUSED retail spaces than a thriving, dense downtown! I am not saying we need skyscrapers out in the fields of I-65, but for the love of god Hobart isn't going to "fall apart" with high-end, taller mixed use buildings

What are your opinions on the matter? Do you think creating a much denser, urban downtown would help or hinder Hobart? And do you think the city would ever appeal current zoning regulations to make this an option?
Could you envision the same for Hobart? or do you think it is going "the way of Gary" as I hear many locals say (I don't like that saying, but that is for another time) Thank you all who listened to my rants!

Last edited by midwest_gal; 01-20-2024 at 01:03 AM..
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Old 01-24-2024, 12:03 PM
 
2,434 posts, read 3,307,238 times
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I don't actually follow the political situation in Hobart but from what I've learned from locals is that Hobart has always been a little bit of a lone wolf in NWI. It almost feels like it is Ohio or somewhere not really in Chicagoland for some reason...very "Americana" so to speak.

Totally agree that with the lake and the great bones, downtown Hobart is ripe for development. I'd rank it in the top 5 downtowns in the Region, along with Whiting, Crown Point, Michigan City, and Valparaiso. Of those five, I think it happens to have the best location...like Miller, in the heart of the region with easy accessibility to the larger region. I almost invested in Hobart a few years agfo because of the huge potential the city has to become a destination for NWI.
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