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As residential projects at 'Centennial Centre' move forward, Hobart pushing for commercial, retail development

June 2, 2015

Source: FOX11 Online

HOBART – As workers hammer away on the first of a planned four-building apartment complex, Steve Atkins is watching closely.

He’s one of the people behind the development. He's also building it.

“Our agreement with Hobart is we promised a minimum of $18 million in development, with this project alone.”

I chatted with Atkins as he took a break from overseeing the Hobart Crossing project, with unit rents ranging from $800-$1500 per month, once complete.

“We hope to get the first tenants in August 15th,” said Atkins.

It's just one visible part of the master plan for the 603 acres of land, known as Centennial Centre at Hobart. Over the past several years, the village has tried to develop a village center, or downtown lifestyle, located to the south of Highway 29/32.

It's estimated 1,000 people live within its boundaries and more are expected; 274 more apartments are slated for construction in the coming years, including Atkins' first building of 32.

The Village of Hobart says it's at the cusp of a residential development boom. However it now needs businesses to help fill residents' needs. Village leaders say growth is not a matter of if, but when.

“The majority of development that has occurred out here has been residential development,” said Rich Heidel, the Hobart Village President, “We feel we are right at the cusp of commercial development.”

That is why the village is pushing to recruit businesses for the site. “We’re ready to take that on, as we speak, right now."

Heidel says the proof is evident, and based on projections from the state, the village population will grow by 77-percent by 2040; the second-fastest growing municipality in the state.

“This is more of a marathon, than a sprint,” Heidel said of Centennial Centre, “and we are in it for the long haul, and what we’d like to see here, we know will not materialize – could never materialize – within the next two years.”

With a goal of creating a pedestrian-friendly, downtown like area, the project's finish date is years away. “What we have going up right now is a 34-unit building," said Atkins, “which will be the first of four buildings. The succeeding buildings will each have 49 to 50 units.”

But by Atkins estimation, his work is far from being done.

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