SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A building that once housed the College Football Hall of Fame is back on the market after a purchase agreement between the city of South Bend and Ivy Tech Community College expired.
Ivy Tech had proposed using the 52,000 square feet for its culinary arts program under a $6 million proposal that did not include the building's estimated $2.68 million value.
But Scott Ford, executive director of the city's economic development office, told the South Bend Tribune that the parties couldn't reach a deal "that made sense for taxpayers" for the property, which the city spent about $18 million to have constructed.
The downtown building has been largely vacant since the museum closed in 2012 when the Hall of Fame moved to Atlanta after 17 years in South Bend. The city owes about $4.4 million on the property, with the last bond payment due in 2018. The building's maintenance costs run about $100,000 per year.
Ivy Tech had entered into a purchase agreement with South Bend in April and extended it in October to allow the city to entertain other offers. That extension had granted Ivy Tech the right of first refusal.
Ford said the "somewhat speculative" nature of Ivy Tech's proposed CAFE Center made it difficult to develop a reliable business model for the project. He said outside investors continue to show interest in the property.
Ivy Tech South Bend Chancellor Thomas Coley said the school remains committed to the CAFE Center idea, but may have to scale back the project's scope.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has said the city needs to be creative in finding a new use for the building that will boost the downtown area.