By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — The next step in the transfer of ownership of the Armstrong-Landon building to First Farmers Bank & Trust was approved by the Kokomo Redevelopment Commission.
Commission members Monday accepted terms of the move from the city of Kokomo and transferred the six-story building to the not-for-profit Community Development Corp.
Lawrence McCormack, Kokomo city attorney, said the sale of the building to First Farmers Bank & Trust should take place in early November.
The bank is purchasing the building from the Community Development Corp. for $300,000, McCormack said.
McCormack said the city has been working with First Farmers, Ivy Tech Community College and another potential retail outlet for the first floor of the building.
Ivy Tech is leasing the third and fourth floors of the building for $10 per year for 15 years.
In June, the city purchased the building from Bolinger Enterprises for $395,000, which included a parking lot behind the Armstrong-Landon building and a parking lot across from Superior Street.
The building has been vacant since 2011, when the Harris Bank moved out.
Garage is a go
Redevelopment Commission members approved an agreement for the proposed four-story parking garage and apartment complex on the west side of Union Street, between Walnut and Sycamore streets.
McCormack said the parking garage will cost between $8 million and $9 million, and a private developer is investing $4 million for a 35-unit apartment complex on a fifth floor of the structure.
There will be 35 apartment units including 16 lofts, 10 two-bedroom and nine one-bedroom apartments.
McCormack said the parking garage will consist of 396 spaces, with 43 reserved for the apartments.
He said the city will finance the construction of the parking garage through a mix of cash and bonds. McCormack said the city is looking at a 5-year bond.
McCormack said the city will issue the bonds for the apartment complex, and once the developer has equity in the complex, will refinance the bonds.
“They won’t have a hard time filling the apartments,” he said. “There has already been some interest in the apartments.”
The city hopes to break ground on the parking garage in November and have it completed in the spring of 2014.
McCormack said the plan is to allow two-hour free parking on the first floor of the garage, and all-day parking on the second through fourth floors at no cost.
“We’re hoping downtown employees will use the parking garage and make on-street parking available for the public,” he said.