Jasper Cabinet Demolition
It started with a bang not a crash Friday morning the City of Jasper celebrated the start of its $30 million mixed-use development downtown.
After being vacant for over 15 years, the former Jasper Cabinet Company building is being redeveloped. A crowd of state and local officials, developers, and residents gathered to watch a piece of Jasper history go down to bring in the new River Centre multi-purpose facility. Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz kicked the demolition climbing into the excavator and with a flip of the switch began tearing down a portion of the building.
“It’s going to be tough to ever beat this, but I’ll do any of them that they ask me to do,” said Seitz reflecting on the experience.“This was a blast!”
Three other local officials that played a part in making the project possible got to also take down a piece of the building while the crowd cheered them on. That included Jasper Director of Community Development/Planning Darla Blazey, Councilman and Jasper Redevelopment Commission President John Bell, Economic Development Commission President Andy Seger and Councilwoman Nancy Eckerle.
In its place a new development titled the River Centre will feature an 80-room hotel, 75 apartment units and 36,000 square feet of office and retail space. Indianapolis-based Boxer Girl LLC Real Estate Developer Jane Hendrickson is leading the project and was excited to see the plans finally in action.
“Today starts the actual conceptual and belief that River Center is going to happen with the demolition and the vision now to start being built,” said Hendrickson. “By taking the kiln building down, the hotel will have the ability to be the first start.”
Hendrickson also noted the hotel's location being right next to the train station, home to the Spirit of Jasper Luxury Excursion Train, a passenger train that goes between Jasper and French Lick.
“I think that French Lick is so ecstatic that they can't handle it, the fact that we will have bookends for the train. A beautiful hotel here as well as French Lick for tourism to even blossom even more. And the ability for this to be the catalyst for all the other developments with the culture center and the library across the street,” said Hendrickson.
The hotel is one of many big projects for the city. Other projects include loft living spaces, a citywide fiber optic network, expanding the Parklands, a central park in the city, by 25-acres, and the building of the Cultural Center, a combination of the Jasper Arts and Public Library.
“Well we do have eight multi-million dollar projects underway. Almost all of them have a private component in it, which means we’re a great city to invest in.” said Seitz. “On the other part of that, really it adds a hospitality component with this hotel. People may not know that but we’re in the process of actually adding on to one key hotel this year constructing three new ones including this one.”
Indianapolis-based company General Hotels Corporation is partnering in the development of the hotel and in March the hotel chain that will be taking occupancy is expected to be announced.