Midwest Cities Highlighted for Downtown Revivals

Recently the journal of Urban Land discussed the economic trend of redevlopment in the Midwest. South Bend  is a prime example of a growing city with economic expansion due to smart, healthy, and effetcive investment in development. Great Lakes is eager to continue this trend with new developments that will help South Bend grow and sustain as an emerging Midwest city. 

Construction Underway On Skyline Tower

Skyline Tower was announced in September 2013 as a twelve-story residential complex with 100 living spaces, and would sit atop the Ash Skyline Plaza’s parking garage.

One year later, development firm Hanning & Bean pulled out, citing expensive losses due to construction delays. Development was delayed, but talks resumed in May 2015. This past January, Great Lakes Capital signed on with the City to complete development of Skyline Tower.

What's next for Ignition Park in South Bend?

By Kevin Allen South Bend Tribune, Jun 16, 2016
Great Lakes Capital has opened two new buildings — Catalyst One and Catalyst Two — at the park. Those buildings are home to a handful of growing technology companies as well as the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory. More than 100 professionals are working in the park already, and dozens more are expected to join them over the next year.

Brad Toothaker, managing partner for Great Lakes Capital, said the South Bend-based development company hopes to add more buildings in Ignition Park as well.

Click here for the full story.

The Cost of Rent: How the apartment market in St. Joseph County is changing

by Katlin Connin, WSBT 22 Reporter

If you live in St. Joseph County, you might have noticed a lot of construction projects in the area. Developers are building more than seventeen apartment complexes and condos in South Bend and Mishawaka alone. That means around 700 units coming online by the end of the year.

"There's been a lot of interested and excitement that just hasn't been downtown," says Bill Schalliol, executive director of economic development for the county.

Mixed-use development coming soon to Mishawaka

Mishawaka's newest development has broken ground. Great Lakes Capital started phase one of its GrandView Flats and Townhomes project. The 46-acre mixed-use development will sit at Gumwood and Cleveland roads. The community will feature state-of-the-art amenities, shopping and restaurants.

Return to the city: More people moving to Downtown South Bend

The tables are turning on a 20th Century trend to live in suburbia. Nationwide, people are returning to the cities, particularly Millenials and so-called "empty-nesters." Downtown South Bend is no stranger to the influx: 127 new apartments, town homes, and condos have come online over the past seven years.

‚Äč "Demand is beyond what supply is in downtown right now," said Brad Toothaker, CEO of Bradley Company. 
Globe Street. com

Small Cities' Retail Coming Back

SOUTH BEND, IN—The economic crash left a multitude of retail shopping centers throughout the Midwest either shuttered or wallowing in bankruptcy proceedings. But today, firms like Great Lakes Capital are moving in to buy up these properties and put some life back into them. The South Bend, IN-based firm....

Facelift for Main Street Row in South Bend

By Erin Blasko South Bend Tribune  Nov 28, 2016

SOUTH BEND — A downtown building that dates to the Industrial Age is getting a face-lift — its third in the past 133 years. Crews recently began removing the concrete plaster facade at Main Street Row, an office/retail building at Main Street and Colfax Avenue, as part of a $400,000 facade renovation. The work is part of an effort to “reintroduce (the) building to downtown South Bend,” said Kristen Sawdon, director of asset management at Great Lakes Capital, which owns the three-story building.

Centier Bank will be anchor tenant in JMS Building

SOUTH BEND — Centier Bank will be the anchor tenant in the renovated JMS Building when the historic downtown property reopens later this year.

South Bend-based Great Lakes Capital is spending $7.6 million on a full rehabilitation of the eight-story JMS Building, which was billed as South Bend's first "modern" office building when it opened more than 100 years ago.

New downtown South Bend apartments filling up, building fast

BY ERIN BLASKO, South Bend Tribune
Two new apartment projects are beginning to test the market for upscale housing in the heart of the city, with promising early results. Work is nearly complete on The LaSalle, a 67-unit apartment project in the former LaSalle Hotel, and Studebaker Lofts, a 52-unit project in the former JMS Building.

ND grad says finding right job fit is the key

By Jim Meenan South Bend Tribune Oct 30, 2014
Jeff Smoke’s résumé included some impressive and unique information when he returned home a year ago.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a kayaker in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Smoke, 36, had worked as a derivatives trader for Jones Trading in Chicago the previous five years.

New South Bend road opens for business development

By Caleigh Bourgeois, ABC 57 News

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A new road opened in South Bend Wednesday, and city leaders say it’s paving the way for job growth. Chet Waggoner Court runs perpendicular to Dylan Drive off Adams Road. Dylan Drive hosts industrial companies, and the city hopes Chet Waggoner Court will do the same.

“Having this new road means having new infrastructure, new possibilities for the land here,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg said at the ribbon cutting Wednesday.

Landmark JMS Building undergoes renovation in South Bend

By Margaret Fosmoe South Bend Tribune  Jul 20, 201
SOUTH BEND — Work is well underway in the JMS Building, a 1910 office building in downtown South Bend that is being converted into 46 market-rate apartments and ground-floor retail space.

The work is expected to be completed in November, with the first residents moving in in December, said Kristen Sawdon, director of asset management for Great Lakes Capital, the firm that owns the building.

AM General Details New Facility

South Bend-based AM General will soon move its service parts and logistics operations into a new 210,000 square-foot facility. The company has signed a 10-year lease with Great Lakes Capital and plans to move into the South Bend facility in the fourth quarter.
GLC and the city of South Bend partnered on the development of the spec building, which is located just off of Interstate 90 in South Bend. GLC says the deal with AM General was signed before construction on the building was complete.

AM General Moving Some Operations to South Bend

SOUTH BEND (August 6th, 2016) — In an attempt to cut costs, AM General plans to relocate its aftermarket operations, as well as 123 jobs and $9.3 million in payroll, from Mishawaka to South Bend. The company will lease the $6.5 million building, at 5448 Dylan Drive, from Great Lakes Capital, which built it as a spec building in partnership with the city.....

Office market in downtown South Bend is on the rise

Great Lakes Capital's leaders made a strong statement about their faith in the downtown office market three years ago.

The private-equity and development company bought the Citizens Bank & Trust Building in early 2012 with plans to completely renovate the six-story, century-old structure. The project cost more than $6 million.

Brad Toothaker, a principal with Great Lakes and Bradley Co., a commercial real estate firm, said one of the goals with the Citizens Bank project was to prove there is an appetite for quality office space downtown. The building is also a headquarters for both Great Lakes and Bradley Co.


The Department of Community Investment will present the final development agreement on Thursday for the construction of a multi-tenant office building at Ignition Park. The agreement comes after an October 2013 recommendation to the Redevelopment Commission to work with Great Lakes Capital on the project, which will be part of a high-tech campus that could encompass up to 25 acres.

“It’s a great time to invest in South Bend’s future,” says Brad Toothaker, managing partner of Great Lakes Capital. “This project will enable South Bend businesses to expand their reach in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and research.”

Market Fair Retail Center & Marathon Center

Oshkosh & Appleton, WI - GLC acquired an equity stake in two properties in Appleton and Oshkosh Wisconsin today: a 64,290 SF 89% leased office building and an 89,614 SF (94% occupied Aug 2015) value add retail center with an intensive build-out schedule for several national credit tenants.

Great Lakes Capital Completes Acquisition of 11 properties in the Silvercreek Retail Portfolio

South Bend, IN (May 5th, 2014) – Great Lakes Capital announced today that it has completed the acquisition of 11 properties in the Silvercreek Retail Portfolio.

The acquisition of 11 retail shopping centers in northern Indiana range from Greencastle to Angola, and were sold through a special servicer. The properties total approximately 150,000 square feet, and were purchased by Great Lakes Capital through their Credit Opportunity Fund I. Great Lakes Capital will implement a comprehensive strategy to enhance the properties, and bring them back to their full operating potential. The recent acquisition further strengthens Great Lakes Capital's Midwest retail presence.

Jeff Smoke, Director of Development for Great Lakes Capital, said:
“We were able to acquire these assets at a significant discount to replacement cost through a complex bankruptcy transaction process. The properties are a strategic fit for our Credit Opportunity Fund I.  They will allow us to significantly expand our retail footprint with exceptional property locations that are not threatened by e-commerce.”

Ignition Park Ground Breaking for Catalyst One

South Bend, Ind. - City leaders gathered to break ground on two multi-tenant office buildings at South Bend’s newest innovation community, Ignition Park, set to house the nation’s foremost research facility for jet engine technology.

The site is the city-owned land on the grounds of the former Studebaker plant, which offers the potential of more than 3 million square feet of space.

“This is where a lot of jobs powered South Bend’s old economy,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “We're going to have a lot of jobs here in South Bend's new economy thanks to this kind of innovation.”

Great Lakes Capital Development LLC is constructing the buildings. One of the tenants will be the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility. That's a lab that will focus on research and testing when it comes to the massive gas turbine engines used by commercial and military aircraft, power plants and the oil and gas industry.

WNDU Headline

Notre Dame Announces turbine engine component research and testing facility

Notre Dame collaborating with five partners to build nation’s top turbine engine component research and testing facility
The University of Notre Dame and five public and private partners announced Thursday (June 26) a $36 million project that will be the nation’s foremost research and test facility for advancing the technology used in the massive gas turbine engines used by commercial and military aircraft, power plants and the oil and gas industry.
Construction in South Bend’s Ignition Park on a 43,000-square-foot building – of which 25,000 square feet will be for the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility – will begin this summer and be completed by March. The facility will be fully operational in July 2016...

Citizens Bank & Trust Building Adds New Tenant Vennli Software

South Bend, IN (May 13, 2014) - Great Lakes Capital today announced Indiana-based software company Vennli, will become the newest addition to the historic Citizens Bank & Trust Building. 

The privately held Vennli, whose proprietary cloud-based software serves as a platform for creating and executing growth strategy, fills one of only two remaining vacancies.

Vennli is the most recent startup company that has strategically chosen to call South Bend home.  Gary Gigot, a Seattle-based investor and Notre Dame adviser, co-founded Vennli last year with Joe Urbany, a professor in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame. Vennli’s unique software has a built-in electronic survey tool that compiles information about the factors customers weigh when deciding to purchase a product or service.

Great Lakes Capital Completes Acquisition of 20 Grand Rapids Area Properties Through a National Bank Note Sale

South Bend, IN (May 8th, 2015) – Great Lakes Capital announced today that it has recently completed the acquisition of a 20 property portfolio located in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a note sale transaction.

The acquisition of 20 assets, which are primarily comprised of retail properties, a storage facility and vacant developable parcels, are located throughout Grand Rapids, Michigan and were purchased through a note sale.

GLC Breaks Ground on GrandView Flats and Townhomes

First Phase of Transformational Gumwood Road Development

South Bend, IN (September 2nd, 2015) – Great Lakes Capital (GLC) has broken ground on GrandView Flats & Townhomes, the first phase of a new town center development bringing urban conveniences to a suburban setting. 
Grandview will offer a wide variety of floor plans ranging from loft style apartments to townhomes.  This new 203-Unit Apartment property will feature modern amenities including a resident entertainment area with pool, business center with WiFi, a café, and a state-of-the-art fitness center and core workout studio.  For the areas cycling enthusiasts, GrandView also features an indoor bike garage.  All of this is within walking distance of shopping, dining, entertainment and markets.
Most notably, GrandView Flats & Townhomes is Phase 1 of a much larger GrandView development that will include office, medical, retail and restaurant space.  It extends the town center concept GLC was successful with at Residences at Toscana Park.
Ryan Rans, managing partner of Great Lakes Capital, says, “GrandView is positioned in Northern Indiana’s most premier retail trade area with unparalleled pedestrian access.  GrandView Flats & Townhomes, as our first phase, tailors itself to the unmet demand for high-quality.”    
The first residences will be available by late spring of 2016.  GrandView Flats & Townhomes are now leasing with details available at

Credit Opportunity Fund Note Acquisition

Great Lakes Capital acquired a first mortgage on Bayside Marketplace in Ashwabenon, Wisconsin—adjacent to Green Bay.  The note was purchased through their Credit Opportunity Fund I, which makes investments in distressed assets throughout the capital structure.  

Ruth's Chris will be Sizzling Steaks in Skyline Tower

Fort Wayne, IN (February 12th, 2016) - Great Lakes Capital is proud to announce Ruth's Chris Steak House as their first floor anchor tenant in Fort Wayne's new Skyline Tower.  The luxury steakhouse will add Fort Wayne to a very small, distinguised list of cities that enjoy their prime steak nationwide.