Residents of Whiting or those interested in relocating to Whiting will soon have more options to consider for housing, as the construction of the new Illiana Building is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2019. The new five-story commercial and apartment building will be the answer for many looking to put down roots in Whiting, all while boosting the economy and improving Whiting’s sustainability.
The building was named to honor the historic Illiana Hotel that once stood at the site. Opening in 1928, the Illiana Hotel has become a highlight in the history of Whiting. Though the hotel has remained vacant for decades, the namesake will live on in the new construction. The City of Whiting partnered with Holladay Properties to begin planning the Illiana Building.
“We were forced to tear down the former Illiana Hotel due to failing conditions, so the land became available for development,” Joe Stahura, Mayor of the City of Whiting, said. “The folks at Holladay presented a plan that is consistent with our master plan, and we have a great deal of respect for their team, so the deal was an easy one.”
The proposed building at 1200 119th Street will include over 4,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space, 32 apartment units featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, nine partially-enclosed parking spaces, and 16 surface parking spaces. Additional parking for Illiana residents and visitors will be provided by on-street parking and a nearby municipal parking lot.
“We really don’t have much available space for single-family housing, so we need to build upwards,” Bruce Stolman of Economic and Community Development for the City of Whiting, said. “We truly need to create a little more local density to arrive at population numbers that provide daily ongoing support to our business community. The new construction will increase our tax base and help diversify it. These new residents, along with the tax revenue, will increase our city’s economies of scale to further ensure the sustainability of maintaining our unique public amenities.”
The future residents of the Illiana Building will have a broad range of nearby businesses and local attractions within minutes of their home.
“The Illiana Building offers a great urban-living experience,” AJ Monroe, Vice President of Planning and Development at Holladay Properties, said. “Residents of the Illiana will have access to all that Whiting offers including Whiting Lakefront (Lake Michigan), the 119th Street Business District, Oil City Stadium, and the Mascot Hall of Fame.”
Opening its doors before the end of 2018, the Mascot Hall of Fame (MHOF) offers 25,000 square feet of family fun. This multi-million-dollar facility will feature a variety of activities, exhibits, and events for the community to enjoy. For the future residents of the Illiana Building, the MHOF, honoring mascots who have made a positive contribution to their community, will be just five minutes away.
“The MHOF is part of a specific strategy to attract visitors to our community to support the business district,” Mayor Stahura said. “The more people on the streets, the more likely our businesses will survive and thrive. The new Illiana project will include around 4,000 square feet of new commercial property, so they should also benefit from the increased traffic.”
The City of Whiting believes the new building will attract and provide housing to new residents, particularly to young couples and those looking to downsize to maintenance-free living.
“Whiting’s housing inventory consists primarily of older single-family homes, so there is a genuine need for more higher-quality rental units to attract millennials and young professionals to the community,” Mayor Stahura said.
In addition to Monroe, Mike Micka, Partner and VP of Development, and Jessica Vargas, Project Architect, are leading Holladay Properties development efforts. To make the Illiana Building a successful addition to the City of Whiting, Holladay Properties has formed additional partnerships with Curran Architecture, SEH of Indiana, Holladay Construction Group, and the City of Whiting.
“This is the first project that Whiting is working on with Holladay,” Mayor Stahura said. “We have a high level of respect for their team and hope the project will lead to additional projects in the future.”
Additionally, Holladay Properties is currently working with Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) on a master lease of 12 residential units.
“At Calumet College, we will continue to be a primarily commuter school serving the local region. However, we have some students that are local but still want a residential college experience,” Dr. Amy McCormack, President of Calumet College of St Joseph, said. “We also have students that come from other states and other countries that need a residential option.”
The partnership between Holladay Properties and Calumet College of St. Joseph will have a cyclical effect on improving the community of Whiting. The college students that will reside in the Illiana Building will not only continue the economic boost generated by the new property but could eventually add to the giving nature of the City of Whiting.
“Calumet College of St. Joseph is a comprehensive university that wants to serve the region and be an integral part of the community,” McCormack said. “We know that colleges help to increase the market value of homes in the area, but more importantly, we know our students can serve the area as volunteers, patrons at our local shops and restaurants, and future employees at our regional businesses. Having our students living in the Whiting-Robertsdale area will possibly keep them in the area to work, play, and raise a family someday.”
Residents, business owners, or those looking to move to Whiting will certainly welcome the Illiana Building. Those anxious to see the first pieces of the new Illiana Building take form need not wait long.
“Our architects are completing drawings currently,” Monroe said. “Our intention is to begin construction in the first quarter of 2019. We expect to open in late 2019.”
With all eyes to the future, Holladay Properties, the City of Whiting, and the residents of the community eagerly wait for the lot where the Illiana Hotel once stood to take shape into something new.
“The City of Whiting under Mayor Stahura's leadership has been great to work with,” Monroe said. “They have been tremendous throughout.”
For more information on Holladay Properties, please visit https://www.holladayproperties.com/.