During Mayor Tom Dermody’s last State of the City speech, he shared his goal of raising the City of La Porte’s population to 30,000 people by 2030. In the past, the easiest way to grow a city was to create new jobs, but things aren’t that simple anymore. People like to raise their families in communities with all kinds of opportunities--not just work-related ones.
“The anecdote that is most commonly used is that years ago, people found a job and then they found somewhere to live accordingly. Now that dynamic is very different--people choose where they want to live, and then they find a job,” said Bert Cook executive director of La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership (LEAP).
La Porte has brought in a variety of new businesses in the past year, and has plans to bring in plenty of more new ones in the future, which shows how committed city leaders are to helping the city grow.
“La Porte is really keyed in on making sure that we're addressing all of those different areas that factor into the quality of life. That means residential--homes at different price points with rentals as well as homeownership. That means all kinds of different restaurants including franchises and independent restaurants. That means industrial development and the jobs that come along with that,” said Cook.
All kinds of businesses have already found a home in La Porte, especially in the residential sector. In 2022 Flaherty and Collins completed construction on a 194-unit high-end apartment complex. The apartment complex is almost resort-like and is perfect both for people coming out of college and for older people looking for a low-maintenance place to live. The apartments are already in high demand.
Many restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations have also come into La Porte. Several franchises were opened late last year including a brand new Aldi, 7-eleven, and Smoothie King. For people who enjoy things a bit more local, two restaurants opened up downtown.
One of the restaurants, Bon Viet, is a Vietnamese-style restaurant. It’s already been super successful--not only is the owner a popular chef in Chicago, but he was also the botanical artist for the 65th Grammy Awards. Right down the street from Bon Viet lies La Porte’s other newest addition, The Red Door. The restaurant may have opened at the end of last year but it’s already doing incredibly well. The restaurant offers all kinds of different drinks and almost everything on the menu is cooked in a wood fire oven.
Many industries have also moved into La Porte. Patrick Industries, a manufacturer of RV and boat parts, started leasing 60,000 square feet in a local spec building. American RENOLIT is also leasing 90,000 square feet of the same building. Last but not least, the construction of a new manufacturing facility was just completed for Tubecraft, a steel tubing manufacturer.
So many new businesses have already moved into the city and are thriving, but La Porte has no plans to stop growing yet. Several businesses are already on the way. A Planet Fitness is currently under construction and is expected to open in March. A Bigby Coffee is also expected to open here shortly.
Steiner Homes is planning to start construction on 24 new units along 18th Street this summer, which will be extremely important as the city continues to grow. There are also plans to build a multi-story restaurant on Pine Lake where the old Thunderbird Lanes used to be. It will serve American cuisine and will have a fun, beachy, lake vibe that will be perfect for a relaxing evening. Construction for the restaurant will start in the summer as well.
There are ultimately a lot of exciting things happening in La Porte that people aren’t going to want to miss out on. A lot of care has gone into bringing in businesses that will strengthen the community and make it an even better place to live. It’s only a matter of time before Mayor Dermody’s dream of growing the population becomes an astounding reality.
“I appreciate that the City of Laporte is putting a lot of thought and strategy into making sure that we're developing a well-rounded community that people want to live in, work in, and spend their time in,” said Cook.
For more information on the City of La Porte, visit its website here.