Developers Acquire SOMOS

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Local developer Richard Arnos of Republic Development and John Hart of J.C. Hart of Carmel, Ind., were successful in acquiring the 5.5-acre SOMO site in downtown Sylvania. City Council voted unanimously to accept the offer of $1.2 million for the site at the March 6 meeting and recommended a zoning change for the property.

“This is the best building area in Sylvania,” noted Mayor Craig Stough. “We began to assemble this property in 2008. We razed the existing buildings to make the site ready for development.”

City of Sylvania Economic Development Director Bill Sanford added, “I am excited about the development that will be coming to Sylvania. We look forward to working with Rick Arnos of Republic Development and John Hart of the J.C. Hart Company. This project will bring people and energy to our downtown and should encourage additional development to our community.”

The co-developers plan to construct two buildings containing 193,000 square feet for 206 upscale apartments with underground parking and elevators along with a clubhouse and exercise facility. Most of the apartments will have views of Harroun Park, Ten Mile Creek and the Ottawa River. Construction is anticipated to begin later this year.

“We are very excited to bring something very special to the community,” Hart said. “We focus on the unique and this will be a one-of-a-kind facility designed for a wide variety of demographics.”
Arnos offered, “Our target market is active adults, professionals, empty nesters and millennials who are looking to be in the downtown area. There is a creative energy in downtown Sylvania and people want to be a part of that,” he said.

“The SOMO mixed-use project will help build on the positive momentum and energy already growing in downtown Sylvania. Current businesses, restaurants and vendors will be able to draw on that energy to make the city even more vibrant and appealing to their customers and others,” Arnos pointed out.

Sylvania City Council Economic Development Chairman Mark Luetke is enthusiastic about the project. “This was an opportunity City Council didn’t anticipate when the SOMO site was put together eight years ago. We thought then that the highest and best use would be for restaurants, commercial and retail use. Now we realize the impact of those who want to live in a vibrant downtown. We are eager to ride the wave of that demographic boom of millennials and empty nesters who want to be connected to the downtown shops, walkways and bike paths. With this project we are bringing new customers to the downtown businesses rather than competition,” Luetke added.

“Sylvania City Council’s unanimous vote to support selling the SOMO property to Republic Development and J.C. Hart was a vote of confidence. Both Republic and J.C. Hart have a long history of success with these projects,” said City Council President Mary Westphal. “This multiuse project begins Phase 1 by building 206 luxury apartments that will bring new energy and people of all ages to downtown Sylvania. The downtown businesses will benefit from new customers who live, work and play right there. We also anticipate new business growth as the demand for additional consumer services grows. Phase 2 will include additional retail and office space. The council members were careful to ensure that public access and public use of the River Trail remains in place. It is an exciting time for the city of Sylvania as we see new growth and opportunity for the future.”

The Sylvania River Trail is one of the features of the site. The trail runs from Main Street to Harroun Road with a connection to Monroe Street along the North Branch of the Ten Mile Creek. Phase II of the River Trail will extend the walkway from Harroun Road along the ProMedica Flower Hospital campus under U.S. 23 to Monroe Street near the new Burger King restaurant.

In addition to the apartment buildings, public use components are planned. Space for a bike rack, covered gazebo and seating with a refreshment area for trail users will be completed adjacent to the North Branch of Ten Mile Creek. The southwestern area will be available as a staging area for food trucks and other uses for city of Sylvania-sponsored events.

Republic Development LLC, based in Sylvania Township, is a private, multi-state real estate company specializing in the development of premier mixed-use properties, including residential and commercial components. Since 1999, Republic’s portfolio has grown to include multifamily apartments, retail, office, mixed-use, light industrial and the development of more than 10,000 residential lots.

The J.C. Hart Company has been developing, building and managing multi-family residential communities since 1976. J.C. Hart has built a total of 7,763 apartment units and its current portfolio is 5,073 apartment units located in 25 Indiana communities.