Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor begins process to build new town hall and community center

Back To Front Page



The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission recently released a request for qualifications (RFQ) from developers who are interested in developing the Duneland School Corporation parcel the Town purchased across Ind. 149 from the Town hall in February 2017.

The parcel--around 28 acres of DSC property and the four-acre site that contains Food Truck Square--can be developed starting in March of next year once the Town makes its last payment to schools, according to Town Attorney Clay Patton. The Commission is looking for proposals that include an updated Town hall and a Town community center, while maintaining or enhance the character of Food Truck Square.

Commission President Eric Hull said releasing the RFQ isn’t a commitment to development just yet, but it’s “the next step in the development of that property.”

Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers explained the process, saying it’s “a casting call for master developers.”

Rongers said the first step is advertising the RFQ by contacting the NWI Forum, using existing connections to developers, and advertising in industry publications. Interested developers will deliver a master development plan and a packet containing information about their employees, track record, comparable projects they’ve completed, what connections they can bring to the project, and what kind of creativity they expect to bring to the table.

Developers are expected to come into the project with private equity to fund construction and management of the property.

Once the proposals are submitted, the Commission will appoint a committee of Town officials who will review the proposals and make a recommendation. Hull clarified that the RFQ doesn’t require the Town to spend any money, nor does it obligate the Town to pursue any project. The Commission will interview the developer/developers recommended by the committee and make the final choice.

Rongers says that the master plan selected “becomes our playbook on how that site goes from being vacant to vibrant,” and the developer will work with the town to engage stakeholders, form a project schedule and implement those projects.

Rongers said whether or not any residential development is allowed on the parcel would be part of the master development agreement after a developer is selected, but the first priority is the Town community center. Town employees would also get a chance to weigh-in on what they think about the impact of different types of development. Patton also said the Town would have the option to negotiate on the projects put forth by the developer in the agreement.

The Commission voted to release the RFQ and require submission by Nov. 14. If a developer is selected, that will be announced at the December meeting.


Former Commission President Kevin Tracy announced that he is stepping down from his leadership role due to personal reasons. He will remain a member on the Commission. Hull was voted in as the new President and member Nick Loving was elected Vice-president.


Posted 9/21/2018





Search This Site:

Custom Search