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VALPARAISO, IN-The Family YMCA of Valparaiso will anchor the rebuilt, two-phase, 243,350-sf Cumberland Crossing, one of the first times a fitness center will anchor a shopping area in Indiana, says Michael LaRue of LaRue Associates. He is the center’s leasing agent. The YMCA plans to build a 90,000-sf multipurpose facility within the center.

Owner Vale Park Development LLC, a unit of Urschel Development Corp., bought the property in 2005, and is demolishing the current 146,000-sf center. Construction of the YMCA is expected to begin in mid-2007, and the first phase will consist of 173,350 sf, with a tentative completion for late 2008. The center is at Calumet Avenue and Vale Park Road.

“You just kind of scratch your head and admit that it’s different for a YMCA to be an anchor,” LaRue says. “But it serves the same function as a major theater might, by creating a reason for a large segment of the community to visit the center on a weekly basis. These YMCA’s are now competing with the major health clubs.”

The center was developed in the 1970s, adjacent to a Kmart. “It was a typical center, built all in a row, with an Eagle Supermarket,” LaRue says. “In the 35 years or so, it got tired. It went through three or four ownerships, and Eagle ceased to exist as a company.”

He says the center’s role in the community changed, as big box retailers were built in an area a mile to the east. However, the community had been built around Cumberland, and still has a draw to many residents, LaRue says. “After not being able to persuade existing ownership to make a radical change, the city acquired the property through eminent domain,” LaRue says. “The property was then bid out, and now Urschel will redevelop the property as if it’s brand new.”

He says the company has enough space to add 70,000-sf for a second phase. “We expect to start phase two in the summer of 2008, for delivery in 2009,” LaRue says. The average non-anchor tenant will pay lease rates in the low 20s, he says. He says he can’t comment on the development cost.

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