North Side Group Gets $4.6M to Redevelop Several Buildings

Article excerpt

North Side officials believe they have the "missing piece" needed to jumpstart redevelopment of the former Garden Theatre property at Federal North.

The Northside Community Development Fund received a $4.6 million loan Friday from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

The organization hopes to be able to announce specific plans for the long-dormant site by this time next year, said Mark Masterson, executive director.

"This is real," he said. "This is finally the process. This is going to happen."

Planning for Federal North started more than 15 years ago when then-Mayor Tom Murphy laid out a proposal for a $40 million development at the intersection of Federal Street and W. North Avenue. Much of the project was delayed as the city fought to acquire the theater, a transfer that took place in 2007.

The Northside Leadership Conference has worked since August 2008 to come up with plans for the theater and four nearby buildings. The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority owns the properties.

The conference is talking with developers and expects to seek proposals for the property this spring, said Mark Fatla, executive director.

Plans call for reusing the theater for family-friendly events, attracting a restaurant to a former Masonic Hall at the corner of Reddour Street, and adding apartments in the Bradberry building to the rear. …