City, KEDCO Acquire Former Owen’s Site For Housing

The former Owen’s property at 302 W. Market St., Warsaw, has been acquired by the city and KEDCO for a housing initiative. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

The Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) and the city of Warsaw on Tuesday announced the acquisition of the former Owens’ grocery store site in downtown Warsaw.

The effort has been spearheaded by the city and is supported by the KEDCO Housing Initiative, according to a news release from KEDCO.

“Our team is working with local partners to encourage the development of additional workforce housing in proximity to leading employers,” said KEDCO CEO Alan Tio. “We are excited to support the city’s vision for reuse of this site as a catalytic project that will lead to additional opportunities throughout the county.”

KEDCO launched its Housing Initiative in response to a housing market potential study commissioned by the Kosciusko County Community Foundation (KCCF), and the Kosciusko County and city of Warsaw governments, that forecasts a potential market for approximately 2,000 new residential units in Kosciusko County by 2024.

“The housing market study showed us the market potential exists to double the production of market-rate housing in our community,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. “We know from leading employers like Zimmer Biomet that access to housing is a workforce recruitment and retention issue, as well.”

A proposal from Zimmer Biomet was selected by the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority’s “anchor employer workforce housing demonstration program” in 2019 to establish a $2 million Workforce Housing Revolving Loan Fund, the news release states. That fund has expanded with $2 million from KCCF’s “Working Together” initiative that was made possible through a GIFT VII grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in 2020.

“We know that Kosciusko County has a vibrant future and that we will be able to address current challenges around childcare, housing and workforce with local solutions,” said KCCF CEO Stephanie Overbey. “We look forward to seeing more projects like this one come together to support workforce housing development.”

KEDCO is finalizing a development agreement with a regional development team for a mixed-use project at the former Owen’s site and will work through the winter with the development team, the city of Warsaw and other local partners to finalize plans for the project.

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