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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stellar effort to bring major retail anchor to square

Monday, April 16, 2012

Major investment includes new bookstore, Starbucks coffee shop and community meeting space

Artist rendering of proposed bookstore on Greencastle courthouse square.
More people walking downtown. More customers spending money with courthouse square retailers. New shops and restaurants opening their doors for business. The next great college town.

That's what local officials hope to see as a result of a major downtown renovation, made possible by the State of Indiana's Stellar Communities initiative, that will bring a new bookstore, programmable community meeting space and Putnam County's first full-service Starbucks to the southeast corner of East Washington and Indiana streets. It will utilize the old Prevo department store space last occupied by Fine Print.

"At its core, the Stellar Communities initiative is about revitalizing our square, making it a center of connection and economic activity and anchoring a college town atmosphere," Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray said. "To have a major retail anchor of this size as a magnet to bring business, and more foot traffic, to the square is a major first step in that process."

In addition to providing course material and textbooks for DePauw students, the new location showcases a mezzanine-level Starbucks café that will seat approximately 75 individuals, a technology center and space dedicated to trade books, periodicals and DePauw University merchandise.

Additional retail space will be dedicated to Ivy Tech Community College merchandise. The top floor of the development will include a community meeting room and loft-style apartments.

Construction is set to begin in the coming weeks, with a grand opening scheduled for fall of 2012.

"If Stellar has been about finding partnerships, then this is the moment where the partnership becomes real," DePauw President Brian Casey said.

"We have a state, a city and a university investing significant resources to help our community reach its potential, and we're about to start seeing the fruits of our labor. This is a substantial investment by DePauw in the downtown, and I could not be more optimistic about the future of Greencastle."

The 11,000-square-foot structure -- to be developed by Kite Realty Group -- will be privately owned with retail operations managed by Follett Higher Education Group, the nation's largest operator of college campus and community stores.

Funding has been made possible by a development loan from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority facilitated by the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center, along with a significant investment from DePauw University.

The total investment in downtown Greencastle from this initial project is expected to exceed $2.5 million.

The city's announcement drew praise from Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who oversees Indiana's Stellar Communities program.

"This new facility will be an ideal spot for Greencastle residents and DePauw students alike," Skillman said. "That's what we created Stellar Communities to do -- bring people together and improve cities."

In Greencastle's initial Stellar Communities proposal, the bookstore initiative was described as an essential element in shifting pedestrian and consumer traffic to the square and creating a larger customer base for new and existing businesses, cafés and restaurants.

Tammy Amor, executive director of the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce, echoed a similar sentiment on Friday.

"Our square is an incredible asset," Amor said. "It's the type of authentic, historic business district that developers are recreating in suburbs across the country. That's exactly what we're doing, except we have the real thing and Stellar has given us the shot in the arm we need to really make it shine."

Local business owners also expressed optimism about what the new bookstore could mean for the economic environment in the courthouse neighborhood.

"After 22 years nestled on the north side of the square, this exciting opportunity has given me more enthusiasm, optimism and motivation to do what I can to offer more to all patrons," Gail Smith, owner of Almost Home, said.

"The more there is to offer, the better for everyone," she added. "I'm proud to be a business owner in a small college town that has initiative and creativity to plan for the future."

Greencastle's Stellar Communities grant proposal -- which was approved by the State of Indiana in March 2011 -- is expected to provide as much as $19 million to support core projects designed to enhance the economic, cultural and residential vitality of Greencastle's downtown and the "South Court" neighborhood which connects it to DePauw University.

The scope of the initiative ranges from streetscape improvements to economic development initiatives and historic preservation efforts, primarily focused on the square and in the surrounding neighborhood.

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What about the Blue Door Cafe and Treasures on the Square, With the advent of e-books and the internet do we really need a Chain store to increase the Wal-martization of this town?

-- Posted by kallycoe on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 7:36 AM

Depauw needs their own newspaper-I was going to subcribe to online but, everything is about the college-I don't shop in a lot of the stores because students are catered too but we live here year round-my opinion and I hear this a lot from folks that have lived here all their lives

-- Posted by bam on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 9:04 AM

the Inn at DePauw had a Starbucks for a while but canceled it because it was too expensive. I can't imagine the students will be happy about having to walk to downtown to get their books rather than get them in the union building. It looks like most of the Stellar money is going for DePauw's benefit. Move over property tax payers and make room for the tax exempt.

-- Posted by albert on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 11:22 AM

Is Greencastle the "Stellar" community or is it Depauw? Seriously, yet again improvements benefit an already affluent community within our town. Where exactly is the greater good? And what type of message does this send to residents but that they aren't important but 4000 or so students who will eventually leave or county after four years are!

-- Posted by nerudap on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 12:24 PM

Glad people can get their $4 cup of coffee while homeless animals and people have no place to go.

-- Posted by Penguino on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 2:59 PM

Think of Greencastle without the improvements DPU has made over the years and how well they maintain their buildings & grounds. Let them have some "flash" they'll take care of it! Thank you DePauw...Please stay around for at least another 175 years!

-- Posted by Wait a minute on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 5:55 PM

I appreciate the partnership that has been forged by the City of Greencastle and DePauw University. The Central Business District will have a bookstore that benefits DePauw and Ivy Tech Students, community organizations and citizens;generate activity all year that will benefit current business' and future economic development. Plus, the bookstore is being developed by a private developer, will pay property taxes and provide jobs for local citizens. It's a win-win.

-- Posted by keneitel on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 8:15 PM

Well said Ken. Too bad the DePauw-haters can't grasp the fact that without DePauw, Cloverdale would be the biggest city in Putnam county and Greencastle would have very little of what we have now.

-- Posted by VolunteerFF on Mon, Apr 16, 2012, at 8:54 PM

I'm going to say that the manufacturing plants in Greencastle have more to do with it's economy than Depauw does. However, I'm just a dumb country boy, so it's possible that I'm wrong.

-- Posted by JustinH on Tue, Apr 17, 2012, at 8:37 AM

This is not an appropriate use of those funds. Also wasn't the purpose of these grants to promote the development of local businesses? What I see here is Kite Realty (Indianapolis Firm) developing a property to be managed by Follett (Illinois) with a Starbucks (Seattle, WA). Not seeing any Greencastle connections in these businesses. If we're going to use taxpayer funds for these projects (which I am entierly against) why not at least have the projects benefit LOCAL businesses. I'm afraid we're going to end up trading local businesses like Blue Door and Treasures for Starbucks like we've already seen with Fine Print and Bright Futures. I understand the desire to revitalize downtown but if all we end up with is large coproations who take their profits out of town are we really gaining anything?

-- Posted by hometownboy on Tue, Apr 17, 2012, at 10:57 AM

I'm not going to say that Depauw hasn't offered anything to the Greencastle community at large. It has and I am sure it will continue to do so over the years. But a pretty campus and some cultural endeavors are not what make for a sound and balanced community partnership.

I agree with hometownboy. I see a "ritzy" development project that benefits new, "exciting" (and lest we forget "stellar") businesses at the expense of local businesses that actually have LOCAL ties and are LOCALLY owned. And these local business have added to our local character and local economy just as much as Depauw.

Additionally, I agree with JustinH. We are more than a college community and there are those in our town who also contribute to the economy and do so over their lifetimes and not a mere four years of spending monies on cigarettes and an occasional trip to Moore's when they are of legal ages (or at least have a passable fake ID!)

The matter at hand here isn't if Depauw is of value. It is and I am glad that it is in our town. But the matter is that these funds were to be used to spur local development and benefit the town as a whole...that means all benefit and not just Depauw. What's the largest part of this grant project but the Anderson Steet project. Who benefits: Depauw.

And Ken if you want to discuss taxes, perhaps you could explain to me and other locals were is the tax fairness in Depauw not having to pay property tax on their residental properties that they have developed over the last decade while local residents have seen their taxes rise annually. You are perpetually running for mayor or representative of our community...where's the sense of community in that? And if we as a town and county had had those resources could we have not paid for these developments and revitalization ourselves?

-- Posted by nerudap on Tue, Apr 17, 2012, at 12:02 PM

the stellar grant is mainly for depauw as is everything else we do around here. let me tell u about last year. my property taxes were raised over 500 dollars for the six months period and a 1000 for the year. i called the accessors office to find out why and they told me it was bc, like 26 businesses had sold for profit. they told me i could have a print out of the properties. so i went and picked it up and called 4 bank presidents or loan officers and asked them if they knew of properties being sold for more than they were worth. they all laughed and said that properties were selling for pennies on the dollar. one of the bankers took the sheet and looked into the properties and found out they were all bought by depauw u. so i went back to courthouse raising hell and told them this is why the small business people cant survive anymore. depauw is running us outta town. they lowered my taxes back down the 500 and 1000 that depauw made them raise. did anybody else complain????? probably not and they are happily paying the crooks in our town. its time to put a stop to this kinda activities. we all live here together and the seperation is getting greater and greater. where does it stop and how can u stop a billion dollar enterprise??????

-- Posted by badboy46120 on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 12:07 AM

I applaud this plan - and YES, it is win-win! The 'separation' is only what you make of it. The Stellar Plan is a plan to bridge the gap, which it will, in time, with cooperation. Without DePauw we would just be a dismal little town 1/2 this size. Try to embrace the benefits the opportunities, the intellect, the volunteerism, etc.... Please don't try to 'stop' the enterprise - that is simply non-progressive.

-- Posted by BG-reader on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 8:45 AM

Great just another place on the square that I will have to park 2 blocks away from to walk up to. Which mean bad weather days My children and I will not be able to go. I think before we work on getting more places to park before we hop onto makeing more places to go!!! MAke a parking lot or a garage a garage woudl be a good idea!

-- Posted by liasmommy on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 10:20 AM

Walk 2 Blocks, thats funny ;-) Even if you are handicap challenged walking is good for your health. When you visit any BIG BOX STORE you would be amazed how far you will walk, from the parking lot to the door and then once inside the distance will be more than 2 blocks. Then waiting in line at one of the 2-3 registers opened out of the 26 they have. Get out of the car and the drive thru's to experience the social life of a small town business and visiting with others. I too for one would love to see more local owners of local businesses, but that just isn't happening with the banking business community here on the most part. But this is a good start at least it will place some individuals back into the work community to have some new income to spend locally.

-- Posted by macvrod on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 10:56 AM

I can't wait to have a great book store on the square, because I am an avid reader and like to buy books and periodicals, and spend my cash here in town. I also like the idea of a community meeting space and apartments on the square. I can also enjoy a place to get a good cup of coffee (Starbucks is only expensive if you order espresso drinks like cappuccino and lattes. A good strong cup of their black coffee is superb and doesn't cost much...it's a buck and change). The people who will work in the book store, and coffee shop will undoubtedly be local folks and I will enjoy chatting with them and supporting them in their enterprise. I'm digging all of this!!

DePauw is making a huge investment in the town by locating their book store on the square instead of keeping it on campus. This is more like a win-win-win, than a win-win.

People will find something to complain about, but come the autumn, I will be sitting in our beautiful down town, sipping coffee and reading and purchasing books by my favorite authors, right after visiting our great Farmers Market and buying fresh produce. Things are looking UP!

JustinH: Manufacturing is wonderful and so is DePauw. They are not mutually exclusive. It's all good. Smile.

Hometownboy: I have never heard you like anything, or say anything positive about anything, or offer anything but the most superficial and shallow solutions to any issue. If peace broke out all over the world, I am sure you would find something to criticize and be suspicious about. But your negativity is instructive: it is a reminder to the rest of us of how much nicer it is to uplift people than to drag them down and insult them, and Heavens!, all for the crime of trying to make Greencastle a lively and enriching place.

-- Posted by thinkpositive on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 7:47 PM

@ liasmommy: you are going to have to walk two blocks? Oh, no, what is the world coming to? Walk two blocks...I think we should organize a picket line and protest. Walk two blocks....It's just not right....TWO WHOLE BLOCKS!!!!???

This really is an outrage!!!! There ought to be a law.....walk two blocks....

Is this really what we have come to? People will whine about anything. ANYTHING.

-- Posted by thinkpositive on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 7:53 PM


Still waiting for you to actually ever post anything to rebut my comments instead of just complaining about how I'm negative. Not negative just calling them like I see them.

-- Posted by hometownboy on Thu, Apr 19, 2012, at 7:39 AM

Think postive,

Just because something is aesthetically pleasing does not mean that it is at all ethically pleasing. Simply because this project will add a beautiful exterior to our square (which I do feel we need and deserve) does not mean that the manner in which this project is being undertaken is at all attractive.

That is the central issue here. Yes, there is a divide between the university and town which I find repugnant as well and do think should be addressed and resolved. However, the issue at hand is that monies that were to be used to benefit the community at large are not being done so in this case. This is a project that solely benefits Depauw. That is why people are upset. This is a question of means and not ends...a pretty facade is just that a facade.

-- Posted by nerudap on Thu, Apr 19, 2012, at 7:51 PM

nerudap: You are correct that the ethics of the decision making has nothing to do with the aesthetics of the architecture, design, etc.

However, there is a lot of misinformation being passed around that is really a disservice to the community, and it causes people to jump to unfounded conclusions.

For starters: The idea that the Stellar Community grant solely benefits DePauw. That is totally wrong on it's face. The book store is a private affair. All of the money being invested in it comes from DePauw, Follets and Starbucks, not from the grant money. This is not part of the Stellar grant. DePauw wants to put the book store on the square. That is DePauw's prerogative. The fact that it will benefit the townies to have a nice book store on the square is a something that is a pleasant outcome of the decision made by DePauw.

-- Posted by thinkpositive on Fri, Apr 20, 2012, at 1:53 PM


You may want to reread the article and do a little more research. It clearly States that stellar grants are funding at least a portion of this project. Why else would they quote Skillman? Also the article says the project was part of the grant proposal. Once again I'm glad that the square is being updated but it should be done with PRIVATE FUNDS not with taxpayer money.

-- Posted by hometownboy on Sat, Apr 21, 2012, at 8:25 AM

My comment is to kallycoe, the walmartization that

you speak of, do you dislike Walmart, the Walmart that provides well paying jobs to many people in this community? The Walmart that provides thousands of dollars annually to organizations in this community? That Walmart, yes how dare a retailer come into this community and provide jobs for those in need! How dare they bring community involvement programs to our community! How dare you!

-- Posted by concernedaswell on Sat, Apr 21, 2012, at 1:15 PM


Definitely, how dare we raise a fuss over Walmart and the fact that the majority of their employees receive some form of government assistance because they do not have well paying jobs. How dare we raise a fuss over a company that evades property taxes as well and thus defunds schools and the community. How dare we raise a fuss over a company that has systematically at times worked its employees off the clock around the nation and here in Putnam County. How dare we raise a fuss over a corporation that practices empliments slave labor over seas to keep prices low and thus cause locals to actually buy themselves out of a job. And how dare we criticize a company whose six heirs' combined worth is that of the bottom 30 percent of the nation.

How dare indeed!

-- Posted by nerudap on Sat, Apr 21, 2012, at 6:04 PM

I am a customer/fan of the Blue Door. Please Putnam County continue to support this small local business. They have great coffees, couches and a nice atmosphere.

-- Posted by kbmom on Sun, Apr 22, 2012, at 8:57 AM

After reading this article several of you keep referring to the so called 'bookstore'. While they will indeed have periodicals, the majority of the 'books' will be textbooks! They might have a small section of fiction/non-fiction books, but if you think this is going to be a smaller version of Barnes & Nobles keep dreaming. I am all for this, but I have to say have fun reading Chemistry 101 thinkpositive...

Having went to a state university I am very familiar with Follets, its textbooks folks, not the latest book by your favorite author.... I will point out that it clearly states this in the article. I am not critizing, just do not want people to get there hopes up.

-- Posted by ynm_gop on Fri, Apr 27, 2012, at 8:00 AM

I think that with the other things in town, that it'd make a slight difference. There was a bookstore here before, but no one knew about it. Same with Starbucks. Not to mention the small bookstore that was closed down because of this so called better bookstore.

-- Posted by Smee on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 1:49 PM

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