The Harrison Square project is nearer to being finished Wednesday afternoon after a “topping out” ceremony for the new retail and apartment building.
“I was reminded of something Winston Churchill said, 'Never, never, never give up',” Mayor Tom Henry said during the ceremony.
There were times, Henry said, when the city could have given up on the project's completion, but he knew its new partners in the Harrison shared its vision and commitment to a vibrant downtown.
The Harrison Square project began in 2006. The Harrison, the final component to the ballpark and hotel, was originally supposed to have been finished in summer 2009, but developers struggled to secure bank financing until last year. It was June 30, 2008, when the TinCaps minor-league baseball team stadium was topped off.
Henry thanked all parties involved in the project, including Simon Dragan, Mark Hagerman and Chris Schoen, the principals of the New Harrison, who were also hosting the ceremony.
Hagerman made a point of thanking the workers who have worked under ever changing conditions, first in the cold and wet of winter and currently the recent three-digit temperatures.
The topping was a final roof section for the east tower, which had a pine tree and American flag on top of it. Before the ceremony, guests were invited to sign the section. Despite the threat of rain and a gusty wind, the topping went off without a hitch.
After the tower was topped guests were free to walk through the site. The interior of the new structure is still in the framing stages. On the top floor views of the Parkview Stadium baseball field gave a new definition to “a room with a view.” Walls separating the apartments were in place giving a feel for the size of the space. A few of the future tenants were walking through and looking over their new spaces.
The first floor is designed for retail and commercial space. The second floor will be a professional office environment. The third and fourth floors will contain 43 apartments designed with contemporary features and luxury finishes. Each residence comes with either a view of the city skyline or the ballpark. The building has a total of 100,000 square feet of space for lease.
Residential units are expected to be ready by February. The building has three confirmed commercial tenants: Carson Boxberger will lease 24,000 square feet on the second floor, Three Rivers Federal Credit Union will occupy 3,800 square feet, and O'Reilly's Irish Bar will take up 4,000 square feet.
Economic impact from the Harrison project so far is 55 construction jobs created, and represents an estimated $18.5 million worth of private investment in downtown.