WHAT IF? ELKHART overcomes its housing shortage

Elkhart hasn’t built an apartment complex in nearly 15 years — even when rental housing is the fastest growing segment of housing nationwide. We also had less than 10 housing starts last year — which substantiates that single-family homes are not in demand. Likewise, Elkhart has had the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation along with among the highest amount of available jobs for cities of our size. And our population growth is stagnant?

Millennials make job decisions only secondary to living where there is a cool quality of life. They are choosing places other than Elkhart. Let’s face it. We have job opportunities, yet not the housing they want, nor the destination they desire. Likewise, baby boomers are looking for much of the same amenities and many are still working. Yet, they aren’t moving here either due to lack of housing options across the spectrum of the types of possible housing they desire.

For many, low-income, affordable housing solutions are criticized for being substandard and not acceptable.

We have to remember because these more desired housing options haven’t been in Elkhart, it doesn’t mean they aren’t desired — as they are desired, in high volumes, in other communities. If we don’t evolve, everyone else will evolve around us. We already have 40,000 commuters who work here and don’t live here. When did that number start growing?

  • What additional housing types should be available in Elkhart that will be at least 80% occupied within three years?

  • How can we start engaging local investors to create block-by-block quality, affordable housing?

  • Affordable housing is the highest inventory of available housing that we have in Elkhart. How can we improve these offerings to make them more desirable in all surrounding areas of downtown?

  • How can we attract more workforce talent through better housing solutions?


Clearly, more housing solutions need to expand throughout Elkhart. Sharing those needs via researched and engineered master plans will engage investors and developers to expand beyond downtown.

current PROJeCTS

The River District

The River District is a 105-acre public-private development that merges an urban vision with economic energy to expand Elkhart's downtown. This urban, walkable, residential community is expected to bring 1,000 rent units and match the trends of other thriving urban environments. Its goal is to make Main Street’s surrounding neighborhoods vibrant once again. 

Investment: Estimated total $300 million | Current active investments over $170 million


Stonewater at The Riverwalk will consist of 200 luxury market rate apartments, five townhomes, and over 7,000 square feet of retail. Comprised of studios, one and two bedroom apartment homes, the project will boast the finest amenities in the Elkhart market. The development, at 237,337 square feet, is on the site of the former Elkhart Foundry. Units will be available fall 2019.

Investment: $32 million



River Point West by Great Lakes Capital begins construction June 2019 and will consist of a new 42,000 square foot Martin’s Super Markets store, 6,000 square feet of additional ground floor retail, and 172 apartments along the river.

Investment: $40 million