$8.5M project possible first step in reviving Lebanon’s downtown

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LEBANON, Ind. — Lebanon officials broke ground Monday on a new $8.5 million project that will produce a new mixed-use space with apartments and retail space in the city’s downtown.

Once completed, the four-story Brakeman Building will feature 44 apartments and 5,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

This project has been in the planning stage for just over four years, and now city leaders are ready to see it move into the next phase.

“This is a critical piece to our redevelopment efforts on the corridor, it is the gateway. It is the keystone piece for this as additional investments come to the downtown,” said Lebanon Planning Director Ben Bontrager.

Part of the property includes the former home of the New Life Recovery House which has been closed for years.

It was purchased by Forza Commercial for the development, and demolition of the old building is expected to begin immediately.

“Our downtown footprint is expanding, and the Brakeman Building will create a fitting welcome mat along our City’s most heavily traveled street, and gateway to our downtown,” said Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry.

Lebanon officials believe this is the first step in giving the city’s downtown a new look and feel.

They hope it brings new life to the local economy for businesses and restaurants hurt by the pandemic.

“We just hope that this initial investment helps us to really kick off and do additional investments. We expect to see additional apartments and shopping opportunities along the corridor,” said Bontrager.

The name “Brakeman” is a nod to the city’s railroad history, and since the site sits adjacent to a former rail line.

The completion of the Brakeman Building is set for spring 2023.

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