CROWN POINT | County officials would like to turn part of their government center campus into a place people would enjoy visiting.
The Lake County Board of Commissioners disclosed Wednesday it has received a proposal from Hawk Development Corp. of Crown Point to build three eating establishments, an office building and a service station on 6 acres of lawn to the east of the Lake County Government Center at 93rd and Main (Taft) Street.
"Our thinking is that it isn't required for an expansion of the county government center, so let's get it on the tax rolls and save the cost of paying to cut the grass. That helps Lake County and everybody," Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond said.
Since the government center opened at this site 40 years ago, people have only gone there to pay taxes, get vaccine shots, visit the county jail or be hailed into court on a criminal or civil matter.
Commissioners advertised their "prime spot for real estate development" last March in The Times and asked developers to make them an offer for a "shovel ready project that would increase the assessed value."
Repay said only Hawk Development responded to their call, but he thinks they may not have marketed the land as efficiently as possible. "We had a tough time with it because we have never done this before so we left it kind of vague.
"We are taking this it under advisement and I'm sure we will have something to say about it at our next meeting," Repay said.
James Hawk, president of Hawk Development, didn't return calls seeking comment.
His written proposal, released Wednesday by commissioners, states the parcel, now zoned for single-family residential construction, is large enough for five home lots, but would generate four times the property taxes if it were commercially developed.
Hawk has developed White Hawk Country Club, residential subdivisions like Pine Hill, Feather Rock, Silver Hawk and Royal Hawk, the Crown Point Sportsplex and is developing the Galleria Center and Crown Point Condominiums.
Hawk said his firm and its sister companies are open to either purchase the property outright or take part in a public-to-private partnership.
Crown Point Mayor David Uran, who was at a conference, texted The Times on Wednesday that he has heard of the county's proposal, but hasn't seen Hawk's plans.
"Makes sense to place on the tax rolls and is a good commercial location," Uran wrote.