he northern entrance to Riverside will soon take on a new look. Demolition of the longstanding Skyline Inn began on Monday afternoon. It was the first physical step toward a project known as the Village of Gatewoods, a development that will create 150 residential units near the 5100 block of NW Gateway, just off of Interstate 29.
“Riverside has been a city of landmarks,” said Kathy Rose, mayor, at a demolition ceremony Monday that attracted around 40 people despite cold and wet weather as a snowstorm was just beginning to make its way into the area.
“The citizens of this community have long awaited something as monumental as the Skyline Redevelopment project to occur. With new housing certainly comes that prospect of additional retail and other amenities that the citizens of this community want and deserve,” Rose said.
A backhoe took several swings into the smaller buildings of the Skyline and knocked them to the ground while the crowd watched. City officials said they expect the entire motel to be gone from the premises by sometime next week.
The Skyline had been a fixture in Riverside since the mid-1950s.
The project is another sign of development underway in Riverside, a city that has been boosted in recent years by revenue generated from the Argosy Casino.
T.E. Woods is the developer of the project that will go in at the old Skyline location. The firm has already constructed two subdivisions nearby and the new construction will connect to those existing subdivisions.
Brent Miles, Riverside’s director of planning and economic development, explained the details of the project in a telephone interview with The Landmark.
“We call it a new urbanist or traditional neighborhood. There will be row houses, paired houses, two condo mansions that will look like big mansions with four or six condos inside of it,” he said.
There will also be a “bungalow court” featuring detached single family houses, he explained.
The project will cover 25 acres. Prices will start at $150,000 and run as high as $250,000, Miles said.
There will be plenty of green space, including a community park and trails that will connect to existing trails.
Some commercial units will be present as well. There will be some spaces known as live/work units, where a person can own and operate a business on the first floor while living on the second and third floors, Miles explained.
Miles said the nearly $22 million development is a tax increment financing (TIF) project. The city participation with a TIF helped assist in the “extraordinary cost of purchasing” the property, Miles stated.
The city’s TIF commission has approved an arrangement on the commercial portion of the development, which will recoup about $650,000 to pay for infrastructure costs by using sales tax and property tax revenues over the next 23 years. Also, Riverside will invest $2.5 million to cover infrastructure and will be paid back through the TIF, along with other sources.
Miles said the Skyline redevelopment will have direct impact on the community’s character.
“It is a quality plan that will provide design consistency as well as attract a younger and more diverse demographic to our city,” he said.
Before phase one could be implemented, the Skyline Inn had to be vacant. In January, city officials met individually with the residents of Skyline’s 100 occupied units. Since the city was involved with the purchase of the Skyline for the development through a tax increment financing TIF arrangement, the city assisted with the relocation of Skyline occupants.
City staff worked with United Services and St. Vincent DePaul, among other organizations, to find new housing for all residents. The city provided $2,000 for residents who lived at Skyline for more than 90 days and $1,000 for those who were there for a shorter period. This money was used as a deposit and first month’s rent at the occupants’ new residences.
Rose mentioned the Skyline motel will be able to be seen in a movie to be made about actor Peter Boyle.