South Bend’s small developer community is strong and growing. Our efforts have recently been recognized by Strong Towns and Reasons to be Cheerful as a potential model for communities across the country. Additionally, this article about our Pre-Approved Building Plans highlights ways to jump-start infill development (download them at this link or at the bottom of this page). Let’s continue to build momentum!
The Small Developer Education Series, hosted by the City of South Bend’s Engagement & Economic Empowerment team, provides the opportunity for local small developers and entrepreneurs to gain a deep understanding of the development process.
2023 Virtual Trainings
The Small Developer Education Series, hosted by the City of South Bend’s Engagement & Economic Empowerment team, provides the opportunity for local small developers and
entrepreneurs to gain a deep understanding of the development process. Each session will be interactive, case-study rooted, and with plenty of time for Q&A. Please fill out the registration form that can be found by clicking below:
When you register for the series, you will receive communications about upcoming training locations and events, resources available for small developers, and other relevant events and information.
January 18 Virtual Session 1
Kick off 2023 –
Find Your Farm – Get to Know Your Neighbors – Cultivate Local Occupants for Revitalization
February 15 Virtual Session 2
Find investors – Keep it Local – Working with Banks
March 15 Virtual Session 3
Legal & Accounting – Real Estate – Attorneys – CPAs and Bookkeeping – Forming Partnerships and Closing Deals.
April 19 Virtual Session 4
Experiment With a Project – Learn How to do a Proforma – Keep Moving – Clean, Clean, Clean – See What You Are Working With What You Have
June 21 Virtual Session 5
Build Your Team – Find Good Consultants – Decide What is Best For Your Project – Learn to Collaborate
July 19 Virtual Session 6
Set Up a Construction Management System – Hire Contractors – Do It Yourself?
October 18 Virtual Session 7
If You Have a Tenant, Move Them In – If Not, Consider Moving
Yourself – Property Management
November 15 Virtual Session 8 Team
Help Others – Celebrate – Move Forward Town Makers
Town Maker Sessions
5:30-6:45 pm in Classroom C of the Downtown South Bend St. Joseph County Library
This effort is currently being led by City partner Town Makers (Mike Keen, Sarah Hill, Jordan Richardson & others)
Build South Bend Toolkit
For questions related to permitting, please visit the City of South Bend’s Building Department website. There you will be able to find information about commercial, residential, and mechanical permitting processes; including South Bend’s Code Book, the Commercial Building Permit Application Package, an overview of the Residential Permitting Process, and details on the Minimum Required Residential Inspections.
The document linked above is a template to help calculate the costs of constructing a building with the intent to rent it out (either as apartments/studios or some division of a housing unit). This tool is not perfect and does not perfectly assess every possible cost that could be associated with building. However, we highly recommend that you go through the process of filling out the template, even if as a practice exercise. The template will help to understand the cost and income of a building project which can be helpful for any proposed construction project.
Photos from our June 2022 networking event!
The purpose of this Small Developer Website is very simple – to help you save time and money in realizing your dream. Developing a property or business involves an incredible amount of work and much of that work involves figuring basic things out; things like the best places to buy a property, how to approach financial institutions to get a loan, and how to estimate financials. These tasks take hours to learn and aren’t always clear to beginners.
This website is meant to save you time on all those things.
You can see the organization of the website below. However, be aware that developing a property is rarely a straightforward process where you simply go from step A to step Z. Doing a brief overview of the website will help you get a feel for how it all fits together and how you might need to jump around between sections. For example, before buying a property, you may want to go through the proformas at the bottom of this page so that you can see how the costs break out. You don’t want to buy a property only to learn too late that it won’t generate the amount of profit that you are expecting!
South Bend is a city full of opportunity for entrepreneurs willing to put the hard work into a project. As Mayor Mueller says in his 2025 vision, “South Bend will be a national model for inclusive growth as successful economic empowerment pilots expand to full scale.”
Before we begin, here’s a key piece of advice:
Do not fall in a love with a project or property because it will cloud your reason and ability to understand if you can make it financially sustainable. Developing a property has to be based on the final goal of sustainability and all decisions must be based on that. That does not mean other things cannot be considered, but if the property is not financially sustainable for you then you are not helping yourself or anybody else. Maybe you are interested in developing a property for a non-profit or some other community venture. That is great! However, if the building doesn’t have some plan to make income and cover the costs of maintenance then it does not have a great future.
Fall in love with becoming a developer in South Bend
South Bend is a wonderful city to become a developer in. We have an entrepreneurial spirit, lots of affordable properties, and a great network of people to support your work.
“The cavalry is not coming. Are you waiting for someone to make your dreams come true? Guess what? It’s you.”
Born and raised in South Bend, Consuella loves her city. Over the years, she has seen business and home owners with integrity and work ethic, people her great grandmother would call “good folk,” losing their way of life. As a daughter, wife, mother, businesswoman, and friend, Consuella is motivated to be a part of the solution by rolling up her sleeves, pulling out her check book, and giving of her time. She wants to restore, revitalize, and renew the essence of a beautiful people.
ConteMaricela grew up on the south side of South Bend, east of Riley high school. When the school in her neighborhood closed, Maricela saw houses abandoned and, eventually, demolished. This saddened her and motivated her to one day build the neighborhood back up. Maricela believes her development projects will create opportunities in communities outside of downtown South Bend. She envisions a neighborhood with better schools and a stronger sense of community.nt
Learn more about Maricela
LaQuita’s inspiration comes from her family of entrepreneurs. Growing up, her grandmother and aunts owned property on Chapin St., and her cousin was the first African American to own a pharmacy in South Bend. At the time, LaQuita didn’t fully understand the significance of that. However, the stories and encouragement from her grandparents and aunts stuck with LaQuita. They inspired her to become an owner, be proud of what she does, and pass on a legacy to her family.
Learn more about LaQuita
As a child, Barbara visited relatives with a beautiful ranch house and dreamt that one day she would have one of her own. As an adult, she designed and built a ranch home, and she wants to share that blessing with other families. Now that her children are grown, she has taken a leap of faith and started her own business to spread that blessing.
Now that she is back in South Bend, her next step is to build a subdivision that provides economical, quality housing for young families, with some features found in expensive homes.
Octavia’s inspiration is to make a change in her local community by providing affordable housing, empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs with retail spaces, and leaving a legacy for her children.
Next, she’s working on a project to obtain a property to rehab into a community center focused on young adults.
Sibley Machine stopped production in 2015. At that time, Ann and her husband Bill noticed a
skills gap that made it difficult to find employees. They have since made it their mission to help
young people develop these “real world” skills and encourage entrepreneurship.
In order to prove viability for incremental development in South Bend, Ann wants to get the
Sibley Center up to 80% occupancy.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT THE SMALL-SCALE INCREMENTAL DEVELOPMENT SOCIAL EVENT ON SEPTEMBER 20TH 2021!
This social event provided the opportunity for city representatives, local small-scale developers and entrepreneurs, and all those connected to the incremental development ecosystem to network and connect. We hope to be able to host another event soon as we continue to work toward a more generative and inclusive real estate model, where local people can invest in their own neighborhoods and, in that process, create new life and value that benefits their community.
We would like to especially thank the City of South Bend’s Department of Community Investment and Howard Park Public House for hosting.
If you are looking for the video presentation from the June 7th seminar, please click here: June 7th Seminar.