Mike Gelatka, the local resident behind the project, said progress has been slow, but he hopes to have the condo units marketable very soon with a groundbreaking for the property later this summer.
“We are trying to get contractor bids together to figure out what pricing would be. We don’t want to roll it out without having that answer,” Gelatka said of the potential 35-40 units. “I believe there will be a market for this, and St. John will attract automotive enthusiasts.”
Once developers reach a certain number of pre-sold units, construction will begin. Rick Eberly, St. John Building and Planning director, said the condominiums will be unique to Northwest Indiana. Crossroads Motorplex will serve as a social and cultural center for car lovers. It will not be accessible to the public, but rather serve as a private, gated-type community where condo owners can store their cars and vacation.
“There’s not many of these around. Being right off Route 41, it will be a very visible attraction. Instead of going to the cottage, you can stay in the motor unit,” Gelatka said.
The St. John location will offer actual rooms for people to stay in if they want. Gelatka bought the property more than 10 years ago. What originally started as a “big retail project,” transformed into a special “boutique project” after a visit to Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville, Illinois. Iron Gate Motor Condos is an exclusive automobile home for classic, collector and exotic cars. The facility offers condo owners secured garages to store and showcase a vehicle. Membership prices range from $250-$350 per month/car and $3,000-$4,200 annually.
The location also serves as a space to host car shows and other open house events. St. John’s new car condo will mirror Naperville’s. In fact, Steven Hansen, the same architect who designed Iron Gate Motor Condos, is working with Gelatka on the project.
“We wanted to build something that is useful and would add to the town as a potential icon,” Gelatka said. “This is it.”
During the Oct. 10, 2017 Plan Commission meeting, Gelatka said the same entrance that is already in place off of U.S. 41 will be used as the Crossroads Motorplex entrance. Additional parking, which can be used by Aspen Café, will be built. Building permits have not been sought out yet for the project, Eberly said, as it’s “now a matter of attracting condominium buyers.”
“There’s been skepticism from the start. It takes someone with extra money to afford a condo just for a car. (Gelatka) was hopeful in finding a market and I hope he is able to,” Eberly said. Gelatka still has hope and said developers will “hit the ground running within the next couple of months.”
“A lot of people want to be a part of it. We want to move the process along quickly and see that it can all be real,” he said.