Local voices – Elkhart real estate broker Chris Hooley tells us why he’s excited about the Foundry Project

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  • March Mon, 2017

“I’ve lived in Indy, Denver, Cincinnati and Louisville and I’ve seen this kind of investment really spur growth.”

We asked Chris Hooley, a real estate broker for Berkshire Hathaway on E. Bristol Street, to weigh in on proposed redevelopment efforts downtown

You’re a 4th generation Elkhart resident and real estate professional, what do you think about the latest apartment investment downtown?

We certainly need more housing – we’re at an all-time low for listings in Elkhart and an all-time high for apartment occupancy. If I were a few years younger I would certainly be interested in living in a community like this.

Is this in-line with housing trends you’ve been seeing?

We need more housing and both millennials and empty nesters are choosing apartments/condos over traditional housing. They’re looking for more than just a place to live. I’m on the talent retention committee for Regional Cities – we know that if we want to attract the next generation of business leaders and companies, we need to start by building places that will attract millennials.

I’ve lived in Indy, Denver, Cincinnati and Louisville and I’ve seen this kind of investment really spur growth. If we examine other cities around the U.S. that are growing and thriving, those cities are being strategic and deliberate in how they attract the next generation of leaders. A great example is how Austin, TX went from 200,000 (residents) in the early 1960s to 900,000 recently. That is not by accident.

But will these apartments stimulate growth for Elkhart?

In the past, millennials and empty nesters would have chosen South Bend or Mishawaka over Elkhart, but with this development and the other amenities in the area like the Lerner Theatre, the health, fitness and aquatics center, and expanded RiverWalk, I don’t think that will be true. I think we’re heading in the right direction, and this project is a great step forward.


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