Goshen City Council 1

Plans to convert this historic 401 S. Third St. house, pictured here in a December 2019 file photo, into the office of a local real estate broker moved forward Tuesday during a meeting of the Goshen City Council.

GOSHEN — A historic Third Street house previously targeted for demolition by the city could soon be the new office of a local real estate broker following action by the Goshen City Council Tuesday evening.

At the meeting, council members approved a request by Trager Realty LLC and CRHH LLC to rezone the brick house, located at 401 S. Third St., from Residential R-3 to Commercial B-2 district, with the goal of allowing the property to be used as a professional office.

The vote followed similar action by the Goshen Plan Commission during its Nov. 17 meeting, when commission members voted unanimously to forward the rezoning request on to the council with a favorable recommendation.

“This property is surrounded on three sides by B-2 district. It has been a residential use in the past,” Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for the city, said of the house. The structure reportedly dates back to the 1860s. “The proposal is to allow for the use of the property as a professional office, which the rezoning to B-2 would do. And the B-2 would also allow residential use, or a combination of residential and commercial use.”

Yoder noted that the property is two tax parcels located on the west side of South Third Street, the south side of West Madison Street, and the east side of River Race Drive.

Asked his plans for the property, future owner Travis Bontrager explained that he plans to convert the house into a new office for his local real estate business.

“I’ve been a real estate broker here in Goshen since 2005. I manage rental properties,” Bontrager told the council. “I’ve been one of the top agents here in Elkhart County for quite a while, and it’s just a place for myself to operate out of, basically.”

According to council president Brett Weddell, the Third Street property had actually been owned by the Goshen Redevelopment Commission in recent years prior to its sale to a private owner last year.

“I think it was in 2019, there was some conversation about it being torn down versus selling it for redevelopment,” Weddell said of the house’s recent history. “As it turned out, the redevelopment commission at that time, they ended up selling the property. They did tear down half of the structure, and what we’re left with is what you see today. I think they’ve done an excellent job with it.”

The remainder of the council’s member’s agreed, and the requested rezoning was approved unanimously on both first and second readings.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.

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