Trenton Scroggins, Courier Staff Writer – February 21, 2019. The Tack Factory closed 12 years ago — after 111 years of business.
Against the backdrop of falling boards and metal, blowtorches and trucks, a small gathering of shovel diggers met Tuesday morning just outside the factory’s western doors, where, as one key player observed, “We can finally say we did it…I look forward to giving all of you…a tour of the finished Riverside Tower Lofts in 2020.”
The shovels then turned the ceremonial first mounds of dirt signifying the beginning of a project.
Nearly two years ago, with the Stellar Communities designation in the City of Madison’s hands, Louisville real estate group Denton Floyd purchased the factory at Cragmont and Second streets, with sights set on renovating the building into an affordable senior living facility.
At the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Denton Floyd co-founder Brandon Denton explained the significance of the Stellar designation in the company’s move to purchase.
“This project is truly a direct result of Madison’s Stellar Communities designation,” Denton said. “…without this designation, we would not be standing here.”
Denton told The Madison Courier that without the designation and assistance from the Indiana Department of Housing and Community Development, “we would not have been able to receive the necessary funds to partially pay for the construction costs. The designation really paved the way for state tax credits to be injected into the project.”
Denton Floyd purchased the site 10 years after the Tack Factory, as it is commonly called in Madison, had shifted hands following Tower Manufacturing Co.’s fall to foreign competition in 2007. Tower had been the oldest continuous manufacturer in city history — that’s 111 years of producing everything from nails and staples to tacks and fasteners.
But that’s not all, the site was also used as a warehouse for starch production in its earlier years before a fire claimed the original factory site in 1916.
The Stellar Communities program, launched in 2011, is a multi-agency partnerships designed to recognize Indiana’s smaller communities with identified comprehensive community/economic development projects and activities and next steps and key partnerships. Participating funding agencies include; the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Department of Transportation, and Indiana Housing and Community Development Association. Madison was designated a Stellar Community in 2017. Stellar projects normally are related to infrastructure, such as roads, parks, utilities, downtown redevelopment, housing rehabilitation and new housing projects, as well as streetscape improvements.
In Madison, the community helped leaders identify the most important infrastructure projects through open houses and public input surveys at various stages over the last few years. Many of these projects have been asked for by the community for some time, but because of financial or development difficulties, they need an extra “push” that Stellar will help provide.