The Lafayette Building


The Lafayette Building is a neo-classical office across from the row of government buildings along Lafeyette Street in downtown South Bend. Built in 1903, it was later designated as a Local Historic Landmark because "it is believed to be the county’s first commercial office building."

In 2015 the building, along with the adjoining church, were featured on Indiana Landmarks' "10 Most Endangered" list. This news revived public interest in the building's future and, to the casual observer, motivated public officials to find a solution other than demolition or continued abandonment.

Fast forward 2 years and ABC57 reports that the City is looking to "spend over a million dollars to save the Lafayette building." According to Tim Corcoran, City Planner, this would focus on foundational improvements such as asbestos and mold remediation.

This is wonderful news. The Lafayette's interior is one of the most beautiful spaces in South Bend – not only would demolition remove this remarkable view, but it would leave a gaping hole on Lafayette Street. One doesn't need to be a local expert to know that we've torn down enough buildings in the past few years.

UPDATE (Oct 13, 2017): WNDU reports that "the Redevelopment Commission has approved $1.5 million to fix up the Lafayette Building" and that "the City hopes to have the deed for the building in their hands by the end of January." 

UPDATE (May 6, 2019): The South Bend Tribune reports: “Sometime this summer, the city will issue a request for proposals from developers seeking to complete the renovation and restore the Lafayette Building to commercial use” and that asbestos removal and roof repair are complete.

In 2016 I photographed the building's state prior to any skylight damage. Here's what I found: