SOUTH BEND — The city wants a new tenant to fill the College Football Hall of Fame, but what if the hall isn't ready to leave yet?
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the College Football Hall of Fame will open its doors six months later than originally planned, in September 2013.
The paper went on to report the Hall’s operators need more time to raise the money needed for the $80 million project.
"I don't think it's to be unexpected," said Don Inks, South Bend's director of redevelopment. "It's a hard economy to raise funds in, so it's not surprising to run into some snags there."
WSBT News worked to independently confirm the report. No one from the redevelopment department or the mayor's office received information about the delay. The executive director for the Hall, Lisa Klunder, did not return our calls.
The communications director for the National Football Foundation emailed the station, once in the morning about a deadline, and again in the afternoon.
Phil Marwill told WSBT, his boss has been in meetings and he's "doing his best to get answers."
Inks said it is too early to speculate what will happen.
"Our focus right now is on filling that building," Inks said.
Regardless how things play out in Atlanta, South Bend has two options: If a tenant agreement for the space is signed before August 1, South Bend city leaders will be allowed to terminate its lease agreement with the National Football Foundation after December 31, 2011. If no one steps up, the Hall could continue to call South Bend home until January, 2013.
"Our focus is on South Bend and what's best for this community," Inks said.