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Former Elkhart clarinet factory converted to senior apartments will open soon

The former Conn-Selmer plant is now transformed into a unique apartment complex. // WSBT 22 Photo

After playing a role in the city's band instrument-making history, an Elkhart building has new life.

Back in the day, it employed hundreds building musical instruments.

The former Conn-Selmer plant is now transformed into a unique apartment complex. It’s a building that played a role in the heyday of musical instrument making in Elkhart.

For 75 years, starting in 1930, it was originally the Selmer company, then later on became Conn-Selmer.

It closed around 2005.

The two story building is being converted into Gardenview Senior Apartments by developers from commonwealth management.

“We're very excited to be able to renovate this historic building. No two apartments are alike, because they could not tear down any of the existing structure, so they had to build around what was already there,” said Charisse Lee, property manager.

The 55, one and two bedroom units are almost all spoken for.

“We already have over 50 approved applications, so there's only 55 units, and as the construction is turning over the apartments. We are leasing them and people are moving in,” said Lee.

Now throughout the course of developing the project here and even until now, those working on the development complex have heard from a number of people who are aware of the historical nature of the building and even those who worked for Conn-Selmer years ago.

Tom Richardson is project superintendent.

“We have many people coming in and stop and say 'Hey, my father worked here on the clarinet line, or my aunt worked on the clarinet line,'” said Richardson.

He also heard from a brother and sister who worked in the building years ago.

“I took them into the building and showed them and they were explaining to me every place that they worked and what they did, which was kind of exciting. It kind of puts a little context into it,” said Richardson.

A lot of memories there for a lot of people

Gardenview Apartments will likely have all tenants moved in by Memorial weekend.

Rent is based on income.

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