river_centre_streetBy the end of Jane Hendrickson’s first trip to Huntingburg in the spring of 2014, she knew she’d found a good partner to begin the first development of her new private company, Boxer Girl, LLC.

Hendrickson, 59, pulled into town around midday planning to meet with Mayor Denny Spinner at Cool Beans for lunch on Fourth Street, parking a block away at City Hall. Between City Hall and Cool Beans she was stopped by several people asking her if she needed directions or help finding where she was going.

“She came in and asked me, Mayor, are you setting me up?” Spinner said. “Her impression of the Huntingburg and Dubois County was set before we even met face-to-face.”

Over the next few hours, Spinner and Hendrickson toured the city, meeting stakeholders and checking out potential sites for a workforce housing development to fulfill the city’s Stellar Communities project.

“Before the end of the day, she felt this was a place not only she wanted to do business but wanted to have a real presence,” Spinner said.

Hendrickson, a native of Speedway, Ind., started her career in construction at age 18 when she worked with construction clients for a public accounting firm in Indianapolis. She worked full-time to fund her education at Marian University in Indy, where she graduated with a degree in accounting in 1978.

Her deep love for construction led her to continue her career in development, working for general, mechanical and site contractors as a controller for her first several years following college before ending up with a wall-pouring contractor in 1989 called Sanders Company in Indianapolis.

“I was kind of a diamond in the rough because there weren’t very many females in construction,” she said. “To be able to create a vision on paper, and then build it (is amazing). It comes alive. It becomes reality, and you are part of making it happen. It’s more of a passion than a career.”

A few years after college, she married her husband Steve Hendrickson. They reside in Zionsville and have two adult sons, Jason and Brad and his wife, Tiffany.

In 1994, Sanders Company spun off into a real estate development firm, where Hendrickson managed projects and accounting until being hired by Davis Homes — the largest single-family home builder in the region at the time — in 1997 as the vice president of development and properties. Hendrickson worked with Davis Homes for more than a decade before moving to Buckingham Companies, a real estate development and property management company in Indianapolis, in 2007.

It was during her time at Buckingham that Hendrickson met Ed Curtin, owner and principal consultant at CWC Latitudes, a planning consultation agency in Columbus.

Curtin and Hendrickson developed a professional relationship while working on aspects of The Cole, a mixed-use development in the heart of Columbus.

In 2012, Hendrickson decided to strike out on her own by starting Boxer Girl.

“I’ve always worked with others, so I formed Boxer Girl to be on my own,” Hendrickson said. “I find the fact that I don’t have to manage people anymore or report to owners and management that I have much more time to do things on my own and make those decisions, and it’s even more rewarding.”

Her expertise lays in residential and mixed-use developments. Hunters Crossing, a Stellar Communities workforce housing project in Huntingburg and River Centre, a privately funded makeover to the former Jasper Cabinet factory along the Patoka River near downtown Jasper, will be among Boxer Girl’s early projects along with another mixed-use development in a partnership with the Posey County city of Mt. Vernon.

“I really feel I’m bringing projects that will show what we’ve got to offer, sort of a flagship showcase to the area” she said.

Hendrickson was put in contact with Huntingburg leaders by Curtin, who was working as a consultant for the city as it applied to win a Stellar Communities designation. The two had remained in contact after working together on the project in Columbus.

“I’ve known Jane for sometime and she has a wealth of experience in (the residential development) arena, so I reached out to (Hendrickson) and asked her to come look at what was going on in Huntingburg,” Curtin said. “She recognized the willingness of the city to be a great partner and a phenomenal opportunity with all the jobs and need for housing Huntingburg.”

After the initial meetings with Spinner, Huntingburg Community Development Director Rachel Steckler and Curtin, Hendrickson knew she could complete a project in Dubois County, and on July 27, the City of Huntingburg along with Boxer Girl announced plans for the Hunters Crossing subdivision to break ground in 2016, just a few weeks after a housing study by economic development organization Dubois Strong pinpointed the need for workforce housing in the area.

“I came in and looked at how we could design it to it’s best capabilities and then found a builder, Jagoe Homes, that met with what the citizens said they needed and what the Dubois Strong housing study reinforced the need for,” Hendrickson said. “I think that’s going to be key in keeping people (here) as well as showing growth in Dubois County.”

In Jasper, Curtin once again worked with city leaders, this time drawing tax increment financing districts in areas of the city that haven’t been touched by development in more than a decade. Being involved in a project a few miles down U.S. 231, Hendrickson heard from Curtin about an opportunity with the old Jasper Cabinet site and initiated discussion with the City of Jasper. Hendrickson remained anonymous until finding a hotel partner in Indianapolis-based General Hotels.

The plan is for the mixed-use building to include a hotel, retail space and loft style apartments — a type of housing the Dubois Strong housing study found the county lacked — and needed to lure younger people to the area.

“With the TIF district approved, it gives us the green light to start working on the hotel as far as confirming what we want to place there. We’ve already had the building assessed for structurally viability, and we’re also working with Department of Natural Resources in regards to make sure where we’re building is in accordance of the floodplain with the Patoka River,” Hendrickson said.

For Jasper, River Centre marks the beginning of a new era in development of the city’s downtown.

“This shows a great deal of belief in Jasper for a developer to come in, look at that property and say, ‘We see something different here,’” said Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz. “We’re extraordinarily happy about having a development like this come into our community and we’re delighted to see Boxer Girl taking that step.”

In Huntingburg, Spinner sees a partner in Boxer Girl and said Hendrickson is more than just a developer swooping into town. He views Hendrickson as somebody who wants to see not only her interest succeed, but the interest of the city and county.

“She has a good grasp on what the local market can bear. She understands small-town development and is willing to work with anybody to make sure these projects are successful,” Spinner said. “(Hendrickson) sees this as more than a business opportunity. She sees this as the type of community where she wants to be and spend some time here on a personal basis.”