New Major Development Planned for Downtown Indy

By: Daniel M. Drewry

Inside Indiana Business and IBJ have reported this morning that a $150 million mixed-use development has been planned for 10 acres of land owned by Eli Lilly and Co. near its downtown campus.;

The development will include a hotel, 320 apartments, 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and potentially a 75,000 square foot YMCA. The Project, called ‘North of South’ stemming from its location north of South Street and between Delaware Street and Virginia Avenue, will be a private-public partnership involving the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Co. and developer Buckingham Companies. Early reports are that the Project will be funded from a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district if approved by the City-County Council. According to Inside Indiana, a study by London Witte & Co. expects the Project to have an overall economic impact of $350 million in consumer spending and income generation, as well as more than 2,400 temporary and permanent jobs.

From an industry standpoint, this development will provide Indy-area contractors with another major construction project to help fill the void left by the economic downturn and recession, not to mention that created once the JW Marriott and Convention Center come online. In addition to the size and scope of the development (and attendant volume of work opportunities that size provides), this project is also significant in that it falls outside the health care and government sectors, which have been the two sectors that have stayed relatively active throughout the downturn (the operative term being “relatively”). We have heard rumblings that banks have recently begun to circle back to developers for the first time in the past two years – could this development be an indication of better times ahead? Also, this marks yet another $100 million plus mixed-use public-private partnership development in Central Indiana, with Carmel City Center and the near-east side redevelopment and earlier Fall Creek Place revitalization being other examples. As the industry emerges from the downturn, will we continue to see more and more public-private partnerships? If so, these partnerships could alter the way many contractors pursue and obtain future work opportunities, but will it be for the better?