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Airport speeds demolition of former passenger terminal

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The former passenger terminal and administration building at Indianapolis International Airport could be rubble by this time next year.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority has accelerated plans to raze the weed-covered complex, abandoned when the midfield terminal opened in 2008.

Demolition had been budgeted to take place over multiple years. But the authority has accelerated the schedule to one year to improve the odds of attracting a new user.

A “blank slate” approach would “substantially increase the area’s marketability, improving the [authority’s] ability to host a project that can offer widespread economic benefits for the region,” Susan Zellers, the airport’s director of planning and project management, told the airport authority board last week.

The 315-acre site on the eastern end of the airport near Interstate 465 offers direct airfield access. So it’s a natural for an air cargo hub, aircraft repair facility or perhaps even as an aircraft factory.

The old terminal’s 1,800-space parking garage will be preserved for use by a new tenant or tenants.

The authority has an $11.3 million budget for demolishing the terminal and the six-story administration building. Moving up the timetable means finding ways to defer or extend other capital projects in a previously approved 2013 capital budget.

The authority also is looking at whether any federal money might be available to reduce its own cash outlay. An aircraft warning light sits atop the former administration building, so the FAA Airports Improvement Program might be tapped, for example.

Parts of the old terminal date to the 1930s. The authority this month hired architectural/engineering consulting firm DLZ Indiana LLC to investigate what environmental hazards might be present, such as asbestos. 

The firm also will determine the best way to demolish the buildings, said airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini.

The next major step will be awarding contracts to demolition firms, sometime early in 2013.

In its real estate marketing plan, the authority has broken up the terminal site and its vast sea of surface parking lots into distinct parcels that could be suitable for multiple tenants. But airport officials haven’t given up hope of landing a single, mega-size tenant.

Currently, the largest single tenant at the airport is FedEx, which operates its No. 2 U.S. cargo hub on the southeast side of the airport. One “fantasy” tenant would be another big cargo carrier such as United Parcel Service, although UPS already operates its primary U.S. air hub in nearby Louisville.

Indianapolis International already has a large aircraft repair facility—the former United Airlines maintenance base—operated by Chicago-based aviation firm AAR Corp.

FedEx and Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings also have large maintenance facilities at the airport.

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  • expansion
    There is no chance that FedEx would move it's headquarters from Memphis to Indianapolis. The Memphis hub is landlocked leaving no room for future expansion which is why other locations including Indianapolis are being considered for future expansion.
  • FedEx Expansion
    I've heard that the airport owns land to the South of I70 and could add runways if FedEx would move their headquarters from Memphis to Indianapolis. They would need this space if they were to do this. Maybe that's the plan.
  • Whose Property
    Since the site, 315 acres, isn't actively used for the airport does the airport retain control of that property? Shouldn't that land go back to the tax rolls and not airport control?
  • Check your geography
    I'm no fan of Peterson, but there is no part of the airport or that interchange that lies in Hendricks County even the new hotels off of Ameriplex Parkway are still in the city limits. Simple geography proves that. The problem you've noted really lies in the fact that the airport board has been tight-fisted over any additional development around the airport. At the old terminal, there were hotels and gas stations nearby. At the new terminal, there is plenty of green space around Perimeter Road that has sat dormant for years now, and I would imagine it is either because the board wants too much money or wants to stick their hands in someone else's profits. The IBJ previously reported that the rental car companies really want a gas station at the airport ASAP, because out-of-towners don't realize they have to drive to 267 in Plainfield or 40 or 67 to fill up their gas tanks.
  • Airport "Sold" to Hendricks County
    It's too bad that Bart Peterson was allowed to "sell" the airport to Hendricks County. It was the primary cause of many businesses in Wayne Township to move or close their doors. Now, business thrives just outside Marion County, where the new businesses, hotels, warehouses, etc. are being built. By moving the main entrance to Hendricks County, Peterson fulfilled his promise made several years ago to "destroy Wayne Township," where republican control was holding up his plans.
    • Demolition
      Sad to see it go. When I was a little girl that is what my family did on a Friday or Saturday. We would sit on the observation deck and guess where all of the planes were going. My mother loved planes.

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