Demolition began Monday morning on a vacant Budget Inn motel near Interstate 465 that the town of Speedway purchased in hopes of redeveloping the blighted property.
Speedway officials earlier this year paid $750,000 for the 3.2-acre property that contains the 112-room motel, which closed more than a year ago.
The property on North High School Road near Crawfordsville Road will be converted into green space until it can be redeveloped, said Scott Harris, executive director of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission.
The parcel on Speedway’s west side is not a direct part of the town’s highly publicized "Speed Zone" redevelopment effort. But Harris said it’s still an important related piece.
“That’s our commercial corridor and the gateway to our city,” he said.
Speedway officials broke ground last November on the first phase of a $500 million redevelopment project they hope will transform the small town into a year-round racing-themed destination. Initial work involves $6.7 million in road improvements to Main Street, laying the foundation for redevelopment to follow.
The Speed Zone plan calls for new roads, parks, retail, restaurants and entertainment attractions to improve the Main Street business district and surrounding neighborhoods.
The ambitious redevelopment includes more than 350 acres from Main Street to Holt Road and from 16th to 10th streets, just south of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In all, 2.5 million square feet of new development could be constructed, which could return a 10-year economic impact of up to $5.2 billion and more than 2,000 jobs, Speedway officials say.
The improvements to Main Street should be finished by May, in time for the Indianapolis 500’s centennial celebration.
Demolition of the vacant hotel, expected to take between 30 and 45 days, will cost an estimated $144,000 and will be paid for with funds generated by a tax increment financing district. The Speedway Police Department reported nearly 40 police runs to the property within the past six months. The town's fire department used the vacant building for training.