Midfield Terminal and Indianapolis Airport Authority and Indianapolis International Airport and Aviation and Mount Comfort Airport and Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Airport consultant presents long-term land-use plan

December 17, 2010

The Indianapolis Airport Authority board on Friday received a presentation from a consulting firm about long-term land use on and around the airport.

The report by Landrum & Brown, which now will be evaluated, is not a radical departure from preliminary concepts discussed previously. Landrum & Brown were hired in February 2010 to come up with a redevelopment plan.

The plan contemplates seven zones at Indianapolis International Airport that encompass a variety of aviation and non-aviation uses. The most visible would be the “airport gateway complex” at the airport terminal’s entrance, from Interstate 70.

Much as first contemplated a decade ago when the new Indianapolis International Airport terminal was planned, the area between the airport’s two principal runways, southwest of the airfield, would be designated for a mix of retail, restaurant and office facilities. It also would include a long-proposed airport hotel that would be connected to the airport parking garage.

The former airport terminal, just northeast of the new, midfield terminal, has potential use for aviation and air cargo operations. Just east of there on former airport parking lots that border I-465, the plan proposes “Indy Commerce Park,” a mix of retailing, office space, warehousing, manufacturing and distribution, and hotels.

The report notes that the airport authority has long-term plans for a third parallel runway just south of I-70. South of that future runway the report proposes the land be used for related logistics operations.

The report also envisions additional development potential for the authority’s reliever airports, including Metropolitan Airport, in Fishers. The authority abandoned plans to construct a second runway at Metro. Instead, the year-long-study has looked at other uses instead of a second runway, such as office and retail space along 96th Street, on the south edge of Metro.

It was also recommended that some airport property east of Metro could have future uses related to a transit hub, noting its proximity to the Nickel Plate railroad corridor that could become a commuter rail line.

The report also notes potential additional commercial development on the periphery of Indianapolis Regional Airport, formerly known as Mount Comfort Airport.

Landrum’s team earlier this year noted potential for additional aviation and office uses for the downtown heliport. The airport board plans to evaluate Landrum & Brown’s report before deciding whether to adopt all or parts of it–-likely early next year.

Despite ambitious concepts and much hype, the study does not portend immediate investment. Rather it’s to be used to help steer airport officials in development over the next 30 years.

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