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Fishers Marketplace gets new life under Thompson Thrift

September 25, 2012

A high-end apartment project and neighborhood retail center are scheduled to break ground soon as the first components of the retooled Fishers Marketplace development at State Road 37 and 131st Street.

Terre Haute-based Thompson Thrift is master developer for the 104-acre, mixed-use project, which is being built on land owned by Old National Bank. Until a few months ago, ownership of the site had been split between Evansville-based Old National and Fifth Third Bank, based in Cincinnati.

The consolidation of ownership has allowed Thompson Thrift to crank up efforts to get the project rolling following false starts by other developers prior to the recession.

“We’re focused on establishing an identity for the project,” said Ashlee Boyd, senior vice president at Thompson Thrift, who noted that market conditions are still very challenging.

“It’s taken us awhile to lock onto something that is viable in today’s marketplace,” Boyd said.

Thompson has been focused on improving the site by installing storm and sanitary sewers and building Parkside Drive, the main road through the complex. Parkside Drive, which is about 80 percent complete, starts at 131st Street and runs north before turning toward State Road 37, where traffic signals are being installed.

The entry points will help market the project, Boyd said. The developer is working with New York-based Create Architecture Planning & Design to give the complex a distinct, upscale look, he said.  

The first part of Fishers Marketplace to come out of the ground should be Addison Landing at Fishers Marketplace, a 294-unit complex of one- to three-bedroom apartments being developed on 17 acres by locally based Rookwood Builders. Construction of the $25 million project should start before the end of the year, with completion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Next up will be a 15,000-square-foot neighborhood retail center Thompson Thrift is developing, with groundbreaking anticipated next spring. The retail center will likely be the first component of the so-called Market District at Fishers Marketplace, which Boyd said could include 60,000 to 65,000 of additional retail space, including a retail anchor and several outlots. The entire retail area is expected to represent an investment of between $13 million and $15 million. 

Thompson Thrift’s bigger-picture goal is to secure a tenant for the development’s 60-acre Entertainment District, which at one time was to be anchored by a water park and a 244-room Wyndham Hotel. That $80 million project by Indianapolis-based Puller Group never got off the ground and the property was foreclosed on in 2010 by Fifth Third Bank.

Puller Group had purchased the land from local developer Skojdt Thomas, which bought the entire 104 acres in 2005 for about $16 million intending to replace Britton Golf Course. Skojdt Thomas saw the land as too valuable for a golf course, but wasn’t able to redevelop its half of the site and ultimately lost it to Old National.

Bill Flanary, a senior vice president in the land group at Cassidy Turley, agrees the site seems ripe for development.

One of the challenges of the site is that it isn’t very deep west to east, Flanary said. But the long frontage along SR 37 means there is a lot of potential for outlots.

Speaking of the surrounding area, Flanary said “it’s got too much traffic and too many houses not to work for someone.”

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