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City agency signs off on North of South site plans

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The massive North of South mixed-use project cleared another hurdle Thursday morning when a city agency approved preliminary site plans.

Indianapolis’ Regional Center Hearing Examiner signed off on the $155 million development’s master plan, though final review of each of its 10 buildings will be done on a case-by-case basis in the future.

The complex, to be built primarily on Eli Lilly and Co.-owned parking lots at Delaware and South streets, is to include a boutique hotel, a YMCA, apartments and retail and office space.

The project’s developer, locally based Buckingham Cos., expects to finish construction within two years.

Because the site is within the Regional Center overlay district,  the project needs to comply with Regional Center Urban Design guidelines.

North of South’s site plans now will go before the Metropolitan Development Commission. If no one files an appeal, which seems unlikely at this stage, MDC could adopt the plans at its next meeting March 2.

“There’s still a considerable amount of work to be done on the final design,” said Tim Ochs, a lawyer at Ice Miller LLP representing Buckingham. “But we’re moving forward; we’re making progress.”

In the meantime, the City-County Council still needs to approve financing. Buckingham hopes to help finance the project with $98 million in proceeds from the sale of municipal bonds.

A preliminary vote on the bond sale by the council’s economic development committee had been set for the committee’s regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 2, but that meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.

Instead, the committee held a special meeting Feb. 4 to consider the financial package so that the matter could be taken up Monday night by the full council. The committee voted 7-0 in favor of the project, but the city’s failure to post notice of the special meeting at least 48 hours in advance appeared to be a violation of the state’s Open Door Law.

Rather than have that become an issue, the council voted unanimously Monday night to send the financial package back to the committee for consideration. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 16. If the committee once again recommends approval of the measure, the full council could vote at its next meeting on Feb. 28.

Pending approval, Buckingham expects to start construction on one of two parking garages and the 158-room hotel in April.

The developer has spent three years working with Lilly to formulate plans for North of South. Buckingham, Lilly and the city announced the effort last September, at which time Buckingham expressed hope it could break ground on the project by the end of 2010.

Lilly, which is partnering with Buckingham on the project, says North of South would help connect the Lilly corporate campus with downtown proper and offer amenities that would help the pharmaceutical firm attract and retain employees.
 

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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