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City expected to tap Flaherty & Collins for former MSA site

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The prolific local developer Flaherty & Collins Properties is expected to land a deal with the city to build a residential and commercial skyscraper on part of the former home of Market Square Arena, multiple sources said Monday evening.

The company, which developed the Cosmopolitan on the Canal project and is building the adjacent $85 million Axis at Block 400, is one of six teams that had proposed mixed-use structures ranging from eight to 52 stories for the roughly 2-acre parcel directly east of City Market.

Flaherty's plans call for a shorter structure than the 52-story option proposed by locally based Keystone Group and Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, but the firm's proposal is expected to be substantially taller than the shortest option.

City officials have refused to release details of the bids despite repeated requests, citing the need to negotiate in confidence. Real estate sources said each plan includes a mix of apartments and retail space. Some also envisioned office space.

Flaherty & Collins CEO David Flaherty declined to discuss the project when reached by email late Monday.

"Not in a position to talk at this time," he wrote, "but should be a very exciting day for Indianapolis tomorrow."

Mayor Greg Ballard is scheduled to announce the city's choice at a 10 a.m. press conference on the site, which has served as a surface parking lot since the arena's implosion in 2001.

Previous attempts to redevelop the property failed in 2004 and 2007, under former Mayor Bart Peterson. City officials decided to offer only the northern half of the arena site this time around, in hopes a first phase would help drive demand for a second one.

The deal is likely to involve city incentives that could include some combination of tax-increment-financing revenue, free land or an allowance for infrastructure. The city freed up the land for the Axis at 400 project, which will include a Marsh grocery store and 500 apartments, by agreeing to build an $11 million parking garage to replace OneAmerica's surface lots.

Several other big-name local developers floated plans for the MSA site: Buckingham and Kite Realty Group; Browning Investments and The Whitsett Group; Milhaus Development and REI Real Estate Services LLC; and Barrett & Stokely Inc. and Ryan Companies US Inc.

Check IBJ.com for updates on Tuesday morning.

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  • UGH
    28 stories only? Transformative to the skyline my a$$! What a letdown!
  • Hmph?
    Really? You haven't been told a single detail about the project (other than the probable developer) and already your whining that the city "misses the mark big time"? Some of you people.... sheesh
  • quality
    Whoever gets the nod please make sure they use quality materials. I am tired of seeing these matchbook structures going up all around indy. Brick and mortar and steel is the way it should feel.
  • F&C
    The Flaherty & Collins tower in Charlotte NEVER HAPPENED. So they don't have a good track record....
  • Calm Down
    I am no fan of Ballard and no matter what you think of the financing, you have to give his administration credit for some of the mixed use developments downtown. Yes, I would have loved to see the 52 story tower, but without seeing the proposals, just assuming it was the best choice is showing your own stupidity. If this is a mid range tower and the sell the hell out of it, there is also no reason the other parcel couldn't hold a larger tower, too. So, quite being so negative... At least these holes are finally being filled, and hopefully, it has some height to it!
  • Excited!
    I'm excited to see what F&C has planned for this site. They have done high rise residential/retail before including a 50 story tower in Charlotte and a new 30 story project being worked on in Cincy. They have the know how and experience to actually get a project like this complete. I too would have enjoyed seeing the Keystone 52 story tower but I think the financials on that project would have been much more challenging to make work. I look forward to seeing the rendering for what F&C has planned for this site! The Axis project is already making a big impact on the Northwest side of dowtown. I think this will have an even bigger impact on the East side.
  • Make No Small Plans
    Sounds like the 52 story tower designers should have found a way to link their building to the Colts or Pacers, or perhaps to cricket.
  • As usual
    The city misses the mark big time when it comes to downtown development. Is anyone honestly surprised? I don't know which city's skyline has remained stagnant the longest: Detroit or Indianapolis. It's cute that they're calling it a game changer for the cityscape--but seriously, a ten-story building? Please. A ten-story building wouldn't stand out in Keystone at the Crossing, let alone downtown.

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    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

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