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City exploring Mass Ave redevelopment options

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Indianapolis’ economic development arm will begin exploring the feasibility of redeveloping city-owned property along Massachusetts Avenue and North New Jersey Street, Mayor Greg Ballard’s office announced Friday morning.

Sites to be studied include 555 N. New Jersey St., the location of Indianapolis Fire Department administrative offices and Station No. 7, as well as 501 N. New Jersey St., the location of the Firefighters Credit Union.

All three facilities will be relocated to nearby sites if redevelopment is feasible, the mayor said.

An upshot for the city is that the prime New Jersey Street property, which borders Massachusetts Avenue, could be sold to private developers, raising money for the city and potentially adding to the tax base.

“The Massachusetts Avenue site provides yet another opportunity for us to stimulate economic growth in an important area of our city,” Ballard said in a prepared statement. “With input from the neighborhood and business owners, we will consider what options provide maximum benefit to residents, visitors and merchants in this vibrant and growing district.”

The city has hired the local office of real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis to assess the sites and possible redevelopment options.

Develop Indy and city officials will seek public input on the project later this month or in early August. A final decision on whether to move forward with redevelopment is expected by late summer.

A key factor in the decision will be the cost of relocating the IFD facilities and the availability of alternative sites within close proximity to the current location.

Because Fire Station No. 7 serves the downtown high-rise district and surrounding neighborhoods, identifying a nearby site within the current service area is a critical requirement. City officials say they think proceeds from a redevelopment project could offset the cost of relocating the IFD facilities.

The moves are part of a real estate overhaul led by Public Safety Director Frank Straub to better connect police and fire services with the neighborhoods they serve, consolidate office space to save on lease expenses, and help spark revitalization in parts of the city that have been starved of investment.
 
Overall, the city’s Department of Public Safety wants to open police-and-fire hubs in two former IPS schools, retrofit a former Eastgate mall department store into an Emergency Operations Center, and build at least two fire stations.

 

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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