Could Super Bowl lift projects?

May 21, 2008
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Super Bowl SceneNews of Indy's successful bid for the 2012 Super Bowl spread quickly among Hoosiers here in Las Vegas. Already, the selection has become a part of sales pitches for new central Indiana developments. But will it provide enough of a boost to compel some of the city's most aggressive development proposals such as Penn Centre and SoDo? Brokers expect the big game will add to the city's momentum, but it won't fundamentally change the market, lead to a rush of new projects or do much to calm a rocky economy. But it could create some urgency for new restaurants, hotels and retailers to open for business by 2012. Ralston Square, a mixed-use development slated for the northeast corner of Meridian and South streets, is slated to be open in time for the Final Four in 2010, said Brian Epstein, the lead developer. The project should be well established by 2012. "Certainly the cachet of being able to host the event will be great for downtown," Epstein said. "It’s another big event we can put on our calendar."

UPDATE: Legends District SoDo is on track to be finished in time for the 2012 Super Bowl, developer Ryan Zickler said today. He said he's been talking with the city about incentives and with performing arts groups about a theater. Zickler believes the big game will help him sell the concept.

  • Does this mean Ralston Square has financing secured?

    I don't see lenders making loan commitments based on one football game, but for projects that are already funded and in the pipe, this is an incentive to get done by 2012.

    The big thing might be providing an impetus to redo many of the downtown streets. Replace/widen sidewalks, add bike lanes, landscaping, etc. Most importantly, use the Warehouse District stoplight arms and street light designs. Imagine the entire Mile Square (and eventually the entire city if it takes my recommendation to standardize on those designs) like that, and see the powerful visual design/branding signature it could leave for the city in people's minds.
  • God forbid someone out of state sees a crack in the side walk. Or TWO light standers that DON’T match. This will be one more resin NOT to fix any areas outside of the downtown core. Pulling need money from areas ALREADY in the pipeline or in need of MAJOR work. But as long as Downtown looks good for that WEEK. Who care about the out laying areas or the TAX payer that’s paying for it? I don't mind paying my city tax, as long as I see some of it used in my area of town. AND I’M NOT SEEING THAT.. The New Tec High school project is good. The SB is good for the City. But it will not help the near east side that much. In the long run, it is just a New Indoor field for Tec. Helping the school more then the area. You will not even be able to see it from the street. And who is going to pay for the upkeep years down the road. THE TAX PAYER!!! NOT THE NFL. So, as for it bring in new business and restaurants or upgrading the housing in the area. I just don’t see it happing.

    This reminds me of a friend I had some time ago. He would always mow his front lawn but not his back yard. When asked why. He would answer. You can’t see the back yard from the street. Who cares what the back yard looks like.

  • Where's that Pan Am proposal update you were eluding to yesterday? :)
  • With the big game, I suspect that we should see the completion of announced/propsed projects that have already been planned for the downtown. Ralston Sq, SoDo, Stutz, etc as this will be the incentive to get completed. FURTHER, I am going to go on a limb and predict that a light rail line form the airport to downtown WILL BE BUILT by 2012. As a member of the IRTC, we are moving full-speed ahead with plans for commuter rail from Noblesville to Union Station, but think of what an actual rail line from the new airport to Union Station would do for our SuperBowl guests as well as the many other conventioners that come to the Circle City? The SuperBowl is going to have a huge effect on Indy's convention buisness as it will show that the City can handle any-sized event. Rail form Union Station to the airport is the final piece to secure Indianapolis as one of the nations pre-eminent convention cities. Without it, we will continue to be grouped with the Louisvilles and Cincinnatis of the world instead of the Las Vegas, Denver and Seattles.
  • Gosh, CoryW, maybe they should test their whole plan and do the rail from the airport to Union Station *first*. Then they can focus on the northeast side, since there is a bridge and several miles of rail to be built to complete that line.
  • Would love to see all of these projects go forward, especially Penn Centre, SoDo, Stutz and the Merrill Tower. All would help to enhance the skyline and widen the D/T footprint.
  • It looks like someone found their way here from the Indy Star forums.


    I agree with the Urbanophile, it would be extremely prudent to standardize the designs of downtown fixtures and improve the pedestrian experience downtown prior to 2012. The Indianapolis MPO has been working on a multi-modal transportation plan for downtown that would make an excellent starting point.

    I hope you are right CoryW, and I will one-up your prediction! I bet that securing the 2012 Super Bowl has put wind in the sail of the newly formed Downtown Indianapolis Streetcar Corp. and we will not only see a train running to the airport, but streetcars running in downtown Indianapolis streets once again by 2012!

    One can dream, can't he? :-)
  • Bob,

    Wah, wah , wah, wah, wah!

    Years ago, Indy forgot all about the core of the city. Now that it has been restored and continually improved, things will always work out from there. That is the only way. You should see this by now.
  • More than SoDo or Ralston Square, I'd think Penn Centre figures to benefit from the Super Bowl announcement, given its proximity to the Super Bowl village. Unfortunately, any businessman worth his salt will realize that the benefit of Super Bowl week(s) is slim in the grand scheme of financing a project.
  • I just wish something would happen with the MSA site. I'm sick of that ugly eye sore.
  • yessir......I agree with you. Even if they build more condos and maybe a coffee shop to go with the condos. Maybe places to eat too.
  • A practical solution for MSA is a connector to CCBldg as an annex. Not only is the CC Bldg 60's ugly, outgrew its' serviceable office/courts area 20 years ago. This is a need,..not a 'what can we put in here' solution. If there's ample room, then a good mixed project. Secondly, city officials need to pressure the parties involved in the stagnant exterior repair of the INB tower. Thirdly, the C-County folks along with law enforcement should proceed with stiffer penalties re public property defacement/graffitti...similar to what is being done regarding panhandlers.
  • Although Bob's spelling is about as sharp as a plastic knife dropped into a campfire, it seems a valid concern to question whether preparation for the Super Bowl will result in a siphoning of funds that would have otherwise been utilized to improve infrastructure outside downtown.

    I don't know exactly what the $25 million of private money that has been raised thus far to support Indy's Super Bowl bid is going to pay for, but hopefully it and/or more private money can be raised to pay for the frilly downtown improvements. Are Bart's welcome to the City signs still up? How did they read? Building a World Class City: Neighborhood by Neighborhood? ...One Neighborhood at a Time? I can't remember exactly, but I'm sure it didn't say Placing all your proverbial eggs in the downtown basket.
  • I hate to be negative, but I don't think 4 years is sufficient time to build even 20 feet of light rail line.

    Also, while I completely agree with and admire Urbanophile's desire to see a respectable urban design scheme for downtown, I think the biggest hindrance for the downtown pedestrian experience is all the empty storefronts. How can we address *that* issue ebfor the Super Bowl?
  • Donna-

    I have to ask, what downtown have you been walking in that contains all of these empty storefronts that you speak of? It certainly isn't downtown Indianapolis, at least not within the core/Mile Square. Indy is actually well ahead of the curve on this one. Yes, there is space to lease downtown (just like in EVERY CBD) but Indy's downtown market continues to thrive and new restaurants etc are opening every month. Further, unlike many downtowns (Cincy & Louisvillec ome to mind) the space above the ground floor retail is also taken. Take Meridian Street for example. Just a few years ago, there may have been restaurants, shops, or bars on the ground floor, but the upper floors were boarded up and empty. NOW, condos, hotels, apartments and offices fill nearly EVERY building from the Circle south the Union Station. This is great for our CBD and it is only getting better.
  • So if there is a players strike in 2010 what is the possibility of it carrying over in to 2011 and ruining our party? Hope the leaders thought about that.
  • The only impact the Super Bowl will have is on the NFL's wallet. The city will be sucked dry as demands increase internally and externally for various improvements, etc.

    The whole downtown scheme is nothing more than a pyramid/ponzi scheme that unfortunately may never end since tax dollars can continuously be siphoned away from the schools and other municipal obligations through the use of TIFs and abatements.

    So, we got suckered into throwing the NFL's party for them. Many city employees who should otherwise be engaged in other activities will basically be party planners. Since everyone seems to believe that party planning should be a primary objective of the city, I wish the city would just make it official and create the Division of Party and Event Planning in DMD. Obviously, all of these important events are the lifeblood of the city, so we need to get serious about it and stop half-a**ing it.

    By the way, the reason that nothing is getting built at MSA is because there is no real demand for that type of project, particularly not at the unaffordable prices proposed.
  • SOS, what don't you get about TIFs? Without a TIF a project (like Circle Centre or JWMarriott) wouldn't happen. So there would be no increase in taxes to any taxing entity...status quo. Prime example: MSA site. No TIF means a permanent gravel parking lot owned by the city generating one or two minimum wage attendant jobs and minimal lease revenue from the operator. As a City taxpayer, I'm outraged by that horrible underutilization of prime government-owned downtown land and the lack of economic activity on the site.

    Schools and other municipal corporations don't lose anything to downtown TIFs: their costs don't increase because the new downtown developments don't require new schools or buslines or libraries to serve them, and they still get whatever tax revenue they got from a site before it was developed.

    Most importantly the new developments generate jobs and spending. Wage, sales (and in the case of the JWMarriott, hotel) taxes accrue to the city and state as a result of new economic activity on the site.

    There is one simple law of economics in play here: more economic activty is better for a city. Especially for Center Township and for those of us who live here. The rising tide of development lifts the near-downtown neighborhoods and makes our properties more valuable.
  • thundermutt-

    You can explain TIF's to misinformed people until the cows come home, unfortunately, they refuse to listen/understand. To the naysayers, it's tax money and that is all they can wrap their little heads around.

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  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.