Developer making final push for embattled Uptown project

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Developer Leif Hinterberger has spent five years and most of his life savings trying to build a $19 million mixed-use project along College Avenue between 49th and 50th streets.

But the project—which would have been a tough deal even for a much-larger and richer developer—could be in trouble if Hinterberger doesn't land city support, and soon.

The owner of locally based Carreau Design Corp. has refused to give up on his vision for The Uptown despite repeated setbacks, including numerous design changes in a chase to capture government grants, a growing sense of frustration among neighbors tired of looking at vacant buildings, and a lousy economic and lending environment.

Hinterberger has defaulted on loans he took out to buy three duplexes he needs for the project, and the lenders are negotiating a potential short sale to buyers unaffiliated with the development group. The sales haven't closed, but Hinterberger said if he loses control of the properties, there's a good chance the project will "blow up."

In a bid to keep the development on track, Hinterberger has launched a lobbying effort to win government support to reinvest in a neighborhood that for years has contributed more in tax dollars than it has received back. The project, he argues, would help stabilize neighborhoods and a tax base within a 5-mile area that has lost more than 100,000 residents in the last 20 years.

He has gathered more than 400 signatures on a petition and has encouraged neighborhood groups, including the College Avenue Neighborhood Development Organization, Harmoni Inc. and the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association to promote the project on their own websites.

Hinterberger shared an update on The Uptown project during a presentation late Tuesday for the land-use arm of the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association.

He wants the city to set up a tax-increment-finance district, or TIF, to support his and other neighborhood projects. The idea is to level the playing field, making it as economically feasible to build infill projects in neighborhoods already served by streets and sewers as it is to build in cornfields in the suburbs.

For The Uptown, existing buildings must be demolished and contaminated soil cleaned up before the new building can go vertical.

"I can't keep writing checks," said Hinterberger, who already has put up his "primary residence, office and family's booty" as collateral. "We've got an impact project ready to go. We can't keep delaying. Now it's up to the city to do the right thing."

The goal is to secure roughly $1.5 million in grants each from the city, state and federal government—investments Hinterberger said the project would more than pay back over 25 years with increased tax revenue and the creation of 109 jobs. He also plans to seek tax credits for developing low-income housing.

The current annual tax bill of $13,000 for the properties would rise to an estimated $180,000 once the project is built.

He said he's making good progress in talks with the city and suggested that funds raised from the transfer of the city's water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group could help push The Uptown toward a groundbreaking.

The latest plans call for 46 apartment units over first-floor retail, varying from one-story along 49th Street to two- and three-story portions along College Avenue. All of the units would be classified as affordable, with eligible renters earning less than $36,000. Parking would be behind the building.

The total project would be 65,000 square feet, down from an earlier proposal for 180,000 square feet. Hinterberger had sought $4 million from a TIF district for the earlier version.

His company to date has paid $3.8 million to acquire the property and develop the plans, and also spent $1.2 million renovating the historic building at the southwest corner of 49th Street and College Avenue into the Uptown Business Center. The Uptown project itself would cost about $15 million to build, he said.

Neighbors are tired of waiting for the much-hyped project that today looks more like an overgrown and neglected eyesore. Roofs on the buildings have caved. People dump trash on the site.

"You talk about blight," said neighbor Eric Iverson, who has looked out on the proposed redevelopment site for 17 years. "Right now you own the blight."

Bill Blue, an architect and land-use board member of the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood group, told Hinterberger he could have "endeared" himself to the neighborhood by investing something in the properties while he pursued his vision. Instead, the homes have remained vacant.

Hinterberger implored the neighbors to support what he sees as a transformational development that would reduce blight, add to the area's population and employ numerous green features.

Developing in a sustainable fashion is much more difficult than throwing up a strip center, he said.

If he can get the project moving, plenty of tenants are interested. Hinterberger has collected letters of intent for 94 percent of the proposed retail space. One of them, Pizzology owner and veteran restaurateur Neal Brown, was on hand Tuesday to hear the update.


  • Disappointed
    Has any progress been made with this project? My wife and I have been down to the Upland tasting room a couple times and love it, but would very much like to see more development going into the 49 & College node.

    That, plus the vacant buildings are an eyesore to drive by every day on my commute to and from downtown.

    Thanks IBJ!
  • really discouraging news
    As young, first-time homebuyers, my wife and I were really excited about this development when we moved in just a few blocks east of the site two years ago. Since then, I've driven past it every day and seen it decay more and more as I hoped they would achieve the breakthroughs they needed to begin development. After all, we were sure this was going to grow into the central hub of our new neighborhood community.

    But time goes on...and on...and on...and the property falls apart even more...and the news from the last month sounds grim at best. Thinking that it might never come to fruition, especially if the properties are parceled out in short sale, is really disappointing, as someone who only recently made an (admittedly modest) investment in this community myself.
  • You go girl!
    Too bad others couldn't figure out what you were able to; thank you. Wonder what excuses others will have when they all run for cover after blindly supporting the project without bothering to understand it.
  • Dazed
    After reading Leif's long posts, I continue to be confused as his ramblings make no sense to me. All I can say is best summarized at the following link;
  • Out of date website
    Leif, your floor plans are out of date. Are the renderings current? Why can't you answer the questions asked below?
  • Correction
    Leif, we met three times. I came to your design studio on three separate occasions in the spring. I have all my notes with dates. In addition, we spoke on the phone probably four times, maybe five. The last time, you were very angry. And I wasn't too happy, either.
    I also have the printed material you gave me..quite a bit.
    Surely, your memory at your age is equal to mine, aged 63, BTW, my name is spelled HOLLADAY.
    With any luck at all, your venture at 49th and College is what is called "a teachable moment." Learn from your mistakes, and move on.
    • Blog Clarifications
      Mrs. Holiday, I am sure you are well versed on many subjects, although here your comments need clarification. I met with you once about 8 months ago for about 45 minutes & have talked with you on the phone twice since then for a few minutes. You have hardly spent time finding out what the coalition of groups are doing, as we work together. So as you seem confused here is some clarification.

      ReBloom UpTown�s Plan
      Addressing a broad range of community issues:
      Our collaborative approach, working closely with community organizations,
      City, State, and Federal government agencies increases our ability to develop,
      support and build strong broad-based coalitions. Since success breeds success,
      this approach also brings about positive change in regional planning programs,
      improvements in brown to green redevelopment, quality of life, and
      reinvestment into long range sustainable community growth.

      Comprehensive Community Redevelopment
      Housing, Community Services, Sustainable Solutions
      Impact Project Benefits:

      Create Tax Base ââ?¬Å?Localââ?¬Â?
      Production of Jobs
      Project is Ready to Go
      Reduction of Blight, Crime, Property Tax, and Foreclosures
      Addresses Migration: Brain Drain & Migration Lost Demographics
      Completes Streets / sidewalks, bump outs, bike paths
      Creates Places People Want to Be
      Quality of Life / Attracts Life Science Tech. / Human Capital
      Reduces Spending and Larger Government
      Multiplier Effects: Saves Money & Makes Money = ROI
      LEED Gold / Saves Energy / Quality Construction�..
      Reduces Carbon Emissions
      Sets Foundation for Comprehensive Corridor & Regional Plan
      Reconnecting Midtown to Downtown
      Mixed Use By Design Creates Infrastructure & Foundation to:

      These community organizations CAN DO!, Meridian Kessler, Harmoni, Linking Families, and Carreau Design have all been working together and soon you will see the Coalition, Community Team Partners web site www.ReBloomUptown.com

      If people have more questions this site will have community call to action steps, frequently asked questions / answers; definitions of terms and other coalition Community Partner information.

      As the coalition of groups working together to ReBloom UpTown, Rebuild the center of our community, the center of Meridian Kessler, CAN DO! & Harmoni districts, this will hopefully assist preventing more miscellaneous non factual chatter, but more importantly set the foundation to message correctly all the hard work that we have completed. And now with the City and State leadership we can leverage the needed dollars to by Design rebuild our community.

      In the interim please take a look at www.CarreauDesign.Com our corporate site and www.Uptown-Indy.com The Uptown project specific site. FYI we are in the process working on the final drawings, the reduction of units to meet the every changing guideline of the public partnership and their priorities. Now is the time for the City to have the needed support for our City�s and community Master Plans, comprehensively.
      • TIF

        You can't use the equity from the sale of tax credits to pay acquisition costs.
      • Read local blog for another perspective on project!
        See Ruth Hollday's blog on the proposed project

      • Valuations & City Public Partnership
        The Bottom Line Land Valuations: The costs of the land, the block strategic assemblage was bought 50% to the existing land lease values; the Fresh Market, Key Bank , and Old National sites that are in place right up the street. After the costs of doing the extra work to do comprehensive community redevelopment, working with the Neighborhoods, City, State, and Feds to design the project that will create long term sustainable solutions for many of the neighborhood and corridors obstacles, vs. just making money for the developer with a single tenant big box retailer and other inherent obstacles. These existing values, the comps set the foundation for the appraisals that show mixed use values are higher than just retail or just residential. Now from all the upfront time, energy, and money, the Uptown Mixed Use project has the opportunity to purchase the assembled land, for the better project for less than (450 thousand dollars less than)the existing retail and residential land lease appraised values.

        The real issue is: This alone will not get the project built. The imperative need for success is for the City to initiate the Public Private Partnership with the Community Team Partners, to ReBloom UpTown.

        To date the neighborhood, City, and State have enforced form based code zoning, which at this most important location is agreed upon by all is needed; although City has not followed through with the public private partnership, the financial commitments that were outlined as imperative & going to happen. The current public delays are stopping our community, corridor, developer, City, and State, the ability to have the ROI and layers of sustainable benefits for the many. Continued delays not only brings lower values to the block lost property Tax, Sales Tax and Income Tax, it continues to rot out the community with the triple loss effects, from loss of positive gains, and is compounded by more losses. By the numbers the delays create a triple whammy vs the triple benefits, the sustainable solution, the multiplier effects of savings and gains, compounding alternative revenues. This is studied and proven economic modeling from many National and Local economist experts, showing the pay back, the thousands of times over, the ROI from our Public Private Investment Partnership.
        The City could come in right now, make money, save money, leverage more money from our State and Feds for our community, and other communities with this imperative need showing an example of Smart Growth. They could do this, while creating a place where people want to be.

        Now is the Time. The Federal and State laws have changed and the funding sources are available and with the right public leadership, to do this at places that give the ROI we can work together to stabilize the largest financial changes in the history of our country, the Global Economy. The economist are reshaping how we do things and we have got to be able to have the leaders that will implement swiftly these proven bipartisan practices of saving & making money while making our communities and Cities better. We need to implement the only fiscally responsible thing to do today, put our private dollars and tax dollars back to work, producing more with less, smart growth saving and ROI creating the multiplier effects of more compounding returns. Because of todays global economy, it is imperative to by reset the foundation of our existing communities to have long term sustainable solutions, while we create more ROI for our investments, thousand of time over.

        After studying the national models and then this local model, project specific public ROI, it is large, 72 percent annual without adding in the multiplier, compounding effects of the other benefits, saving, and other revenues. Now is the Time for the City to initiate the leveraging of the needed State, Federal, and other private money to come to our city, starting with this highest and best impact location, where the impact can give back the ROI. and then Multiply this to many other locations.

        This highest and best location, The UpTown project is ready to go, currently funded with more upfront private dollars than it takes once the project is stabilized and occupied. Now for success to happen we need to see the initiation of the Partnership, the City partnering with the project and the Community Team Partners. If not but for the City leadership assisting this opportunity we could clean up our corridor and community with proven success, by Design.
        Together with their leadership we can create the Win, Win, Wins.

        To whom it concerns, hope this begins to answer mixed use valuation questions as we work together to regain the center of our community and corridors back, by Design.
      • To Enlightened
        If the best 'value' for the property is as a unified block, and the current project is simply overpriced because of debt (and, perhaps the city isn't jumping in because of the price?) why wouldn't another developer be able to acumulate the existing parcels if they do become available, and revive the project at a more reasonable cost?
      • Contact Sir Leif
        C'mon Dick and Debbie Downer....give Leif a phone call. He's open book and transparent. You will not win this debate. His phone # is down below.
      • Hey Tippe Tyler.....
        You are flat out tipsy!! Recess ain't paying no rent, Upland rents from Leif, and Fresh Market got City aid.

        The private sector can't/won't get it done all by itself. It's a new day and model of public/ private partnership. Govt. must step up and provide the right incentives which spurs economic growth and job creation.
      • And...
        how many of the units will be studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms?
      • More details please
        Leif, how many of your letters of support are for the current project or for the original project? In the original project, 12 of 72 units were devoted to market-rate rents. What is the income breakdown of the current project? How many units will be very low income, how many low income and how many low-moderate income? What are the maximum area median incomes for those breakdowns?
      • No accurate thinker
        No accurate thinker will judge another person by that which the other person's enemies say about him. Napoleon Hill
        I think it is very easy to rip on the guy doing most of the foundational work and investment for our community and City to have this imperative opportunity. I think that the few complainers should be ashamed, donâ??t know better, or have ulterior motives. I think that you are right the project is a great one and the City and State delays are unconscionable. I think that it is too easy to complain about the developer and have the City and State filibuster these needed examples of successful reinvestment into our community with more delays.
        Those who just complain should not interrupt the person doing it. ....They should offer to assist!
        From what I have seen about the project, itâ??s ready to go, and now needs the City to create the public private opportunity which create success for the many. The City should give the developer and the community groups the opportunity to rebuild our community. They have earned the right to rebuild this important project.
      • missing my point
        MK you are missing my point. I don't care who the CDC is that gets the funding. Part of the problem is Leif himself. He has managed to endear himself to both the city, state, and neighborhood in such a way that the relationship is holding the project back. The simple fact is however, the project rocks! Will it produce all of the tax benefits and job creation as proposed, maybe.. What it will produce is a copyable template to use to bring up the communities and increase property values as well as elevate the quality of life for the residents. The local community groups are shortsighted in focusing on Leif rather than the project.
        There is no doubt that the property is not worth 3.8M it has never been worth that amount. Most of that figure is interest expense. We need to have the city assist in bailing out this project, pay of the lenders and put this property up for auction under the promise that a similar project be completed. A private developer could lop the top off of this project leaving only the retail, and create a nice destination place for the residents who deserve it.Or add levels of housing that are not rent controlled and better match the area. The current project needed the low rent flats as a way to pay for the project.

        If a short sale does happen the block will immediately lose its value as it will be sold in parts and never become what it could be.

        I can tell you for sure that if nothing is done these properties will fall apart and look far worse than they do now. The question is do you want more of the same and have no improvement, or are you willing to look past your dislike of one man and fight for the chance to have something special.

        I will say that I have no personal connection to CANDO or Leif. I do not live in Marion county, but had an inside look at the project from a lending prospective. I have followed its progress as it captivated me as such a great idea.

        MK if you live in the area you know how much something like this is needed!


      • A note of thanks & transparency from the Developer:
        First, thank you all for your comments, positive and negative. Spirited debate founded this great nation.

        I think it�s safe to say that many of us could go on forever talking about sustaining our neighborhoods, or beat the drum about the $60 million in property tax revenue that is channeled out of our neighborhoods for other projects. We could rant about the 1900+ foreclosures in Meridian Kessler & surrounding areas, what that means to our property values, and our neighborhoods safety. Or we could explain the importance of steering City, State and Federal monies to our front porches for the betterment of our neighborhoods and lives. I think we all get it, we need to ReBuild Indy. ReBloom Uptown

        So, instead, what I�d like to do is keep this simple. It is crunch time on the revitalization impact project that we have been working on night and day to fund. And it�s time to simply state; where we are on cost, outline our intent, next steps, and define the return on investment for our partners.

        First, the cost, our intent and next steps:

        � Over the past five (5) years Carreau Design has invested $3.8 million in cash and financing to acquire (one property at a time) the west side of the block at 49th and College in an effort to create a real impact on the neighborhood�s livability. During this time we have worked with outside firms and consultants to develop and submit a series of revitalization plans to the city, state and federal authorities for approval. In the early stages, our plans were pre-approved and we moved forward based on their support and encouragement. During the development phase, in order to keep up with the evolving requirements for housing, tax, and green construction programs, we were required to revise the site plan for eligibility. We have most recently done this again, based on our existing government and community recommendations we again modified, reducing the project from 72 units to 46 units. I am happy to say that we, the project, and as we all know the neighborhood is ready, and have been for sometime.

        � Today, we need the City and State to follow through on their commitment to provide the necessary financial reinvestments in infrastructure and tax support in order to sustain the project for the neighborhood and enable us to prepare the site prior to breaking ground. This element is key to our success.

        � Finally, we are seeking a private sector partner (or lender) to provide a $3.8 million Loan that will leverage the tax credit investor, the $8.5 million in financing. Traditional these steps happen after the City and State make the final needed commitments, so we can complete the project. We welcome any party that may have interest in such an endeavor. Our goal is to transform not only our neighborhood, but the entire College Avenue corridor into a homeowner friendly environment. We cannot do this alone. We need these commitments in the near future.

        And finally, the rewards:

        � The City and State will realize a robust return on their investment in increased tax revenue from the new businesses and households created by the project. We estimate property tax collections; just to do this block will increase from $8,000 per year to over $180,000 per year. This will pay back the City $3.5 million over a 25 yr period: $1.5 million investment, plus the $1 mil interest and leave approx a $1 million in profit, ROI for our City. Plus, the State will realize new revenue from sales tax generated from food, beverage and goods sold in the shops. This will mark a dramatic turn around for revenue generation that can be duplicated in other neighborhoods using this project as a baseline. Adding in the Sales Tax and Income Tax, returns to the government exceed the cost thousands of times over. Just to build the building the Sales & Income Tax will pay close to $4 mil. back to our government.

        � The Investor Partners will realize long range return on their investment. I am happy to share the pro-forma with any qualified investor that has the intent of assisting the project to move forward for the neighborhood. This type of sustainable, green project will pay for itself over time and become a benchmark for future projects for the investors.

        ââ?¬Â¢ The neighborhood will finally have a ââ?¬Å?walkableââ?¬Â? destination for shops, services and sundries. Our property values will be bolstered, the livability of the neighborhood will skyrocket, and once and for all the fear of walking in this area at night will be just a memory. In our continued efforts to leverage the needed dollars to revitalize our community with the best smart growth practices and quality construction we have worked many hours with the coalition our Team Partners: Meridian Kessler, CAN DO! Harmoni, & Linking Families. We have gained Support from City of Indianapolis, State of Indiana, officials including City Councilors, House of Representative Ed DeLaney, Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, Congressman Carson, & Senator Lugar, All of this has sparked 12 other neighborhood organizations showing their support. This is the right project, right location, at the right time.

        ââ?¬Â¢ The College Avenue corridor will realize a renewed interest in investment and sustainable redevelopment on a new scale. We have the demographics at this location to feed the mixed use reinvestment ââ?¬Å?build it back into the center of our community, and they will comeââ?¬Â? We have 94% Letters of intent and the demographics for this needed sustainable growth.

        � And Finally, Carreau Design, our Broad Ripple based revitalization and development company, will realize the collective vision of transforming the block and, with a little help from our neighbors, we will recover our investment.

        In closing, I encourage you to reach out to your city officials and colleagues in an effort to garner additional financial support for this very important project. Our neighborhoods are depending on us all. Please contact your local Government representatives to do the right thing, at this right time, encourage them to reinvest back into Midtown with us.

        Kind Regards,
        Leif Hinterberger, President
        Carreau, Design, Inc.
      • these projects succeeded with private sector money
        Recess, Upland, Fresh Market, Binkelys.....didn't ask for gov't funding to make their projects work. They did it solely with private investment. Uptown is asking for money because it overextended itself right from the start and is frontloading the proposed project financials to make the developer whole at the inception, not down the road. Others will assume the financial risks with the way it is structured.
      • CAN DON'T
        Enlighten Banker suggests awarding CAN DO with the money...he/she must not be "enlightened" on CAN DO - a rag tag bunch formed by Leif himself - thet don't even have a proper board OR are even an established organization...
        They don't even have their own 501 (c) 3 to stand behind, but piggy-back off of whoever suits their latest interest.
        CAN DO IS Leif... as the executive members of CAN DO and it's president are merely his gophers.
        CAN DO claims it is a commubity development, yet we have seen successes... no projects complete or on the drawing board other than the Uptown.
        What have they really done to "develop" the community? nothing.
        They aren't even aware that their bounaries over-lap into two extremely succussful CDC's with a long historties of acomplishments - who really shopuld be awarded the money - not a school teacher and dog cookie shop owner.
      • Uptown Joke
        What a joke...everything about this smells like the trash piling up on the property.
        Oh, and the 400 signatures? Does it really count when those signatures were collected from a generic on-line petition site asking neighbors to support "ridding the area of blight"
        Of course people don't want blight...and the developer himself has caused that very blight.
      • lenders at fault as well
        The lenders created this mess as well as the economy. If they did due dilligence and inspected the properties, instead of looking at over inflated appraisals none of the loans would have been made. The simple fact is the lenders were just as greedy as the developer and deserve to take the loss for their risk as well. I don't believe either party should benefit from a TIF, but this project needs to be done for the community. If there is a TIF the money should be awarded to CANDO, and let them start fresh from dollar one. CANDO should hire a developer, if not Leif, pay him for the concept and move ahead. It is far bigger than who is in office, who loses money, and who gets paid. This neighborhood deserves a win.
        A combination of city money and private capital will make this project grow. This is what was proposed 4 yars ago, and is still needed today to make this a go. We need to stop apadting the project to whatever the grant of the day is and get going.

        A mid sized community bank will lend with a 70% stake, layered with signed leases not LOIs, and a city grant of support.

        It is time to quit talking and start building!
        • Follow the paper trail
          This is quite laughable... The owner (Leif) is in environmental court due to neglecting the properties...Health Dept. tried to work with him for over a year - he refused to comply and now is a case environmental court.
          He has been quoted as saying the state of the properties will HELP him prove the area is blighted.
          Follow the paper trail - the worst deterioration of these properties did not occur until Leif aquired them.
          • 49th
            I have always felt this project was too large and to dense. The newest proposal sounds more in line, but still a bit large. The east side of College is coming along without government help. So it can be done.
          • "G" must be a banker...or a wanker.
            sympathy for the lenders? ....right. Who the heck says something like that? Let alone actually feels that way in their heart? The only bail outs happening are FOR THE LENDERS.

            Neither the general public nor the small developers are getting any support from the bail out....or the lenders. Banks take the property back....accept the check from the government...then wait out the market and sell off the asset for a quiet profit at taxpayer expense.

            Stop drinking the kool-aid and adjust your rig man. The wind is blowing from the other direction.

            Not that I support this Leif guy...beyond the project, but, hell, why not support the guy? I dont' see anyone else putting their assets on the line to do projects like this...he's got one thing right...our property tax dollars are being sent out of the neighborhood to fund other projects. Time to reinvest in our backyards.

            I say in November we all vote for the other guy....whoever he is, and whatever party he is affiliated with. Let's broom all the moron public officials and start over.

            So, my feeling is that all this heartfelt bleeding for the lenders is just a bunch of noise from the guys that wear tighty-whities....what's new.

            Underwear check!

            • Deal
              The real estate market dropped after the developer purchased the property and now his mortgage is more than the fair market value...so he wants to sell his property to a new low income housing partnership using cash from a TIF to pay him back. Either he is going to try and sell the property to the partnership at the pre-crash inflated price or the transaction will still be a short sale and the lenders will not get paid.... Additionally, after completing a short sale, with the lenders coming up short, the developer also wants a developer fee...of what $750,000 or so and an ongoing property management fee? All using a TIF loan from taxpayers..... The development project is a noble cause,,,but I still think the both the noble cause and the developer financial motivation should be transparent. And I am not criticising him for having a profit motive and a bailout request at all...just that using a TIF so he can recover his losses should be understood.... Typically, a developers unrealized loss recovery is not included in analysis of a TIF.... Also, I see sympathy for the developer on this chat board,,,but no comments supporting the lenders who were partners and part of the team attempting to create this economic improvement project for the neighborhood. Support for the Developer and not the lenders? Why should the lenders continue to look for lending opportunities in the area on projects if the neighborhood doesnt support their efforts to contribute to economic improvement projects? The developer is not the only harmed party in this debacle...
              • GREAT PROJECT
                This project with further insulate the area north of 38th street from declining property values, blight, etc. Drive up College Avenue and you can see the investment businesses and homeowners are making. Recess, Upland, Fresh Market, Binkelys-this project will compliment them nicely and needs to be done. Especially when it will generate positive tax revenue.
              • Human Capital / Not Just a Game
                The fact is the Midtown district pays to the City well over $60 million per year in property tax alone. To be able to maintain the economic impact that we the people, our communities give to the City and State, we need to see the reinvestment into the communities, into the Human Capital with in Marion County communities. The City, State, and Feds need to spend the millions, or in the case with just the sports totals the billions, rebuilding the communities that give and create the real economic engines. This project should have already been done.
              • Dont' blame the developer or the homeowner for being upside down on property values...
                I think it's fair to say that with the current property valuations for Meridian Kessler....we all paid to much!

                So it's hard to fault any developer who acquired assets at market value prior to the recession, as it is difficult to fault ourselves, the homewoner, for the same. The Great Reset is upon us.

                The foreclosure list for Meridian Kessler is impressive. I fear what will happen when this inventory hits the market in the months to come?

                That said, this overdue neighborhood makeover
                needs funding support for one reason. The stabilization of neighborhood property values. If these go to short sale....guess what...we all take another dive in value. Anyone seen the comps for their home lately?

                A balance of support from city, state, fed, and private investors is required.

                In fact, I personally think that TIF's should be earmarked for the small, niche projects that need a nudge, and that make a real difference in our daily lives and liveability of our neighborhoods.
                A concept unfamiliar to the large developers.

                I think the powers to be could go a long way in earning their taxpayer paychecks by supporting small projects such as this on a grand scale in many neighborhoods.

                Start here, at 49th and College, which is undoubtedly one of the best examples of
                neighborhood neglect the city has on it's watch.

                Reading the comments below, I'd venture to say that the only people that dont' want this to happen are the guys that have a personal axe to grind or see dollar signs for themselves and would like to drive this project into the ground so they can personally profit when the smoke clears.

                You know who you are....

                Long live the self serving party of no.

                I'd like to invite everyone that gives a rats you know what for a tea party.....

              • College Ave TIF etc.
                Ain't no frickin bailout! It is smart, sustainable community redevelopment and economic growth. It's how Carmel grew, Chicago, you name it. Only a few numbskulls don't get it.
              • Thats a little harsh!
                That's not capitalism at work. That's stiff arming a private capitalist long enough so that his project has no chance, then coming in, buying what he has put together so far at a discounted price, and then making money off his deal. There is something wrong with you. If it can so easily be done, why not partner with the guy and help him do it?
              • somebody help this project
                I have been driving by this block and project for years....it's been ugly and trashy way before this project was on the drawing board....and it's probably time someone in the private sector (as well as the city) step up and and help make it happen. Lord knows, the banks aren't funding small-guy projects anytime soon.

                When and if this project is funded, it will become a benchmark for many more neighborhood projects that need leadership and vision to succeed. Yes, I said LEADERSHIP and VISION, a commodity that seems to escape our public appointees.

                I have met Leif...I think most homeowners in our neighborhood have heard his pitch....he's certainly passionate about his work and his vision for the neighborhood. With Leif, you get what you see....A sometimes abbraisive, politically incorrect artistic visionary who is driven to inspire and create. The city should award him the "Persistence and Determination" award for sticking with this and laying his personal assets on the line for the good of the neighborhood.

                Give the old boy a break....small projects can't afford to hire "face men" to lobby the city and other entities for funding....that's what the big guys do...and frankly it's cookie cutter and old school backroom deal making.

                TIF or no TIF. This isn't about Leif. It's about Meridian Kessler and our neighborhoods...It's time to put some of my property tax dollars in my neighborhood for a change. They jacked us 100% in Meridian Kessler....Sick and tired of paying for sports stadiums while our neighborhood crumbles. Throw us a bone! We're dying on the vine....

                Any fellow neighborhood or Carmel whiners out there have the guts to step up to help? The city sure doesn't seem to have the ability to think or act beyond the next staff meeting.

                Par for politics. An opportunity for the private sector.


                Disgusted Meridian Kessler homeowner.
              • Yes, Too Bad
                I commend Mr. Hinterberger for his dedication to something he believes in. Everyone may have their opinion about the viability of the development, but that does not change the fact that this man has put everything he has on the line and in the least deserves our respect as a fellow hoosier trying to do something to enhance his community.
              • Project
                The project can still get done without a TIF and without Leif. If I was the City...I would approach some of the local community development non-profit corporations and ask them to do the City a favor and conduct an analysis on the project to determine a land acquisition cost that would make the project feasible and then take that cost estimate and give it to the lenders as a short sale purchase offer via an option that expires March 30, 2012. Then the CDC could apply for the tax credits in November and get the approval in March and payoff the lenders. The project still gets done without creating an unnecessary TIF and Leif is out of the picture. Leif assumes that without a TIF, and without Leif, the project and area fails. Guess what? There is another way to get the exact project done and all you need is for the lenders to cooperate on a fair short sale to a CDC based on current market valuation.... It is called capitalism at work.... This article smacks of desperation...and I get that...but not an appropriate government bailout when there is the possibility of other options....
                • If Carmel's a Success.....
                  ....why is Brainard trying to entice Zionsville merchants to move there by offering free rent?

                  Sounds to me like his white elephant is already starting to crush the city finances.
                • TIF
                  Using TIF money to pay Leif back for acquisition costs is unconscionable. Also, under current valuation and arms length transaction, it would still be a short sale and the lenders would still get screwed. Rents are controlled by the tax credit program and he will probably end up appealing the valuation under an income appraisal, because you can't raise rents and the rental income will not support the tax bill...so I do not think the TIF will work under this scenario. Finally, look at several examples downtown of living units on top of a building and empty commercial space on the first floor. Maxwell on Ohio, Beilouny on Mass Ave, Apartments on North and College, Teagan on 9th and East Street. Unless he has pre-signed leases for commercial space,,,,I see more failure.
                • Neighborhoods need SOUND redevelopment projects
                  The issue isn't a debate about urban renewal or whether we are supporting redevelopment of various urban areas within our city - it is about the particulars of this proposal. This project has gone through numerous iterations. The original proposal had neighborhood support but the current version does not. Moreover, the developer(s) overpaid for the properties, which doomed the original proposal from start. What is disingenous however is to expect others to bail out someone who made a poor business decision. Additionally what is cheek is the argument is that the gov't funding must be used to clean up the corner's "blight". The blight wasn't there until the properties were vacated post acquisition. Others in the neighborhood are able to make their development proposals work with private sector funding - look at the the building where the Recess restaurant is located or the 49th and Penn changes. The blather that the city does not have the vision does not address what is really driving this controversy - a project that was doomed from teh start and the unrealistic expectation by the developer to save him from himself. What utter bunk about nonperforming properties. IMO.
                • Tom Melangton
                  Indianapolis needs neighborhood projects like this to not only stimulate tax revenue but to help lower crime rates and enhance neighborhood beautification along with increased property values. This is a no brainer. You all should be thankful that somebody is interested in helping this city in a time where everything is going backwards.
                  Urban sprawl is not the answer, we need to redevelop the areas that are eyesores and create a city that we all can be proud of. Its like painting on canvas.
                  • Carmel Mainstreet is like a boot on the necks of the Taxpayers
                    Indy is not Carmel you Mainstreet Bozo...
                  • Banging Head
                    If Leif had brought a project like this to Carmel it would have been built by now. This is exactly the thinking going into Oldtown Carmel and the use of TIF.
                    • ITS A BUST OUT BABY
                      Hey buddy take your medicine like the Page boys, Lauth and on on....

                      I agree LOI's are not worth the paper they are written on...

                      No one should steal from the Tax oops I mean the "Ratepayers" coffers....

                      Just bull doze these crappy neighborhoods like Detroit does and yes give someone a tax abatement (i.e. its called BLUE SKY, in the Business world Banker Boy) but do not give them REAL DOLLARS FROM BONDS or REAL TAX RECEIPTS....

                      Sorry bud you made your bed so wallor in it...

                      Try my book out as well...
                    • Argument Problem
                      Argument 1: There will be huge property tax increases if this isn't funded
                      Argument 2: There will be a huge drop in property tax receipts if this isn't funded.

                      One of those arguments, by definition, has to be wrong.
                    • Incremental Increase:
                      8,000 to 180,000 = 2,250% annual increase. Right now this is a lost generator of revenue to Rebuild Indy. Needs to happen.
                    • Midtown
                      This is not just about 49th and College this is about midtown. We need this for our whole community.
                    • Tax Increment Finance or Economic Development Area's
                      The block in the center of the community continues to deteriorate, and takes away from a place where people want to be. It has been doing this for 20 plus years. This block pays $8,000 per year in property tax, paid on a non performing asset that continues to bring the community, the corridor, and City down.

                      Because of the location we can turn this non performing assets net loss into a completed project that will pay over 3.5 million dollars of property tax over a 25 year period, which pays for the 1.5 mil. bond debt, plus int. & profit to the City. These dollars would go for the needed City Right of Way improvements, the Bio Swells the Green Roofs, the LEED Green portion of the project, parking etc. With the City Leadership, $1 City dollar leverages $11.42 from Private, State and Federal sources. FYI - These State and Federal dollars get paid back, almost in entirely just to build the building, via the sales tax and income tax, via the jobs created and materials purchased. When we add in the next generation of permanent jobs, back to the district via the reborn center of the community, the block pays well over 100 mil including sales tax and income tax over the 25 yrs.

                      If we continue to do the math, the multiplier effects of saving, while rebuilding our existing communities, doing this across the street and down the block, create ROI, pay offs to the City and to the State exponentially. Our City needs the Jobs. These Historic Mixed Use nodes are the foundation of the tax base, of the neighborhood and the City and these underutilized lost assets, lost core generators, currently are rotting out our communities, creating the foreclosures, areas of crime, and skyrocketing property taxes.

                      Instead we can turn them into positive cash flow generators, creating opportunities, creating jobs that create other jobs, which pay for the surrounding crumbling infrastructure, the foundation to our communities.

                      The key to the proven success model is to choose the best locations that will create the success, the largest impact resetting the foundation the worst block at the best location. With a combination of adaptive reuse and Mixed Use New construction, implementing form based code, and form based financing, we can leverage more dollars to come back to Indianapolis, to ââ?¬Å?ReBuild Indyââ?¬Â?

                      Without this reinvestment t the existing 100 to 300 % property tax increases with in this community are not sustainable. We have seen as high as 600 plus % increases, which creates more lost demographics, creating more burdens that need to be reversed. ââ?¬Å?Reinvestment is Essential to Prevent Core Declineââ?¬Â?

                      These comprehensive community redevelopment practices are well documented as the national proven success models. These comprehensive community redevelopment plans meet DMD guidelines, the City�s Regional Center 20/20 Plan, the Insight Vision Plan, the Midtown Master Plan, and the MK Sub Area Plan. The only proven successful way to rebuild these Historic Mixed Use Communities Centers correctly, By Design, is via public private partnerships, which again when the locations are chosen well with the right mixture of mixed use, and sources, pays back the government and the communities thousands of times over, with multiplier effects of Savings and ROI.

                      Now is the right time for the City, to the right thing, reinvesting into the right project, at the right place. ReBloom Uptown, Midtown to Downtown, ââ?¬Å?ReBuild Indyââ?¬Â?
                    • The Politics behind all this
                      The real problem is that Ballard does not garner much support in this district. So the City will do everything it can to keep this area in the dumps. While easy money is found to create landscaping along the more pricier areas of the city.
                    • Good idea, bad strategy
                      The problem with The Uptown has always been the developer, not the development. A cooperative, sympathetic face for the project could succeed. Unfortunately, the developer insists on being his own front man.
                    • bad idea
                      He has been turned down more times than the ugly kid for the prom. He doesn't have the juice to pull this off and is looking for a temporary bailout. Don't send good money after bad, especially tax dollars!!!
                    • Not on the crackpipe
                      LOI are not meaningless! They are the basis to prove future income if a project comes to fruition. No small business owner, will build in this environment, and take on the liability of ownership, especially in a rathole lile 49th and College on his own. While the project may be ambitious, it was not created without much research and planning. The problem is the lack of money available, and the lack of creativity within the city to find ways to invest and reap in the rewards of the project like this. This project should be duplicated in 15 other areas in the city. These neighborhoods need destinations to keep and attract new residents. If Ballard does not give any money to developments like this he needs to declare them tax free zones!
                    • Map reading
                      Five miles north of this project takes you north of Broad Ripple, East of Arlington, South of Fall Creek Place and West of the Art Museum - standing alone it certainly could effect properties within .5 miles, not 5 miles.
                    • Rennovation Realities
                      Leif has a great idea for a projest.....
                      So do many other people. TIF is a bad idea for a micro project like this. This "development" is a private transaction and should be seen as such. Unless Indianapolis wakes up and creates development districts the entire city will look like the eastside. The city needs to create partnerships with the developers to keep people in Marion county. The cornfields have all the annenities that could make one want to move into the city again. I support Leif and others who share his vision, but would never move into the city, until the city creates an enviornment that business would move into. I feel sorry for CANDO and others who are spitting into a hurricane to create a better living space.
                    • important infill
                      This is a very important development for all of the College Ave. corridor. When this building is a success, and it is proven that there is demand for new, nice living space in this area, the rest of College Ave. may attract more development and infill.

                      Most importantly though, if there is a TIF district created, it should be part of a larger TIF project to fund a streetcar line from Broad Ripple Ave. to downtown (and it could jump over to meridian st. via 38th and serve that already dense corridor the rest of the way downtown). There is federal money available for streetcar lines, and this is a perfect corridor. Cincinnati just received $25million for their new streetcar line. Lets get in on this before the federal funds dry up! Just think about it next time you are driving down either College Ave. (62nd to 38th) or Meridian (38th to downtown).
                    • Too Bad
                      Too bad Leif doesn't have other people's support and too bad most people are so short-sighted. Give the guy a break, he's trying to do something good (for the community and himself) and people won't support it - its small minded and negative.
                    • Get off the Crackpipe Bro...
                      LOI's are meaningless.... Wake up dude why don't create a Horizontal Property Regime (i.e. Retail Condo's) with these supposed "Straw Tenants". Let them apply for the loans to build their suites out and purchase the condo space... You get a management contract and seller proceeds on each closing...

                      If Ballard gives you any PUBLIC MONEY from the BOND SCAM on Rate Payors that is outright a Fraud...

                      This is a private transaction go see a lender and sell retai condo's....

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                      1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

                      2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

                      3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

                      4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

                      5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............