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Developer to break ground on Fort Ben project

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The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority has lined up a new developer for a long-awaited office/retail building in the Village of Fort Harrison.

Groundbreaking could take place in May for the $5.5 million, 36,000-square-foot building at the northwest corner of 56th Street and Lawrence Village Parkway, just east of Post Road. It will house about 27,000 square feet of office suites; the balance will be retail, with the local Jockamo's Pizza chain slated to open its third restaurant in the largest space, said Scott Baldwin of developer Fort Harrison Office Suites LLC.

Baldwin, 46, co-owns the developing entity with Yeager Properties Inc. Yeager owns eight office suite facilities in the area and two in the suburbs of Dallas.

Fort Ben rendering offices retail baldwin 15colThe 36,000-square-foot project will include office suites and about 10,000 square feet of restaurants and retail. (Image courtesy Baldwin Cos.)

Yeager had planned to locate one of its collection of office suites in a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use project that Browning Investments was going to develop at the same intersection in 2011. That project, which was expected to cost between $9 million and $12 million, was to have been financed through the sale of revenue bonds by the reuse authority. A new reuse authority board appointed in early 2012 decided not to proceed with the project.

The Baldwin/Yeager development is being financed by Star Financial Bank. The reuse authority is kicking in $1.7 million and the 2.5-acre site. Baldwin said the project agreement is expected to be finalized April 15.  

The building site is part of a 5.8-acre tract that the reuse authority expects to fill in with at least two more mixed-use buildings, said Freddie Burris, executive director of the reuse authority. The site, which once housed the commissary and post exchange for the former Fort Benjamin Harrison army base, was cleared in the 1990s. It is immediately west of a 19-acre tract, the largest site among about 50 acres the reuse authority hopes to sell as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the army base that closed in 1995.

Burris is enthusiastic about the two-story Baldwin/Yeager project, both for its potential to attract office and restaurant tenants and its design.

"It's almost  like we designed the building ourselves," he said, noting that it combines the brick Fort Ben is known for with a contemporary design. "It's a very inviting structure in a perfect location," he said.

Jockamo's Pizza will satisfy what Burris says is a lack of family dining establishments in the area that aren't national chains. And the Yeager office suites will satisfy what the developer and the reuse authority believe is an unmet demand for office space that caters to entrepreneurs.

"They were very interested in the incubator nature of our buildings," said Baldwin of the reuse authority's interest in partnering on the project.

Yeager will rent office spaces ranging from 12 feet by 10 feet to 15 feet by 15 feet. The spaces are rented by the month or for three-, six- or 12-month intervals. Prices generally range from $350 to $750 a month, but Baldwin said the monthly rent can hit $1,000 depending on the level of service. Pricing includes utilities, insurance, Wi-Fi, high-speed Internet, janitorial service and shared office services, including conference rooms, Baldwin said. An online scheduling tool allows tenants to reserve meeting space in any of the Yeager properties in the area. The others are in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Greenwood and Plainfield.

Baldwin described the building and its office suites, designed by Yeager Design, as contemporary and eclectic with an Asian industrial feel. "Any description of the design would have to include the word energetic," he said. He said Yeager's properties set themselves apart from other co-working spaces by offering a higher level of design and private space to go along with the shared spaces.  

Though it should appeal to start-ups, the office space might also appeal to satellite locations of larger firms and companies that want to do business with the U.S. Army's mammoth Defense Finance and Accounting Service Center a few blocks west on 56th Street, Baldwin said.

Leasing will be handled initially by Baldwin's firm, RealtyQwest-Baldwin Cos. Yeager Construction will do site work and construction, and interior build-outs will be handled by Envoy Inc., which is half-owned by Baldwin.

 

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  • why?
    why keep building when we have vacant buildings all over the place? just saying. build build build....in the end the prices will drop bc of oversaturation in the real estate market.
  • FHRA
    The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority is a redevelopment district formed under state law by Indianapolis and Lawrence. The territory of the former fort is a TIF district, and FHRA captures the tax revenues from it until it pays off its improvement bonds.
  • COOL
    As long it doesn't look like the famous strip malls that pretty much make Indianapolis look all the same from Rockville Rd to East Washington Rd to Greenwood and all throughout the North side. Indy should focus on making some distinct shopping areas/neighborhoods and get away from that long strip mall with the same dull stucco color.
  • funds
    Where do the funds come from that the reuse authority uses?
  • Robbery
    Your tax dollars at "work"...or Robin Hood in reverse.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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