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Developers taking serious look at former GM site

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Developers are still trying to determine whether the city's vision for an urban village at the former General Motors plant near downtown Indianapolis would be profitable, said an official with the trust charged with cleaning up and marketing the site.

“I wish we were further along,” said Bruce Rasher, redevelopment manager for the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, based in Ypsilanti, Mich. “On the other hand, I’m very encouraged we’ve been able to attract the interest of capable and reputable developers.”

RACER Trust Cleanup Manager Robert Hare visited Indianapolis this week to bring local stakeholders up to date on the environmental assessment of the 101-acre property, which was the site of a metal-stamping factory until June 2011.

Mayor Greg Ballard initially hoped to attract another industrial user that might bring jobs, but this year the emphasis shifted to creating a new, mixed-use neighborhood, as an Urban Land Institute advisory panel recommended last year.

In an interview Wednesday, Rasher said at least six reputable developers, both local and national, have toured the property since 2011. Of those, two are taking a serious look at the feasibility of the Urban Land Institute’s vision. Led by former Mayor William Hudnut, the advisory panel interviewed more than 75 local people about what they wanted to see on the site.

The 82-year-old plant, at 340 S. White River Parkway,  is near Lucas Oil Stadium, Rasher noted, and it has more than a quarter mile of White River frontage.

“It’s just a matter of time before the river really becomes a significant amenity,” Rasher said.

Given those factors, the site is drawing more serious interest from developers than three-quarters of the properties under management by the RACER Trust, Rasher said. The trust was created on March 31, 2011, out of a bankruptcy court settlement with the 14 states where GM closed plants. The trust is marketing 89 properties and has sold 19.

Environmental assessments at the local site and surrounding area will be finished this year, Hare said. The trust already knows that soil contamination is limited to the west end of the site, where a former chemical distribution facility stood. "A good three-quarters of the property is available and ready for redevelopment now," he said.

It will take years to clean up the soil and groundwater in the surrounding neighborhood, Hare said. Those costs will be paid by the trust, which will continue its work long after the property is sold.

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  • Possiblities
    This would be a great place to expand the Indianapolis Zoo or dedicate 20 to 30 percent of the land to nature wildlife since its next the river. This site has been a hazard to Indianapolis site it was opened and it would be amazing to see plants, scrubs and other natural life on it. I understand some of it will need to be developed to cover cost but let's give a little back.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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