EDITORIAL: A last chance for City Market

 IBJ Staff
October 30, 2010
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IBJ Editorial

We like the changes afoot at City Market. But if the latest attempt to reposition it doesn’t work, the city should consider mothballing the beloved old building until its surroundings become a benefit rather than a liability.

As IBJ reported last week, the market is building momentum that city officials hope will lead to its becoming financially sound. Key to the effort is broadening the market’s appeal so it isn’t just a lunch destination for downtown workers.

Toward that end, six tenants are moving in next month. The new arrivals include a fresh produce shop, a florist, and purveyors of juice, crepes and soup. The Chef’s Academy will open a research-and-development kitchen there. A lot of hope is pinned on the new Tomlinson Tap Room, a bar on the second floor that will serve craft beers on tap from around the state.

We hope the new tenants’ chances of succeeding will be bolstered by a $2.7 million renovation that is slow to start but by next spring should result in a brighter, more appealing market. Besides cosmetic changes, the market will get new rest rooms, a new bicycle hub (to be built inside the east wing) and more green space outdoors when the west wing is demolished.

The bar and bike hub haven’t been tried before and just might draw a new crowd to the market, but we wonder if cosmetic changes and a new tenant mix will be enough to help the market turn the corner.

It’s likely the market’s long-term future depends on what happens to the vacant Market Square Arena site across the street. If hundreds of apartments and a retail hub emerge at the site, which has been vacant for 10 years, it might be just what the market needs to thrive. Identifying a use for the MSA site that positions the market to succeed should be a priority for the city.

Public transportation and, to a lesser extent, the redevelopment of old City Hall at Alabama and Ohio streets, could also influence the market’s long-term prospects.

We hope the newest City Market plan is an unqualified success. If it isn’t, city leaders must bide their time until conditions are ripe for a full-fledged overhaul.

Voting is your duty

It’s always amazing to hear from political pundits that large groups of voters are expected to “sit this one out” as an important election approaches.

We assume—we hope correctly—that most IBJ readers aren’t prone to such inaction. With our state and nation facing vexing issues too numerous to mention, the very idea that anyone who is registered to vote would fail to do so is inconceivable.

Those who drop out of the process because they are discouraged by their party’s chances only make matters worse by not voting. Others don’t take the time to vote because they’re confident their favorite candidate or party will win handily. They shouldn’t be so sure.

This election doesn’t have the sex appeal of 2008, but the stakes are still high. Please make voting a priority Nov. 2.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.



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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.