IBJNews

Former Colt opening downtown event venue

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Former Indianapolis Colts player Gary Padjen is turning a vacant 18,000-square-foot building near Lucas Oil Stadium into a venue he hopes will host everything from Super Bowl parties and other corporate events to concerts and mixed martial arts bouts.

Padjen, 53, has named his facility The Crane Bay, and is using some of the large cranes that used to move goods around the former Westinghouse building at 551 Merrill St. as part of the decor of his new venue.

Padjen took control of the building, owned by Indianapolis-based Home Stove Realty, in August. Earlier this fall he got the building rezoned from heavy industrial to a classification for meetings and entertainment events. He said renovations are now more than 75-percent complete and the business is ready to take off.

The building has been mostly vacant for the last three years, Padjen said, with the exception of a short stint where it was used as a construction outpost during the Indiana Convention Center expansion.

Padjen, vice president of the local NFL Alumni chapter, said several NFL Alumni—and related charity—events are already being planned for the venue. But he said that’s just the beginning.

“Obviously, being just blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, we want to capitalize on the Super Bowl,” Padjen said. “We’ve already had a number of inquiries. But beyond that, we think this will be a significant drawing card for events and visitors downtown for years to come.

“This is just the type of venue needed downtown,” added Padjen, who played special teams for the Colts from 1982-84 and in 1987. “It could bring the types of events you see at The Vogue [in Broad Ripple] downtown.”

The Crane Bay’s first event will be a party connected to the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship, which will be held Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Padjen said he’s also planning Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.

“Around the holidays, we’re going to have a free, by-invitation-only event, to hopefully really show off this unique facility to the who’s-who of central Indiana,” Padjen said.

Padjen is investing $700,000 to overhaul the building’s interior. He hopes to recoup much of that from Super Bowl-related events alone. The Super Bowl is set for Feb. 5.

“The potential with the Super Bowl was a big reason we were able to obtain funding for this project, but The Crane Bay will be around as a first-class venue for a long time after that,” Padjen said.

In addition to building a new entry area and remodeling bathrooms, Padjen is constructing a stage, and installing a commercial sound system and a video wall that will feature as many as 50 flat-screen televisions. He also repainted and re-floored the entire interior.

Fully staffed, Padjen said The Crane Bay will have four full-time employees and more than 50 part-time and contract employees.

“This building was kind of an eyesore before,” Padjen said. “Now, I’m confident it’s going to be a first-class attraction for the downtown area with the ability to hold a wide variety of events.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

ADVERTISEMENT