Judge orders Clear Channel to sell key Speedway parcel

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The town of Speedway will pay a bit more than it originally offered to acquire Clear Channel Outdoor Inc.’s interest in a parcel of land the town needs to build a roundabout near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speedway’s redevelopment commission sued San Antonio-based Clear Channel in February after the company rejected its original offer of $165,000. On April, 24, a Marion Superior Court judge ordered the commission to pay Clear Channel $189,000, based on three appraisers’ estimates.

“It’s much less than what they had requested in their counteroffer,” said Scott Harris, executive director of the commission, who declined to divulge the exact amount of Clear Channel’s offer.

A Clear Channel representative couldn’t be reached for comment.

As part of its 16th Street reconstruction project, Speedway wants to build a roundabout where the street intersects with Georgetown and Crawfordsville roads near the main entrance of the track.

Speedway already has purchased the quarter-acre sliver on which the billboard stands at 16th and Main streets from former owner Carl Culmann. But the town needed to acquire Clear Channel’s “leasehold interest” in the parcel and remove the billboard to begin work on the roundabout, according to the lawsuit.

The billboard is behind a vacant house on the parcel of property. Harris said the town plans to tear down the home to build the roundabout. Other road improvements near the intersection include new curbs, gutters and sidewalks, as well as road widenings.

The 16th Street reconstruction project is part of an overall $500 million redevelopment project town leaders hope will transform Speedway into a year-round racing-themed destination.

Speedway officials broke ground in November 2009 on the first phase, which involved $6.7 million in road improvements to Main Street, laying the foundation for redevelopment.

The ambitious project includes more than 350 acres from Main Street to Holt Road and from 16th to 10th streets, just south of IMS.

In all, 2.5 million square feet of new development could be constructed, which could return a 10-year economic impact of up to $5.2 billion and more than 2,000 jobs, Speedway officials say.

Harris of the commission said the dispute with Clear Channel shouldn’t delay the building of the roundabout because an exact timetable has not been set.  


  • Great
    Yes, the Constitution "legitimizes" theft.
  • This Is The System We Have
    Walt, it is the system set up in the Constitution under the Takings Clause. The government has the power to take private property, so long as it provides just compensation. Going to court is the last resort when the parties cannot agree on a price, then the court looks at evidence presented from various certified appraisers to get a market-value.

    That is the system we have had from the beginning in the U.S.

    Look around, the highway system, many public streets, sidewalks, parks, etc. Much of it has been constructed through eminent domain.

    That is how it works.
  • Really?
    Walt, it's fundamental civics:

    The original intent of the US Constitution's framers is really clear on this point. Under the Fifth Amendment, the government can take private property for government purposes, such as public roads and sidewalks. The government must do so by "due process" and pay a fair price. In Indiana, this includes multiple appraisals and a right of judicial appeal by the unwilling seller.

    Amazing the things you can learn by reading.
  • I agree with Walt
    No highway should ever be built unless all of the necessary right-of-way can be purchased from willing sellers.
  • Court intervention
    I do not think it is appropriate for the courts to intervene in a buy sell between two parties. If the buyer wants it he
    should pay the price or there should be
    free negotiations. Why should we allow the courts to dictate what we should sell something for?
    • better
      roundabouts are much more efficient and traffic flow appropriate than lights. don't be scared.
    • What?
      Round-a-bouts aren't a fad. They have existed for hundreds of years.......you are clearly the expert though.
    • Roundabout?
      Roundabouts are the latest fad in transportation planning. They stink.

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    1. Now if he'd just stay there...

    2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

    3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

    4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

    5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.