Environment

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Mediocre planning efforts don't invite people to stayRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Don Altemeyer
Analysts say the housing market is slowing in Indianapolis and across the nation. Perhaps that's why three significant, real estate developments have attracted so much local media coverage recently. In one story, the City-County Council approved the development of 28 condos in Broad Ripple, despite strong resistance from the neighborhood association. Meanwhile, local planning councils easily approved two new developments-a subdivision on the far northeast side of town that will feature almost 2,000 homes and a large condominium complex in...
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Mega-hotel on city agenda: Pan Am Plaza possible site for 800-room developmentRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Matthew Kish
The city is looking for developers interested in adding 800 hotel rooms downtown, a project that could be accomplished by building a massive, new hotel or augmenting several existing facilities. Insiders say a new hotel is most likely. They picture it on Pan Am Plaza. If that happens, the hotel would become the city's largest-eclipsing the Indianapolis Marriott by almost 200 rooms. Ideally, the rooms would be available by 2010, when the wraps come off the expanded Indiana Convention Center....
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: 'Dallas'-like TV hit in our future?Restricted Content

March 20, 2006
Just as the popular prime-time soap opera "Dallas" emerged from Texas oil-industry lore, "Indiana" someday could become a mega-hit on television. After, that is, the state becomes the "Texas of biofuels" and the lurid, steamy tales of Big Biofuel begin to play out. I'm not sure who came up with "Texas of biofuels," but the analogy surfaced after the recent announcement that the world's largest soybean processing plant and biodiesel facility will be built in northern Indiana. With this project,...
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Hospitality madness: City wants to grow reputation as Final Four's ideal siteRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Matthew Kish
Bill Evans' phone rang at 11 p.m. It was a basketball team. The players wanted milkshakes. He popped up like he was bouncing on one of those mini-trampolines mascots use to dunk basketballs at halftime. He tapped his partner on the shoulder. They rolled two coolers to the downtown Steak n Shake. He ordered milkshakes. Large ones. Two for each player. They put the shakes in the coolers and rolled them through the downtown night to the team hotel. The...
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Short session long on action: Led by Major Moves, telecom successes, biz interests fared well in 2006 General AssemblyRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
In less than three months, the Indiana General Assembly approved a pair of blockbuster economic-development measures designed to dramatically upgrade the state's infrastructure. With the passage of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves initiative, Indiana will lease the Indiana Toll Road to an Australian-Spanish consortium for 75 years. It will use the upfront, $3.9 billion payment to build roads. Meanwhile, the approval of telecom deregulation sets the stage for more local phone, cable and Internet competition. Daniels, a Republican, argued that...
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You can take it to the bank: Financial experts say state's economy is rising, merger mania isn't over and regulatory laws could take a tollRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
On Feb. 24, IBJ Publisher Chris Katterjohn, Managing Editor Greg Andrews and banking reporter Matt Kish sat down with four leaders from Indianapolis' banking and finance sector: Judith Ripley, director of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions; Kit Stolen, CEO of Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis; Steve Beck, president and CEO of the Indiana Venture Center; and Keith Slifer, senior vice president of LaSalle Bank. Among the topics of conversation: How's the state's economy doing? Are more bank mergers on...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Bill offers new hope for Main StreetRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Recycling isn't just good for the environment. It's good for buildings, and ultimately for economic development. When the Disciples of Christ moved its international headquarters downtown from Irvington in 1995, it left behind a 121,000-square-foot structure built in 1910 that could easily have become a vacant eyesore in the east-side neighborhood. Instead, local developer Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. helped give it new life as Mission Apartments for seniors. That $6.5 million project might not have happened without the help...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Rising costs, lower prices sting domestic carmakersRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Patrick Barkey
As predictions go, it's not a particularly difficult call. The trends are unmistakable, and the precedents in other industries are clear. Yet the silence on the part of workers, executives and even analysts on the issue bespeaks the pain, anger and denial that lurk just beneath the surface. The situation is this: In a very short span of time, perhaps as little as two or three years, the era of the highly paid automobile industry production worker will come to...
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Indiana's universities give industry a boost: State touts wealth of higher-ed insurance programsRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Scott Olson
Politicians seem so much more 21st century when they talk about attracting life sciences and information technology jobs to Indiana. But they're not about to ignore the state's second-largest employer-the often-overlooked insurance industry. Indiana insurers employ more than 60,000 Hoosiers, second only to farming, and pay an average annual salary of $47,500, nearly $10,000 more than the state average, according to a 2004 study by Purdue University. Moreover, the industry boasts some of the state's largest public and private companies-WellPoint...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: The fight to hire top talent: Do we have what it takes?Restricted Content

March 6, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Most cities have mayors, police chiefs and tax collectors. But suppose for a moment they each had an additional staff position as well-the recruiter. Like a basketball coach or a talent scout, these recruiters would scour the country, looking for talented people who would fit into the community and add to the economic base. And when they found one, they would make their pitch, touting their town's assets and strengths, and urging the recruit to relocate. The prospects, on the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Study casts new light on rising house pricesRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Patrick Barkey
I have always been amazed at the confidence and certainty projected by those who stand before the television cameras at the end of the day and explain to us-in 90 seconds or less-why the stock market behaved as it did. I suppose if we are silly enough to ask for a simple explanation for the 5 million or 6 million trades conducted on any given day, we should expect nothing more in return. Of course, those trades take place for...
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Ethanol's secret: Highly touted alternative fuel needs tax subsidies to surviveRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Chris O\'malley
State and local leaders have been crowing about how ethanol plants will bring more jobs to Indiana and put more dollars in the pockets of corn farmers. If that prospect isn't enough to make votecoveting politicians and corn farmers giddy, General Motors Corp. started singing ethanol's praises this month in TV ads. Joyous motorists frolic under blue skies-all thanks to ethanol's promise of cleaner air and energy independence from oil. But there's another economic reality for motorists who use E85,...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Impending pain: Expect big cuts after sale of Irwin unitRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Greg Andrews
No one wants to say it, but Fishersbased Irwin Mortgage Corp., one of the area's biggest financial-services companies, is almost sure to lose hundreds of jobs, and may disappear. Parent company Irwin Financial Corp. last month put Irwin Mortgage on the selling block, a move that imperils many of the unit's 450 local jobs. Hoosier bankers have been through enough sales to know that out-of-state buyers almost always trim jobs. But this could be something else entirely-a wholesale gutting of...
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BULLS & BEARS: Indiana's in biofuel game; now it should strive to winRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Ken Skarbeck
Over the past few months, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar has been vocal in touting the benefits of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. It would be wise for the state's government and business leaders to heed his message. The renewable fuel industry is gathering momentum and has a high probability of growing into a substantial industry. The energy bill President Bush signed into law last summer mandates the use of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year by 2012,...
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Emerging India: Opportunity or threat?: Indiana businesses brace for growing global competitionRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Opportunity or threat? Indiana businesses brace for growing global competition Next month, President Bush will make his first official visit to India. To most of the American media, it'll be just one more round of global terrorism discussions with a distant foreign nation, perhaps worthy of a brief. The Indian press knows better. Six weeks ahead of Bush's trip, banner headlines about it ran in every newspaper. Al Hubbard knows better, too. Friends with Bush since their days at Harvard...
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Duke's Earth Services Inc.: Environmental services firm cleaning up on spills Haz-mat niche paying off; business expected to doubleRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Ed Callahan
When a truck carrying a load of frozen chicken crashed on Interstate 74 near Batesville last month-mixing the meat with less-than-appetizing ingredients like diesel fuel and coolant-Duke's Earth Services was high on the invite list for the impromptu barbecue. The Mooresville-based environmental services company specializes in such unpleasant jobs: cleaning hazardous materials spills, removing underground storage tanks, and checking construction sites for contaminated soil. And business is good. Duke's posted revenue of $3.5 million in 2005, and leaders expect to...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Consumer spending spree gives spark to Simon stockRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Greg Andrews
It's becoming almost ho-hum for Simon Property Group Inc. Another year, another round of eye-popping returns for the company's shareholders. The Indianapolis-based mall owner, by far the nation's biggest real estate investment trust, just closed the book on 2005, a year when funds from operations-a key measure of REIT performance-zipped up another 13 percent. Simon shares last year rose 18 percent. Including reinvested dividends, the stock in 2005 returned 23 percent. It was the fifth year in a row the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Let the private sector operate the Toll RoadRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Watching the tug and pull of partisan politics in full bloom in our state capital brings to mind that old saying about making laws and making sausage. You don't really want to see how either one happens. But as our elected leaders posture and fight over the table scraps of new revenue that can realistically be said to be squeezed out of what has historically been an overcommitted state budget, another, more hopeful, vision comes to mind. It's a vision...
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Eateries await smoking ban: Some restaurant owners face tough decisionsRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Scott Olson
It's 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and the lunch crowd has dwindled enough to give Giorgio Migliaccio time to relax and light up a cigarette at the downtown pizzeria that bears his name. But come March 1, Migliaccio and the majority of other restaurant owners in Marion County no longer will allow smoking. A city ordinance will ban the practice in establishments that allow patrons younger than 18. "I think it will be very hard for the addicted to not...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:Restricted Content

February 6, 2006
Patrick Barkey
You can tell that economists as a group don't have a marketing bone in their bodies. How else can you explain the incomprehensible name we've given the measure of economic activity we watch more closely than any other? Gross domestic product. If I were a comedian, I could probably do a sketch on what images those words conjure up. But I'm an economist, so there's little chance of that. Instead, like the rest of my brood, I am diving into...
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Home construction spreads growing pains into country: Shelbyville, county struggle with housing growth planRestricted Content

February 6, 2006
Tom Murphy
Developers grabbed 286 permits to construct single-family residential units in 2005, up from 204 the year before, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis. Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson, whose city captured most of that growth, said his municipality issued only about 30 permits a year before 2004. "It's unbelievable," he said. "I think people finally realize that Shelbyville is, I guess, reachable from anywhere." A congestion-light commute to Indianapolis, acres of developable land and some tweaked building laws all...
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IPOs take minor dip in 2005: Analysts stay optimistic; 3 Indiana companies set to go public in early '06Restricted Content

January 30, 2006
Scott Olson
Three Indiana companies took the plunge to go public last year, two less than the number that did so in 2004. The state's slight dip in initial public offerings mirrors the slump in activity nationally. But Indiana appears to be off to a fast start for 2006. Three other Hoosier companies filed to go public late last year, but had yet to complete their IPOs by year's end. Overall, the number of companies that went public on the major U.S....
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Busy year, but no record: A Wellpoint deal leads list for second year in row, but 2005 lacks blockbusterRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For the second year in a row, a giant Wellpoint deal led the pack. As much money was involved in Wellpoint's $6.7 billion acquisition of WellChoice Inc. as in the rest of the list combined. It was a huge deal by most any company's standard-except Wellpoint's. The year before, Wellpoint's $22.7 billion merger with Anthem Inc. led all deals and then some. Thanks to that single mega-deal, 2004's $31 billion list total shattered all previous local merger and acquisition records....
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Greetings from Florida-and the EdgeRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
NAPLES, Fla.-After 11 days of vacation here in Naples, I'm beginning to gear up to return to work. I'll be back in the office on the 23rd. Let me tell you what I've read since I've been down here. I started with "Memoirs of a Geisha," an engaging piece of fiction that tells a beautiful love story while revealing the inside world of Japanese geisha. Second, I tackled "The Grail Bird," a work of non-fiction that tells the story of...
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Clarian finds room for luxury: Hospital one of a handful to feature spa treatmentRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Tom Murphy
Women giving birth at Clarian North Medical Center now can enjoy a massage, manicure or pedicure before they return home to the sleep-deprived life of caring for a newborn. These are a few of the services Indianapolis-based Ology will offer when it launches its second hospital spa Jan. 23 at the new Carmel medical center. Ology opened its first more than a year ago inside Avon's Clarian West Medical Center. Spa Director Andréa Bradley-Stutz expects the latest location to top...
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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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