Real Estate & Retail

Hat World shows sign of recovering from lackluster yearRestricted Content

August 4, 2008
Chip Cutter

The locally based headwear retailer Hat World made a name for itself by snatching up competitors and opening hundreds of stores around the country. However, after sluggish sales in the fiscal year that ended Feb. 2, the company--a unit of Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco Inc.--says it plans to open fewer stores than usual this year so officials can put their focus back on existing operations.


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Marsh sues Roche over sublease dealRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Cory Schouten

Two giants of local business are preparing to slug it out in court over a soured sublease deal. Marsh Supermarkets filed suit in Hamilton County this month to enforce a deal with Swiss pharmaceutical and medical-equipment powerhouse Roche to sublease the grocer's entire 148,000-square-foot headquarters in Fishers. The deal, worth more than $47 million over 18 years, is one of the largest of its kind in central Indiana in years.


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Mortgage industry under more scrutiny: Tougher rules don't include yield-spread premiumsRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Scott Olson
A housing crunch resulting from a flood of foreclosures has cast the spotlight on the deceptive practices that cause borrowers-particularly those with weak credit-to unknowingly pay more than necessary for a mortgage. The Federal Reserve earlier this month unanimously approved new lending rules in an attempt to tighten standards and prevent another such crisis. The changes will apply to all mortgage lenders and take effect Oct. 1, 2009. In the subprime category, a lender will have to assess a borrower's...
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Government officials dangle incentives, attracting firms across county linesRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Peter Schnitzler

Marion County economic development officials are proud of their latest headquarters attraction. Bowen Engineering Corp. will inject 103 high-paying jobs into the Indianapolis economy immediately. And over time, the company expects to add another 138. Their average salaries will top $70,000. The deal didn't require Mayor Greg Ballard to travel to Japan, or even to another state. Bowen Engineering is moving all of 8.4 miles, from its former home in Fishers to the 8800 block of North Meridian Street.


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BEHIND THE NEWS: Former Carmel exec goes from fast lane to jail cellRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Greg Andrews
Just a few years ago, Carmel businessman Edward Okun was living the high life. By last year, his personal holdings had grown to include four mansions, a helicopter, three airplanes, 20 automobiles, and a 130-foot yacht. Today, Okun is in a Virginia jail, is represented by a public defender, and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars. And, angry investors say, rightfully so. They charge-and government investigators agree-that Okun financed his lavish lifestyle by misappropriating...
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Independent coffee shops feeling perkier than StarbucksRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Chip Cutter

At a time when Starbucks is closing hundreds of stores nationwide, he and other local independent coffeehouse owners say they're doing just fine, largely because they're infusing their stores with personality and offering consumers an experience chain stores can't replicate.

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10 local Starbucks will be among 600 nationwide closingsRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
Cory Schouten
At least 10 local Starbucks stores are slated to close by early next year as part of a 600-store nationwide purge. The chain has named only 50 of the stores it plans to close, including two in Indiana, but it has notified the others. Those include at least six in Indianapolis and stores in Carmel, Greenwood and Beech Grove.
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Ex-franchisees sue Noble Roman'sRestricted Content

July 7, 2008
Cory Schouten
Nine former Noble Roman's franchisees and a current operator have filed a lawsuit charging that the Indianapolis chain lied to them about the costs and risks of opening one of its pizza and sub restaurants. The franchisees say the 1,000-restaurant chain aggressively marketed its stand-alone, dual-brand Noble Roman's and Tuscano's Italian Style Subs restaurants without testing the concept--a scheme they contend was designed to inflate the company's stock price so owners could unload shares at a profit.
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Ralston Square development lures bar, hotel, bowling alleyRestricted Content

July 7, 2008
Cory Schouten
A trendy bar and an upscale hotel have agreed to anchor the 11-story Ralston Square project slated for South Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets. The developers of the $60 million mixed-use project are moving forward after landing the tenants necessary to secure a loan commitment, said Brian Epstein, president of locally based Urban Space Commercial Properties and a partner on the project.
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High fuel prices take toll on resale values for trucks, SUVsRestricted Content

July 7, 2008
Chris O'Malley
As motorists rush to buy antacid pills with each $4.25-a-gallon fill-up, the same car dealers who got pudgy five years ago selling SUVs with $6,000 profit margins are scrambling to profit from Aveos or anything else with decent mileage.
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Group plots public-private revival for midtown Meridian neighborhoodsRestricted Content

June 30, 2008
Cory Schouten
There was a time when residents of Meridian Kessler, Butler Tarkington, and Broad Ripple viewed North Meridian Street as a connection between their neighborhoods. These days, the road feels more like a divide-an intimidating commuter highway between downtown and the northern suburbs that discourages pedestrian and bicycle traffic. A partnership of community groups including the Meridian Street Foundation is hoping to change that by giving the neighborhoods a collective identity--Midtown--and mixing private and public money to fund major infrastructure improvements.
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Lender claims M&I Plaza when it fails to sell at auctionRestricted Content

June 30, 2008
Cory Schouten
A Maryland company has taken ownership of downtown's 28-story M&I Plaza just three months before a major tenant departure leaves the skyscraper 70-percent vacant. The new owner is CapitalSource Inc., a commercial finance and investment firm based in Chevy Chase, Md. It had been a lender to the former owner, which defaulted.
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Ailing Steak n Shake rehires ad agency, but will pact stick?Restricted Content

June 30, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Local advertising powerhouse Young & Laramore signed a new contract with Steak n Shake, one of its flagship clients, just two weeks ago, but ad industry observers can't help but wonder if the 18-year-old relationship is about to run its course. Before the ink on the contract was dry, the struggling hamburger chain had a new board chairman who is likely to shuffle Steak n Shake's executive suite and take the company in a new direction.
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Premier's White taken into custody, posts bond

June 26, 2008
Cory Schouten
Premier Properties USA Inc. founder Christopher P. White was taken into police custody early this morning and released after he posted bond.
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HHGregg tuned into growthRestricted Content

June 23, 2008
Cory Schouten
Undeterred by a rocky economy, locally based electronics retailer HHGregg is trailblazing into new markets on a quest to quadruple in size. The firm's "price and advice" mantra seems to be catching on. That's no surprise to Jerry Throgmartin, a 33-year veteran of Gregg who has served as the company's chairman and CEO since 2003.
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BREAKING: Premier's White charged with 3 felonies

June 16, 2008
Cory Schouten
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office on Monday filed three felony charges against Christopher P. White, the founder of bankrupt development firm Premier Properties USA Inc.
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Logistics still driving central Indiana industrial marketRestricted Content

June 16, 2008
J. Jeffrey
For the past 10-plus years, central Indiana has benefitted from growth in the distribution/logistics industry with hundreds of new jobs and millions of square feet of new facilities. We've seen massive facilities go up one right after another, often topping the square footage of our tallest downtown skyscrapers. In the past eight years alone, the square footage of central Indiana distribution centers has more than doubled from 20 million square feet to 51 million square feet. And we're not just...
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Three failed businesses sink former Carson foe DickersonRestricted Content

June 16, 2008
Cory Schouten
Former car dealer and congressional candidate Eric Dickerson has filed for personal bankruptcy after three failed businesses left him saddled with more than $1 million in debt. Dickerson says he is virtually broke save for a $101,000 inheritance he is set to receive from the estate of his late mother.
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Trustee working to determine Premier assets

June 11, 2008
Cory Schouten
A bankruptcy trustee is planning an auction of Premier Properties USA Inc.'s remaining office furniture while struggling to get a handle on what other assets remain for the defunct developer.
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Business leaders battle over real estate left behind by Payton WellsRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Cory Schouten
The Malibus and Impalas disappeared from Payton Wells Chevrolet more than 18 months ago, but the controversy over the defunct dealership at 1510 N. Meridian St. is far from being in the rearview mirror for some of the city's top businesspeople and developers. A court battle over the dealership's properties could determine when and how the roughly six acres of prime land are redeveloped.
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Developers vie for property by Central LibraryRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Chip Cutter
Two high-profile property developers are squaring off for the rights to transform a six-story apartment complex adjacent to the Central Library downtown. Van Rooy Properties and Buckingham Cos. both submitted proposals to redevelop the Ambassador apartments at 39 E. Ninth St., just north of the library.
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Boberschmidt appointed Premier trustee

June 2, 2008
Chip Cutter
Philip Boberschmidt of the downtown law firm of Boberschmidt and Powers has been appointed trustee to oversee liquidation of Premier Properties USA - a task that begins today.
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IU, Bloomington disagree over best sites for biz developmentRestricted Content

June 2, 2008
Jonathan Hiskes
Indiana University and the city of Bloomington are at odds over how best to commercialize the university's discoveries--or, more specifically, where to commercialize them.
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Zender trying to sell 18 apartment complexes for about $40 millionRestricted Content

June 2, 2008
Chip Cutter
A locally based property management firm is struggling to find a buyer for its downtown apartment complexes, even as the city's rental market continues to thrive. The privately owned Zender Family Limited Partnership, which was founded 38 years ago, placed its 18-property apartment portfolio up for sale in November.
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VIEWPOINT: A prayer for the housing marketRestricted Content

June 2, 2008
Jon Ford
Please, Chairman, forgive me, for I have sinned and I herewith repent. Please Chairman Bernanke, hear my prayers. Please give me only one more housing bubble and I will forever honor you with the restraint you desire. I have succumbed to the seven deadly sins of investing and I herewith vow never again to do so, so long as you let interest rates continue to fall. I have been weak in seven ways: Hubris. Yes, it is true. I believed...
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  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

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