Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Legislators tackle range of business-related measures:Restricted Content

March 24, 2008
Property tax reform took center stage during the just-completed session of the Indiana General Assembly. But lawmakers also grappled with a host of other measures with business implications. A roundup appears below. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT One of the session's most divisive issues-whether to penalize companies that hire illegal immigrants-died during the waning hours. Under the legislation, introduced by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, companies could have had their business licenses suspended, or revoked after three instances. The Senate and House passed...
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VIEWPOINT: Indianapolis' utility acne syndromeRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Tom Henderson
It took decades of turning a blind eye to get here: Indianapolis has draped itself in utility poles. Walk, ride, jog or drive to any major street in Indianapolis, with the exceptions of a few designated boulevards, streets and avenues. Take a mental picture of where you are. Now, with Photoshop in your mind, remove the web of utility poles and wires from that picture and quickly open your eyes. We're visually strangled by them. Few streets are exempt from...
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Hoosier Heartland Highway pumps up hope on prairie: Expressway construction starting two years earlyRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Chris O\'malley
LAFAYETTE-For years, they've driven on little more than paved-over wagon trails pioneers carved into the hills nestling the Wabash River. Motorists on State Road 25 between Logansport and Lafayette have grown desperate for a replacement: the final, 33-mile western leg of the "Hoosier Heartland Highway." Today, the Hoosier Heartland expressway ends in Logansport-the western terminus of a newly improved, four-lane U.S. 24 that runs east, to Fort Wayne. But last month Gov. Mitch Daniels surprised highway proponents with word that...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Just when you thought airport lines couldn't get any longerRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Tim Altom
This isn't a column about business technology per se, but I couldn't resist the temptation to write about a half-dozen states thumbing their noses at the federal government and potentially backing up travel this spring at airports all over the country, including some of the world's busiest, all over a piece of plastic. After the tragedy of 9/11, one of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations was to create a hard-to-fake identity card for Americans. In 2005, Congress passed a huge defense...
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Telamon on the rebound: Diversification puts Carmel technology firm back on fast track, prevents layoffsRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
In 2003, Carmel-based Telamon Corp. hit rock bottom. So, founder Albert Chen returned to his roots. Taiwanese native Chen, 63, had spent two decades building his firm to serve telecommunications giants. But when the dot-com bubble burst, the telecom industry tanked along with it. Telamon-then Indiana's largest minority-owned business-saw its annual revenue plummet $300 million, down from $456 million in 2001. Most managers would have chosen to shrink Telamon to reflect its new reality. But Chen doesn't do mass layoffs....
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Nitty-gritty details yet to be resolved in tax-reform planRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
We've come a long way since the beginning of this legislative session, and lawmakers are edging closer to assembling a property tax reform acceptable to both chambers, both major parties and the governor. Lawmakers faced competing pressures from constituents, the governor, business interests, schools and local governments, and citizen groups as they tackled the issue, but they resolved to labor with a minimum of partisanship. Of course, they frequently make the same pledge when dealing with major issues, but an...
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Indy to host Urban Forum: Group that helps revitalize properties to showcase city's projectsRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Visitors in Indianapolis for the Urban Forum in April might patronize Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza in Irvington not only to sample the food but also the success of a neighborhood business district revitalization program. The pizzeria benefited from an effort called Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies, or FOCUS, through a $16,000 facade grant from the Indianapolis chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Indianapolis is one of 30 cities boasting LISC chapters. Nationally, they invested more than $1 billion in low-income...
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Mann, Opus team up to develop Ingalls industrial park:Restricted Content

February 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Locally based Mann Properties is stepping outside its comfort zone of small office/flex projects to develop a 140-acre industrial park and logistics center along Interstate 69 in Madison County. Mann is teaming with Illinois-based Opus North Corp. to put together plans for 1.5 million square feet of industrial and office space near the town of Ingalls. The two developers are optimistic that ground can be broken yet this year on the $100 million project called I-69 Trade Center. A potential...
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Streetcars work in Portland, but viability here uncertainRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Chris O'Malley
If the introduction of modern streetcars to one West Coast city can be replicated here, Indianapolis would see new, higher-density housing and related retail and restaurants shadowing the line. Fallow areas crossed by the tracks would become fertile for new investment. At least that was the case in Portland, Ore., a city mesmerizing to Indianapolis civic leaders, who last month formed Downtown Indianapolis Streetcar Corp. They risk being run out of town on a rail: a streetcar line will cost...
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Changes down road for transportation planning group?: Metropolitan Planning Organization weighs mergerRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Chris O\'malley
The prospect of urban sprawl might swallow up even those agencies tasked with planning for sprawl's consequences. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization is exploring a merger with Anderson's MPO, according to the Indianapolis agency's 2008 Unified Planning Work Program report. "The rapid growth of the Northeast Corridor has blurred the boundaries between the Anderson and Indianapolis MPOs; a joint committee is currently exploring whether consolidation is warranted," states the report. MPOs are virtually invisible agencies to the public even though...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Readers respond to Indiana stampRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Morton Marcus
On Jan. 14, I wrote about the new Indiana stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. I objected to the selection of a farm tractor with a cityscape in the distance as being typical of Indiana and invited readers to comment. Below are a few typical remarks: From a reader in Tennessee who grew up in Kokomo: "As I read your column, I was torn between what you were saying and my warm fuzzy memories of my childhood. ... Indiana represents...
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Green group touts its mission in HQ project:Restricted Content

February 11, 2008
Scott Olson
The Fountain Square property that Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc. has purchased to house its headquarters is undergoing a massive renovation that will transform it from abandoned derelict to an environmental showpiece. In the process, the not-for-profit environmental group is hoping to set a green example for other developments and draw attention to its mission. KIB bought the building at the corner of Fletcher and Shelby streets for $410,000 in October from the Southeast Development Neighborhood Corp. A $1.3 million redevelopment...
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HIGHWAY to HEALTH: Trucking firm Celadon drives down costs with innovative wellness planRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Scott Olson
Truck drivers are accustomed to logging lots of miles on their 18-wheelers, but on their sneakers? They are at locally based Celadon Group, thanks to its "Highway 2 Health" wellness program the trucking firm launched in 2006. Prodding employees to lead healthier lifestyles is a way to help cut escalating health care costs. It's a challenging task for any corporation, particularly for transporters whose workers are strewn throughout the country hauling freight on America's highways. Sitting behind a wheel for...
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Technology park could boost area's biomedical efforts: First phase of Purdue project, featuring accelerator building for up to 25 startups, should be finished this yearRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Scott Olson
The park is expected to be a major amenity for the area's growing biomedical economic development efforts. Purdue Research Foundation paid $2.5 million in June to purchase a half-interest in 78 acres at AmeriPlex industrial park. The university ultimately anticipates filling it with as many as 75 businesses and 1,500 jobs. AmeriPlex owner Holladay Properties, a South Bend developer of industrial parks, owns the other half of the site. Dubbed Purdue Accelerator Park at AmeriPlex-Indianapolis, the project is intended to...
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Brightpoint aims to stay ahead of wireless pack: Phone distributor looks to focus on add-on devicesRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Louis Jones
If Brightpoint Inc. wants to keep its place at the top of the cell phone distribution business, its leaders know they can't expect to rest on their laurels. That's why the Plainfield-based company hired mobile industry veteran Bashar Nejdawi to spearhead an effort to expand Brightpoint's so-called mobile enhancement business, selling add-ons that enhance a phone's functionality, such as hands-free devices, battery chargers, phone cases and software. The company already offers such accessories, but has not seen substantial success outside...
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Public offerings rise in '07: Three Indiana companies hit turbulence after IPOsRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Scott Olson
The market for initial public offerings in Indiana was on the upswing last year, as the number of companies to go public tripled, from one in 2006 to three in 2007. Locally based HHGregg Inc., Kokomobased Haynes International Inc. and LaPorte-based LaPorte Bancorp. Inc. became publicly traded. The fact that three more companies in Indiana became public doesn't represent a trend. But four others that have filed IPO registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission bolster the belief that...
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City emerging as drug distribution hub: Medco Health Solutions deal latest boon to growing subsector in Indiana's life sciences development effortsRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Thanks to a series of major economic development wins, Indianapolis is enjoying a pharmaceutical distribution business hot streak. Life sciences industry leaders hope to keep the sizzle burning in 2008 and beyond. "It's not something we're hoping we can do someday. It's something we're already doing now," said BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson. "We're simply trying to expand the footprint of what we're doing." Pharmaceutical logistics has become a big business. According to the Arlington, Va.-based Healthcare Distribution Management Association, U.S....
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Lawmakers call for advocate to support airline passenger 'rights'Restricted Content

January 21, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Northwest Airlines flight 1829--stranded on a Detroit taxiway for seven hours with lavatories overflowing and the 198 souls aboard without food or water--has now landed at the Indiana General Assembly. Two Republican lawmakers have proposed creating an "airline consumer advocate" to resolve disputes on behalf of passengers who've endured poor service.
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Westfield hopes to draw business farther north: New development could reduce residential tax ratesRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Michael Dabney
Back when they arrived in 1996, there were lots of open spaces and taxes were low, Jones said. "Overall, it was a good place to live," he said. Jones said he still loves living in Westfield, which is 20 miles north of Indianapolis. But he admits things are changing, which is a double-edged sword. Eight years ago, according to the U.S. census, Westfield had just 9,300 people. Now, it's a rapidly growing city with a population of 24,000, an increase...
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Community education keeping up with business: Lawrence Township, other districts making classes more convenientRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Scott Olson
Thirteen years ago, long before the current commotion over escalating property taxes in Marion County, a local public school superintendent became embroiled in a similar uproar. Residents of Lawrence Township in 1994 challenged former district leader Bernard McKenzie to rein in what they perceived as excessive spending of taxpayer funds. He responded by creating the Lawrence Township Community Education Program as a testament to the citizens and their support. Today, it has grown to serve about 6,000 people annually and...
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250 retailers express interest in midfield terminal spaceRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Retailers and restaurateurs have flooded Indianapolis International Airport with letters-of-interest for space in the midfield terminal, which is scheduled to open in late 2008. The demand is "more than five times" the number of concession spaces available, airport managers say.
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VIEWPOINT: Why Anderson lured me from FloridaRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Tim Kern
Baby boomers have five more years, 10, 15-then it's time to enjoy retirement. Except that we keep buying everm o r e - ex p e n s ive houses. What will happen when the paychecks stop? Facing this, I reassessed my situation in Florida. In two years, my taxes there tripled; insurance, doubled. An affordable mortgage didn't offset increases from the state and my friendly insurance company. To stay viable, I had to leave. Where to go? I figured...
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Celadon tries to reverse declineRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Chris O'Malley
In just over one quarter, shares of Celadon Group lost nearly half their value as profitable cargo got harder to find in a slowing economy. The stock closed at $9.13 on Dec. 19, down from nearly $17 in late August.
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: The worst of this year's technology snafusRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Tim Altom
Another year gone, and yet another Christmas gift for you. Every year, I collect examples of utterly horrendous technological snafus and write about them. No matter how awful your own meltdowns may have been, they can't have been as bad as these, so enter the new year with a light heart. The first example of disaster is fresh in the news still, at least in reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. The English government has lost disks with personal information...
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Logistics advocacy group Conexus gears up for statewide pitchRestricted Content

December 17, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Carol D'Amico, president and CEO of the newly formed industry advocacy group Conexus Indiana, is intent on boosting the visibility and growth of the logistics industry. Large though it is, it's also relatively ambiguous and sits in the shadow of the state's much-vaunted life sciences industry.
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  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

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