New life for Eastgate

December 7, 2007
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Eastgate Consumer MallThe long-vacant Eastgate Consumer Mall finally is getting a new tenant: a data-storage and web-hosting company. City officials are planning an 11 a.m. announcement today detailing an expansion for locally based Lifeline Data Centers. Two people familiar with the announcement confirmed that Lifeline plans to reuse all or part of the 370,000-square-foot mall, which was built in 1957. Lifeline now has operations at 733 W. Henry St., just west of downtown. "Seeing that piece of ground come back to life is a big deal," said Jim Garrard, the city's economic development director. What do you think?

UPDATE: Lifeline plans to invest $23 million in the blighted property, turning it into a tech campus with several acres of green space. The project is not expected to directly create any jobs, but as many as 1,500 people working for Lifeline clients could have offices in the facility, Garrard said.
  • Of course it's better than having it sit vacant, buy I fail to see how having just a private office and data center there makes it come back to life. Was there no way to attract any retail or something that would benefit the neighborhood around it?
  • Getting jobs to that side of town is unnecessary before you can attract a retail presence. By breaking to seal on the east side being viable for business, then the retail and people will follow.

    I think it is a good move. Thanks, Bart!
  • WHOOPS...that should read NECESSARY...not unnecessary. I clicked a little too fast on spell check.
  • Take that Eastgate haters! Hey Da Hooey, Carmel will have to host the mad cow rehab facility. ;)
  • Retail would not work there, period.

    If Washington Square is struggling, then retail 3 miles closer to town would never get off the ground. Ever.

    This is the absolute best possible use for the space and the best development news in Indy in years.
  • I completely agree with Nick.

    Anyone know how many jobs will be involved? Or will it just be a server farm surrounded by an empty parking lot?
  • It's a use of the land, but it won't revitalize the area around it except perhaps from the perspective of maybe making high-speed Internet more available for immediate residents. And I may be overstating that.
  • thundermutt: Good question. See the updated post for an answer.
  • Our company is actually contracting with Lifeline, so I supposed our data center will end up there at some point. I guess if something goes down at 3 am, though, better pack your gat.
  • Our company is actually contracting with Lifeline, so I supposed our data center will end up there at some point. I guess if something goes down at 3 am, though, better pack your gat.

    Are things really that bad out there now? I lived near 11th and Arlington for a couple of years, and I never had any trouble at all. As a matter of fact, my roommates and I were considered the bad element of the neighborhood because our punk band practiced in the garage.
  • Kudos to anyone willing to take a bite out of Eastgate. I grew up on the Eastside and a beneficial long-term use of the property is better than nothing at all.

    Retail on the eastside will have to wait for a major neighborhood residential overall and a raise in per capita income of east siders.
  • Russ,

    Dude, I live there. Pack your gat? Never had a problem in 11 years or crime on Woodside, one street east of the mall.

    I work in IT and what a great use for this location.
  • Interesting comments.

    This would not do anything for internet access, it's colo. It will completely revitalize the area by taking our a big festering sore.

    It's not unsafe there, you could walk thru there at nite with no problem. One of the biggest/busiest YMCA's is right there.
  • I fail to see how anyone can say anything negative about this project? Even if it does not create any new jobs or spur any new development directly, revitalizing several acres of blighted property is a huge first step for future development or re-development for the area. I am amazed at the cynicism of some of these posts...
  • Are things really that bad out there now? I lived near 11th and Arlington for a couple of years...

    Not at all. I've lived in Irvington for over 4 years and have no complaints. It's a city neighborhood, so there is going to be more crime than in new-growth suburbia, but it's not a bad area. Indeed, the only truly blighted property in that immediate area is the mall itself (and some smaller commercial properties along Washington Street). As one of the other posters noted, the Ransburg YMCA is immediately to the east and has been updated in the last few years. A brand-new Golds Gym is on the southern edge of the Eastgate parking lot. There is a fairly new and nice Kroger store on 10th Street immediately north of Eastgate. Holy Spirit Catholic Church and school are immediately northeast, and there are some nice, well-maintained 1950s/1960s neighborhoods along 10th street there. Pleasant Run golf course and Irvington are to the west.

    As I said above, the stretch of Washington Street between Kitley and Post Road could use a shot in the arm, but the residential areas around Eastgate aren't bad.
  • It's really refreshing to hear they plan to add acres of green space too! Nice job... :)
  • I will give Lifeline credit for locating within the beltway. Anyone who is watching trends will know in 10-20 years all the bad housing will be on the outskirts, and new growth will be inside the existing city limits. Excluding satellite and bedroom communities of course. I say this because gas will be $5-6 dollars a gallon, no one will want a long commute, the best healthcare and entertainment will be in the central city, and any housing (including around eastgate) built before 1970 is better built than all these foreclosed homes from the $110 in the beige villages. It’s already happening in Chicago and other major cities. We are always 10-15 years behind Chicago. Just wait. And yes the eastside is low in percapita income, as is parts of the north side. But single out neighborhoods and you will find Irvington is in the top five for per capita income, only problem is there are about 4 census tracts, not 20 census tracts like the north side. So a very smart move on Lifeline's part. To bad others didn't see it earlier.
  • Having a thriving business/office in this area will increase the tax base in this
    area, which will help the residents somewhat directly even if no new jobs
    or retail revenue is generated. Green space is always a good thing too.
  • It's finally glad to hear so many people standup for the eastside and finally nice to see old space get new life. I have lived on the eastside for almost 10 years (Emerson Heights) and love it. Housing is at a great price and well built. Neighbors watch out for each other and talk to each other. Nice to finally see the eastside get some new business and add to our tax base.
  • boring news
  • 1500 people working in tech will bring cars, feet, eyeballs, wallets and hungry stomachs to the area. This is huge, and wonderful. Kudos to the Mayor's economic development folks...too bad they couldn't have announced this five weeks ago.

    Thanks for the follow-up, Cory.

    Tearing up some asphalt and planting bushes and trees will be good too.
  • CrossedWire, I generally agree with your comments, however there are some areas like Windsor Park (near 21st and Arlington) and much of the East 30th St. corridor where the 50's-60's houses aren't very well built and are already becoming slums with lots of deferred maintenance.

    I especially concur regarding the beige villages. I shudder to think what Fishers will look like in 30-40 years.
  • I've often said to friends who want the new house in Fishers, that in 10-20 years those houses are going to look awful! They all look the same to begin with and don't appear to be solidly built. I think we will see a resurgence of people wanting quality, older homes nearer the city. I live in a small bungalow built in 1926 and if feels so sturdy and solid and still looks great after 81 years. The vinyl villages will not seem so appealing then.

    I think the Eastgate Mall news is great for the Eastside. It will never get an Ikea there or much else in the way of retail as it is right now. Businesses locating there is a good first, positive step.

    Thanks for the brilliant commentary Dustin. So glad you shared.
  • Really great news for the city and specifically for an area that needs a shot in the arm.

    And, of course, more boring and unnecessary comments from Dustin.
  • How does the city do a deal like this without talking to the other technology firms that might have the same interest. I know of several companies in town like NFrame, IQuest, BlueLock and others that would have been interested in bidding on this deal. How can only pursure one option? How does that work?
  • Arsonfirewoman and berwitchguy, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to both of you. You two are the most amazing people on the planet. Have a great day! :)
  • Doug, remember the site was privately owned...the city didn't own it. Anyone else willing to pay the seller's asking price was free to do a deal with the city first.

    One of the rules in development is that you talk only to whoever comes to see you...not all their competitors. Otherwise, no one comes to see you any more.

    There are still more vacant big boxes along E. Washington if some competitors want to cut their own deals...
  • Tiis could be really good for the surrounding area and stablilize the existing retail area if the additional offices follow the data center development as they are hoping. If the offices don't come, all that will be there are warehouse data storage buildings surrounded by barbed wire. I'm crossing my fingers that their dream comes to fruition.

    By the way, they need to rezone a portion of the property and/or get variances for the data storage structures.
  • As the snow flies
    On a cold and gray chicago mornin
    A poor little baby child is born
    In the ghetto
    And his mama cries
    cause if theres one thing that she dont need
    Its another hungry mouth to feed
    In the ghetto

    People, dont you understand
    The child needs a helping hand
    Or hell grow to be an angry young man some day
    Take a look at you and me,
    Are we too blind to see,
    Do we simply turn our heads
    And look the other way

    Well the world turns
    And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
    Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
    In the ghetto

    And his hunger burns
    So he starts to roam the streets at night
    And he learns how to steal
    And he learns how to fight
    In the ghetto

    Then one night in desperation
    A young man breaks away
    He buys a gun, steals a car,
    Tries to run, but he dont get far
    And his mama cries

    As a crowd gathers round an angry young man
    Face down on the street with a gun in his hand
    In the ghetto

    As her young man dies,
    On a cold and gray chicago mornin,
    Another little baby child is born
    In the ghetto
  • SOS, I'm like you. The idea of a 14-foot tall earth berm with security fencing (per another newspaper's report) doesn't do much for me.
  • Well being someone that actually lives close to Eastgate I am so elated to hear this news. There is no need for retail in that spot. Like many other people have said in this forum if there are offices there will be employees which willmake demand for resaturants etc. The part that sounded most appealing to me to tell you the truth was the green space. Any thing is better than what is there no so there is really no room for complaining about what is going to be done with east gate.
  • CrossedWires, Indy is a good 100 years behind Chicago. Hell, we're 10 years behind freaking Charlotte in terms of mass transit!
  • I like Rocky
  • It looks like Lifeline has put a drawing up on their website showing what Eastgate will look like.
  • To CDC and Firewoman,
    I have lived in Fishers for 15 years and tt is evident that neither of you have really driven through most of Fishers, ( White River all the way east to Olio and beyond) Sure, there are a few less expensive neighborhoods that won't age as well, but the fact of the matter is that there are just as many custom neighborhoods in Fishers as in Carmel. Just not as many 1-3 million dollar homes (more in the 375k-650k). Carmel also has many vinyl neighborhoods. It is often the case that comments by people such as yourselves who havn't even driven around both communities make comments to put down such areas to make you feel better about your own community. By the way I would challenge you to try and find a place to build a home for the 110's in Fishers or Carmel. It does not exist!
    Furthermore, possibly the most important component of the long term success of any community are the schools and crime. Keep schools high and crime low and your community will continue to flourish and be successful.
  • Fishersman, you are wrong to assume I've never been through Fishers. In a former job I drove through the area frequently.

    Now I have a question for you: have you ever been to Sunblest, the original Fishers area? Have you ever driven up Allisonville Road? Sure the homes near Geist (116th & Brooks School) are more expensive, but when I think of Fishers I don't think Geist.

    Finally, schools are a reflection of the community, and they change with the community. 25 years ago, Warren was considered a good district. 15-20 years ago, Pike was considered a good district. Not anymore.
  • CDC Guy,
    Yes, I am very familiar with Sunblest and Allisonville Rd (had many friends who lived there in back in high school). As a matter of fact at the corner of Allisonville Rd and 116th St. (the OLD center of town) are several custom home neighborhoods including River Ridge, River Highlands, Oakenshaw, and Barrington.

    I will grant you some of the areas in Sunblest are not as nice, but I think that is OK because that gives the town a more rounded out demographic and keeps us from having such an Elitest attitude.

    As far as your comments with regards to 116th and Brooks School Rd not being part of Fishers, but part of Geist......I cannot help that you don't think of Fishers, but think of Geist when thinking of that area. The fact of the matter is that area all the way down to 116th and Olio including the over 500 custom home Hamilton Proper development is Fishers (currently, not pending the annexation battle) It is the reason I felt compelled to respond to dispell such assertions and false perceptions.

    I agree with you that it will be a challenge to maintain the excellent schools that we now enjoy, but I think the overall demogrphics, local involvement, and willingness of the community and its leaders to pay whatever is necessary to maintain that level will continue as it has the last 20 years.

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