Fishers seeking to reinvent itself with redevelopment

September 23, 2013
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Fast-growing Fishers is embarking on an ambitious redevelopment plan leaders hope will create a vibrant, walkable downtown.

Site work on the first phase, a $42 million residential and retail development dubbed The Depot at Nickel Plate, has begun—the groundbreaking ceremony is set for Oct. 10—and officials are toiling behind the scenes on part two: a mixed-use replacement for the Fishers Train Station. (Read my full story from this week’s IBJ here.)

But there’s more to transforming Fishers than bricks and mortar. It’s just as important for the soon-to-be-city to fill the new buildings with the businesses and residents who bring a community to life.

Fishers’ strategy is to focus on building an environment attracts entrepreneurs, starting with town-backed Launch Fishers, a 13,000-square-foot coworking space located in the municipal complex. In less than a year of operation, the operation has attracted 275 members representing 75 companies—many of them startups.

Now Launch’s first members are “graduating” to more traditional digs, and the Fishers Redevelopment Commission is poised to help.

If a pair of economic development deals are approved by Town Council, mobile app developer Bluebridge Digital would pay a reduced rate to sublease offices from BLASTmedia, and the digital marketing firm would put up with tight quarters for a couple years before moving to an office building planned for the train station site.

The agreements would keep two high-potential businesses in Fishers, and economic development officials say they’re talking with other companies interested in planting their roots north of 96th Street.

Insiders also are working on plans for what’s informally being called “Launch 2.0,” an effort to develop office space for Launch Fishers members who have outgrown coworking but aren’t ready for a long-term lease.

What’s your take on Fishers’ redevelopment strategy? If officials build the downtown of their dreams, will businesses come?

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  1. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  2. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  3. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  4. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

  5. I live downtown Indy and had to be in downtown Chicago for a meeting. In other words, I am the target demographic for this train. It leaves at 6:00-- early but doable. Then I saw it takes 5+ hours. No way. I drove. I'm sure I paid 3 to 5 times as much once you factor in gas, parking, and tolls, but it was reimbursed so not a factor for me. Any business traveler is going to take the option that gets there quickly and reliably... and leisure travelers are going to take the option that has a good schedule and promotional prices (i.e., Megabus). Indy to Chicago is the right distance (too short to fly but takes several hours to drive) that this train could be extremely successful even without subsidies, if they could figure out how to have several frequencies (at least 3x/day) and make the trip in a reasonable amount of time. For those who have never lived on the east coast-- Amtrak is the #1 choice for NY-DC and NY-Boston. They have the Acela service, it runs almost every hour, and it takes you from downtown to downtown. It beats driving and flying hands down. It is too bad that we cannot build something like this in the midwest, at least to connect the bigger cities.

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