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. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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