Westfield council OKs $2.5M to make way for mixed-use project

May 12, 2014
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The city of Westfield will help Westfield High School replace its aging football stadium, making way for a $40 million commercial development at U.S. 31 and State Road 32.

City Council members heard from a half-dozen ardent supporters during a public hearing Monday night, but most already had decided to approve the $2.5 million contribution. The measure passed 7-0.

Westfield-Washington Schools had asked for the financial boost to accelerate construction of a stadium behind the high school, allowing the district to sell the high-profile parcel to a local development team with a grand vision.

As IBJ reported Friday, Westfield Community Investors is working on plans for a mixed-use “life wellness” project on 14 acres northeast of the intersection, now home to the district’s athletic fields and administrative offices.

The stakes are high, given the property’s location at a key gateway to downtown.

The developer expects The Junction to include a multi-story medical office building, a hotel with meeting space, an indoor family entertainment center—think laser tag and mini golf—and some restaurant and retail space, partner Randy Zentz told the council.

A future phase could include an “independent senior living product,” he said.

Council President Jim Ake said the $2.5 million would come from proceeds of the city’s water utility sale, and the money would be repaid through property taxes the commercial development will generate. School-owned land is not taxed.

And the project could serve as a catalyst for additional development, he said.

“I don’t know of a better win-win situation than this,” he said before the public hearing.

No one spoke against the proposal, and Councilor Steve Hoover said only one of the 300 or so emails he received on the subject was negative.

Councilor Rob Stokes said he would support the contribution as long as it was understood—and made official during the rezoning process—that the city would not offer any additional incentives for the project, and that the property owners and tenants must be tax-paying, for-profit entities.

 “One of the principle reasons we’re looking at this is the tax base incentive,” he said.

Mayor Andy Cook praised the council’s willingness to work with the school district to determine what’s best for the community.

“It shows, with cooperation, what government entities can do,” he said.

The Westfield Chamber of Commerce board also supported the proposal.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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