North of South development to start this summer

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Now that financing for Buckingham Cos.’ massive North of South project has the city’s blessing, the local developer is turning its full attention to construction of the 14-acre, mixed-use complex.

The City-County Council on Monday night voted 16-12 to approve the sale of $98 million in municipal bonds that will finance the bulk of the $155 million project. Construction won’t officially begin until summer, said Buckingham CEO Bradley Chambers, who provided a run-down of what will happen now that the project’s biggest financial hurdle has been cleared.

Most of the project will rise on 12 acres of parking lots owned by Eli Lilly and Co. at the northeast corner of Delaware and South streets. Lilly, whose corporate campus is just south of the development site, is part of the Buckingham-led partnership behind North of South.

Lilly also is contributing a two-acre parking lot at the southeast corner of Delaware and South. That site, the only part of the project located south of South Street, will house a 75,000-square-foot YMCA branch.

Chambers said the YMCA probably will be the last component of the project to be built. He estimated that will happen in 2014. The Y is the only component of North of South that won’t be owned by the development team.

The other components—a boutique hotel, retail and office space, upscale apartments and parking—will be owned by the developer.

Before any of that can be built, the developer must secure city approval of the project design. That could come as soon as Wednesday at a meeting of the Metropolitan Development Commission. The city in December agreed to rezone the property for mixed-use development.

Chambers thinks infrastructure work at the site will start by early summer.

The first building to rise will be the 158-room Dolce hotel at the northeast corner of Delaware and South streets. Initial hopes of having the hotel open before next year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis are no longer realistic, Chambers said. An opening in late 2012 or early 2013 is more likely.

New Jersey-based Dolce Hotels & Resorts operates 27 hotels in North America and Europe, not all of them under the Dolce name. The Indianapolis hotel was designed by Chicago-based Gensler, an architecture firm with offices around the world.

At least some of North of South’s approximately 800 parking spaces will be complete in time for the opening of the hotel. Most of of the parking will be in the center of the development in two 400-space, above-ground garages. There will be limited surface parking.

The developer-owned portion of the project is also to include six buildings containing a mix of apartments, retail and office space. Two buildings facing Delaware Street and a building just east of the hotel facing South Street will be a mix of ground-floor retail space, office space and apartments. Three buildings in the interior of the development will be residential only and will house the balance of the project's 329 apartments. Rent for the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments hasn’t been finalized. Office space in the development will total between 10,000 and 30,000 square feet. There will be about 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Chambers anticipates most of the retail space being leased to “unique restaurant users,” meaning non-chain operations, although he didn’t rule out leasing to some nationally known restaurant tenants. The office space, he said, could be a draw for firms that do business with Lilly or WellPoint, which also has offices near the North of South site.

Chambers said it’s possible his company would partner with another firm to find users for the commercial space. Buckingham’s background is in the apartment sector.

Whoever is ultimately responsible for marketing the Buckingham development will probably end up using sales materials that don’t mention the name North of South. That name, said Chambers, was only a working title. He said it’s very likely the entire development will be rebranded.



  • wrong
    Carmel has not financed one condo or apartment in their downtown. What they have done is aggregate land, provided master planning, build sidewalks, promote the community in areas where multi-million dollar infrastructure already exists. this is far better for taxpayers than allowing more open land be developed where the city is stuck with additional
    police, additional fire, new roads, sewers, water, etc.
    Probably why Carmel has the lowest taxes inIndiana!
  • Basic Questions
    Does it reduce vehicular trips?
    Does it depend on independent parking structures?
    Who are the target retail customers?
    Is the residential component more than a token?
    Is the residenial price range broad or focused on the high end?
    Is the residential product consistent with its demographic?
    Is it pedestrian oriented?
    Are there public gathering spaces?
    Is it served well by public transit?
    Is it linked to the surrounding neighborhoods?
    Is it an island or part of the urban fabric?
    Is the mix of uses market-justified?
    Is it more than a glorified shopping mall?
    Is the range of commercial space complementary and sufficient?
    Has there been a stakeholder process?
    Is the infrastructure efficient and proven, or does it transfer upgrade cost to public agencies down the road?
    Is the architecture urban and cutting edge or derivative and banal?
    Is it more than shopping center pastiche?
  • @Travis
    Why is it worth every penny to get Rolls-Royce downtown? RR is already within Indianapolis city limits, already paying Indy taxes, and already employing thousands of locals. Yes, the additional employees downtown will help support more downtown restaurants, but at the expense of other restaurants closing by their existing facilities. It's really not a gain at all for Indy, unless you only care about downtown and not the bigger picture.
  • Incredible poor public sector investment
    The city graft keeps taking property off the tax roles for their buddys projects. So the folks out in the suburbs will not get their basic services fulfilled. Let's start setting forth TIF districts out in suburbia and keep the money for our own neighborhoods.
    Gee what engineering firm, arch firm gets the work, what construction firm gets the work, what adv firm will get the pr marketing and finally what law firm will get the work?

    Yeah the right question is did anyone do a market Absorption study which would reflect retail over saturated there is no demand for condo housing (just ask the developer of Villaggio @ East and South streets) they have inventory since 2005. Also the failure of the Maxwell

    Public corruption at it's finest as these city buffoons are not more financially savvy then true real estate lenders
  • Where is the promised ROI?

    Anyone who goes to downtown Carmel can see that most of the government financed condos and townhouses are empty. The same for the government financed retail space.

    Speedway has grand plans but very little has actually been built yet.

    Fishers development has largely been privately financed and modest in scope.

    Indianapolis had a 40 year head start on downtown redevelopment mostly in the mile square surrounding the circle. It is time to expect those public investments to start showing a private sector return on investment.

    It's not time to double down on public investment at the expense of earlier public investments with virtually no private sector investment in the deals (JW Marriott, Conrad hotels, three new stadiums, expanded convention center, Circle Center, subsidied sports teams, etc..)
    • More Retail Space
      So, Travis, you think all those private lenders simply overlooked the demand for residential space downtown when they considered this project and passed? Why is government better able, in your mind, to pick winners in the marketplace than private lenders?
    • And now we wait...
      There is definitely the need for more residential space downtown, but the real benefit of this project could be convincing Rolls Royce or another large company to move offices to the southeast side of downtown. In that case every dollar will be well spent.
      • Double Standard
        Seems Carmel/Fishers/Speedway can use public money to develop
        their downtown but when Indianapolis does so it's a bad deal and boon doggle.
        • City allows Lilly to use TIF as personal ATM while cutting jobs?
          Government made this project happen withthe public money over the objections of every bank in town. The market has spoken, yet these political jokers think they know better.

          I question devoting so much of our limited public money for a questionable retail development that will have a minimal economic impact and produce only a few low paying service jobs.
        • Glad its Happening
          Glad to see this important project happening. Its always good to see new downtown housing happening. This will add significantly to the good things that are already happening in the SE part of downtown and will help the Fletcher Place, Fountain Square and other areas on the near south side continue to grow.
        • Two Words
        • Very Exciting Project
          This project will go a long way in linking the horrible campus' of Lilly, Anthem and Farm Bureau with downtown and at last, provide cohesion in an area of downtown that has often been proceeded with "pay no attention to the development along South Street."

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