North of South project clears rezoning hurdle

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The downtown property where developers want to build a $155 million mixed-use project known as North of South won rezoning approval on Wednesday, but not without more resistance from nearby businesses.

Members of the Metropolitan Development Commission voted unanimously to rezone 14 acres of land—now home to a parking lot north of South Street between Delaware Street and Virginia Avenue downtown—to accommodate the project.

Locally based Buckingham Cos. is leading the development, set to be built on property owned by Eli Lilly and Co. The city is offering to provide an $86 million loan and build $9 million in infrastructure to get the project off the ground. Plans call for a boutique hotel, retail space, a YMCA and 320 upscale apartments.

But a handful of longtime area businesses, led by fabric wholesaler Mayer Paetz Inc. at 321 S. Alabama St., wants a commitment from developers that the project will not disturb right-of-way and on-street parking configurations.

Mayer Paetz is particularly concerned about semitrailers being able to access loading docks to make deliveries.

“What we have been looking for in these multiple meetings is an actual binding commitment,” the company’s attorney, Larry Whitham, told the commission. “We’re looking to you for guidance.”

Commission members, though, said they’re confident Buckingham will cooperate with Mayer Paetz to ensure semis have access to the docks, and work with businesses to make certain visitors have access to on-street parking.

Attorney Tim Ochs, representing the developer’s partnership known as NOS Innovation Partners, argued that right-of-way issues aren’t even relevant to a rezoning request.

“Nobody wants to see those businesses suffer,” he said. “But we’re entitled to [the street] just as much as they are. To have us make a commitment to property that we don’t own, it’s impractical—it’s impossible.”

Ochs said the proper city entity to air their grievances is to the Regional Center hearing examiner. Because the site is located within the Regional Center overlay district, its design needs to comply with Regional Center Urban Design guidelines.

The examiner is set to hear site plans Dec. 23, but a continuance could push it back to Jan. 13.

Earlier this month, the MDC approved a potential financing arrangement for the project involving the city.

The city is offering to provide the $86 million loan by issuing bonds and using income generated by the development to pay off the costs.
The $155 million price tag for the project includes the city loan and infrastructure-improvement pledge, as well as a $7 million contribution from Buckingham, a $6 million grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the $29 million in land Lilly is donating and $18 million for the YMCA branch, which the YMCA will fund.



  • I'm hungry
    i hope they build a grocery store with plenty of parking near by. that's one reason i wont move downtown even though i would love to. i'm not going to cart a weeks worth of groceries 3 miles from o'malia's only to have them taken by thugs and/or bums that roam around in that area.
  • Great project
    I pay taxes in Marion County. I support this project.
  • Huh?
    Is this the same tea party member posting repeatedly about the same damn thing?!? We get it... you don't like the project or the financing. Get over it. It's happening. And some of us, who pay just as much in taxes as you, WANT it to happen. It's called progress - growth - and if you don't like it I suggest you pack up and head out. Peace!
  • Wake Up
    Lilly is not "donating" anything.

    This project is roughly 95% government financed with grants, bonds, & separate infrastructure improvements.

    Here are the deals finer details:

  • I hate the deal
    All I can say is that this is the deal that turned me against Greg Ballard. I voted for him. And I've been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on other controversial matters like the water company deal and parking. But I don't approve of the way this was rammed through; I don't like the Indianapolis bond bank being used as a slush fund for politically motivated projects; I don't like Metropolitan Development rubber stamping these type of deals under the table with little interest in public sentiment; and I don't think we ought to indebt Indianapolis taxpaying residents with this financing when Lilly is perfectly capable of building out its own parking lots with its own money. Very few cities have bond banks. I think ours is being mismanaged. We're scraping by on libraries and IndyGo. Every million counts. And yet the mayor is free to unilaterally push through a hundred and fifty five million dollar project that taxpayers don't want using bond bank shenanigans. I don't like it a bit, and when Greg Ballard loses the next mayoral election I'll remember the day I turned against him.
  • Taking Advantage of the Holidays
    This project is screaming NO, yet the pleas are being ignored again.

    Its a government driven project that has little economic impact with few high paying, highly skilled jobs that drains shrinking public resources from more worthy projects.

    The banks rejected it and some amateur politicians think they know better for some less scrupulous reason.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

  2. Lafayette Square, Washington Square should be turned into office parks with office buildings, conversion, no access to the public at all. They should not be shopping malls and should be under tight security and used for professional offices instead of havens for crime. Their only useage is to do this or tear them down and replace them with high rise office parks with secured parking lots so that the crime in the areas is not allowed in. These are prime properties, but must be reused for other uses, professional office conversions with no loitering and no shopping makes sense, otherwise they have become hangouts long ago for gangs, groups of people who have no intent of spending money, and are only there for trouble and possibly crime, shoplifting, etc. I worked summers at SuperX Drugs in Lafayette Square in the 1970s and even then the shrinkage from shoplifting was 10-15 percent. No sense having shopping malls in these areas, they earn no revenue, attract crime, and are a blight on the city. All malls that are not of use should be repurposed or torn down by the city, condemned. One possibility would be to repourpose them as inside college campuses or as community centers, but then again, if the community is high crime, why bother.

  3. Straight No Chaser

  4. Seems the biggest use of TIF is for pet projects that improve Quality Of Life, allegedly, but they ignore other QOL issues that are of a more important and urgent nature. Keep it transparent and try not to get in ready, fire, Aim! mode. You do realize that business the Mayor said might be interested is probably going to want TIF too?

  5. Gary, I'm in complete agreement. The private entity should be required to pay IPL, and, if City parking meters are involved, the parking meter company. I was just pointing out how the poorly-structured parking meter deal affected the car share deal.