International Marketplace central to Lafayette Road redevelopment project

April 15, 2013
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Lafayette square international
                              marketplace bus shelter 225 pxThe area surrounding Lafayette Square Mall on Indianapolis’ northwest side hasn’t exactly been a magnet for redevelopment lately. Plagued by store vacancies and a fair amount of crime, the mall no longer serves as an anchor for the struggling neighborhood. But city officials hope to change that with a long-term plan (first phase to be unveiled Monday) to rejuvenate the area around 38th Street and Lafayette Road. The idea is to rebrand it International Marketplace by instead capitalizing on the influx of independent, ethnic businesses in recent years. “We’re trying to address the store vacancies and support those businesses there,” said Ryan Hunt, senior project manager for the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission. “There was a recognition to do something.” The city plans to start this summer by making streetscape and sidewalk improvements, in addition to replacing or repainting four neighborhood bus shelters. The plan recommends repositioning obsolete properties using $11 million in municipal bond proceeds. The bonds are backed by Community Revitalization Enhancement District funds, which are available thanks to the city’s decision in 2004 to make the area a redevelopment district. The designation allows reinvestment of up to $750,000 a year in sales taxes between 2009 and 2024. The public can view the first-phase improvements from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at New Wineskin Ministries, 4501 W. 38th St.

  • Better use
    How about, instead of trying to rejuvenate and rebrand a struggling and mostly dead area, why not use this large amount of area to relocate the criminal center from the downtown? Not only would this succeed in relocating the jail and city county building from the downtown area (allowing for new and more attractive development), but would also succeed in revitalizing the Lafayette area, as new development and infrastructure (restaurants, bail bonds, etc.) would be required to support the thousands of gov't employees that would work in the area.
    • Role of government?
      Is this really the role of our city government? To pick out areas, dream up projects, and engage in speculative real estate development? I am really troubled by Ballard's desire to play real estate developer with my money.
      • Wrong Mayor
        This area was designated a CReED district by then Mayor Peterson and approved under then Gov. Kernan. Mayor Ballard has supported the areas transformation to the International Market Place. That transformation is part of a broader goal of making the entire city more visible on the world stage.
        • "more visible"
          What better way to "transform" the city and make it more "visible on the world stage" than doing something about the large MSA vacant lot and moving the jail OUT of the downtown area? (beating a dead horse, I know...)
        • Good marketing
          I think this is an excellent marketing plan. The Indian, east Asian, Mexican, and Central American character of Lafayette Rd. makes it unique. Some streetscape improvements and aggressive marketing is needed. It's in the city taxpayers' interest,too, as so much of the westside retail development has been lost to the characterless strip centers of Avon. I would also like to see Simon Group convert what's left of the Lafayette Square Mall to a Glendale- or Traders Point-like open air concept. The shopping would be more conveneient and much safer, and it just may revitalize the corner of 38th & Lafayette
        • Demographic
          Steve, do you really think the demographic of this area can really (continue to) support a mall similar to Glendale or Traders' Point? I agree that the area would look much better, but it would be difficult to lure quality retailers to the Lafayette Rd. area.
        • @ Steve
          Simon sold the mall to Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp. in December 2007
        • area
          As long as there is a high thug demographic in the area, people are going to stay away. No matter how nice you try to make it look..
        • International theme brilliant
          this is an elegant celebration of the distinctive flavor of this region. No where else in Indiana can more cultures, languages and faith groups be found working alongside each other in harmony. Makes sense that they would team together to formalize this area's evolution into a truly international part of our community.
          • Am I missing something?
            "No where else in Indiana can more cultures, languages and faith groups be found working alongside each other in harmony." Um, am I missing something? Does this demographic diversity actually exist in this area? Are you sure we're talking about the same places?
            • Great idea
              Yes, the diversity actually exists. Are you an "expert" on this area without actually spending time there in the past 5 years?
            • Yep
              Yeah, it's a terrific area with a lot of really great restaurants, a killer Mexican grocery and a terrific international market. I am over there every week. So I think this is a great idea, if only they can do something about that awful blight of a mall. Like tear it down.
            • Plan Needed
              All the people bashing this plan obviously do not live in or visit the area. I live near the area and redevelopment with a central focus is definately needed. There are so many cultures that have converged here and the city needs to take advantage of the diversity with a unified goal.
            • "Expert"
              @Indymark: I was asking a question, not making a statement. Your undue sarcasm is noted, however. In reality, I'm there quite a bit, though only as a transient visitor. I have seen absolutely nothing that leads me to believe that there is a "great" amount of diversity in the area. "International" means more to me than white, black and hispanic. What I see when I'm there is lots of empty pavement, fast food, and plenty of car dealerships. Not a whole lot of people walking around. If such diversity exists, then great. I just don't see it.
            • @clarkybsu
              Not a single person has "bashed" this plan. I question whether or not the area demographic will support it (and suggested a better use for the area-IMO), and others have questioned whether or not it's the role of local government to spend our money on speculative development. You and I must have very different ideas of "bashing"...
            • Try doing it right the first time
              What's ridiculous is that the City is planning to spend money on streetscape and sidewalk improvements when they just finished a total rebuilding of 38th Street within the past year. Why didn't the City design 38th Street with appropriate sidewalk and streetscape elements for that project? The City's DPW ripped out the sidewalks that already existed, most of which had some separation from the loud and dangerous high speed traffic of 38th Street, and they replaced them all with their typical right up to curb sidewalk that nobody wants to stroll along and they made even farther to cross the street by widening the intersections to make sure cars can make all their turns at high speeds. The City needs better leadership that will actually get things right the first time.
            • Betteruse
              That would be a good idea relocating the criminal center and jail from the downtown area to where the lafayette square mall is now allowing for new and more attractive development downtown.
            • Betteruse
              That is a good idea relocating the City County Building and Jail from downtown to where lafayette square mall is now opening up the downtown area to new and more attractive development.
            • Project Site
              Does anyone have the map of what properties will qualify for this tax credit? I just listed a shopping center nearby on Georgetown. Will this qualify?

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