Fountain Square project would need city subsidy

November 27, 2013
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City officials are keeping tight-lipped about which developers have submitted three proposals to transform a city-owned parking lot in the Fountain Square neighborhood. But what’s clear is that the winning bid will need some form of city subsidy to make the project happen.

The three proposals are asking for a range of assistance, from “very little” to “a lot,” said Adam Thies, director of the city Department of Metropolitan Development, which is reviewing the bids.

Fountain Square logo“There’s not a [tax-increment financing] district in this area,” he said. “So how do you subsidize something without a TIF district? There’s no open pocketbook for subsidies.”

Thies declined to reveal specifics about the proposals, but said one has a movie-house component to it. All three include some form of residential housing above ground-level commercial space.

The parking lot is located at 1202 S. Shelby St., about a block southwest of the Fountain Square Theatre Building.

Linton Calvert, who operates the Fountain Square Theatre Building, said the area’s merchants association supports development of the lot, particularly the plan calling for a theater.

“It goes along with the art development that is happening here in Fountain Square,” he said.

The city’s request required a minimum project bid of about $340,000, Thies said, based on the value of the land.

Thies said his staff is evaluating the proposals and is unsure how long the interview process will take. A final decision would rest with the City-County Council.

Developing city property is part of Thies’ mission as DMD director to convert idled city-owned properties into tax-generating developments.

 

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  • YES to the theatre!
    I live 1 block from the proposed site. The movie house would be great for the area and downtown in general (would no longer be necessary to to travel to the Fascist Mall for the Landmark Theatre)! The proposal calls for 6 screens that would show independent and art house offerings. I'm sure it would show some "mainstream" movies as well. Parking would not be an issue because the proposal is calling for 2 levels of underground parking. This would be a serious gain for the Fountain Square restaurants. With all of the local great places to eat it could take movie and a dinner to a whole new level. Raise my taxes or let me personally contribute to make this happen!
  • I hope this is the corner
    The last few times I've been through Fountian Square it seems to be continueing to rise I hope this project will make it a destination--it's has been on the cusp for so long it deserves to be the next "it" district.
  • Fountain Square and TIFs
    Why would be have TIFs for Broad Ripple and not for Fountain Square?
    • Fountain Square and TIFs
      Should read: Why would we (Indy) have TIFs for Broad Ripple and not Fountain Square?
    • Why Either?
      No, the question is, why would we have TIFs for Broad Ripple OR Fountain Square?
    • Secretive businesss as usual for City
      Much like most major decisions the City makes on handing out money to developers, the public is completely shut out of the decision making process. Why?
    • TIFs
      Maybe the time has come to no longer have TIFs & instead use the revenues generated within these districts fund projects throughout the region. TIFs should be used to jump start development not to ensure that all revenues stay only in one area. Let's use the progress in downtown Indianapolis -- & other TIF districts -- to fund the rest of the community.

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    1. 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.

    2. If you only knew....

    3. 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.

    4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

    5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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