City looks to develop small parcel near former MSA site

February 6, 2014
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The pending development of part of the former Market Square Arena site has received quite a bit of attention since the city announced in June that it selected Flaherty & Collins Properties to build an $81 million, 28-story apartment tower.

                              parking garage 225pxBut in the meantime, the city put out another request for proposals to develop a nearby piece of property—albeit much smaller than where Flaherty & Collins plans to build—just east of that site across North New Jersey Street.

It seems the city is interested in developing the block-long sliver of green space that it owns along Market Street between New Jersey and East streets that fronts the parking garage. A new development essentially would serve as a wrap to mask the hulking parking structure.

The city received just one response, however, from Milhaus Development LLC, which is finishing the first phase of its Artistry apartment project across Market Street from the garage.

Milhaus proposed building 35 to 40 apartment units on the long patch of land, but the city rejected its bid for failing to meet the requirements of the RFP, said Adam Thies, director of the Department of Metropolitan Development.

Milhaus wanted to enter into a long-term lease with the city on the property, even though the RFP called for an outright sale of the land.

“It could be a great project; it just simply didn’t meet the terms,” Thies said. “The rejection has nothing to do with the design or aesthetics.”

A representative of Milhaus didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

Thies remains convinced the land “absolutely” makes sense for a housing project. It’s just one piece of his goal to transform vacant or idled city-owned properties into tax-generating developments, no matter how small.

  • Who's asking questions?
    It's a shame that nobody is asking why there is a mad rush to give away prime land next to the CCB where the proposed criminal justice complex rightfully should be built, along with tens of millions of dollars in public giveaways while we're being sold on the idea of turning over total control of a criminal justice site proposed near the airport to a private developer with a self-interest in the incarceration of more offenders.
    • Why?
      Why were Marshall's comments removed? There was nothing offensive about them!
    • comment removal
      IBJ's policy is to remove comments that directly insult another reader.
    • I think it makes total sense to move the correctional center out of downtown Indy. Why encumber not only the property the prison, courts et al would sit, but the area around it with a less than desirable use in an area where it will be landlocked? I am not sure there is enough room to build all that needs to be there, and the opportunity cost and physical cost will be higher downtown then at the airport complex. If a private developer can partner with the city to build this facility out in the hinterland where it will not be a drain on downtown development, then that is great. Property values will jump when the prison and courts are moved and along with them the bail bondsmen.
    • How?
      How in the world is that piece of land wide enough to build apartments on? Is there anyway you could post a rendering?
    • Subsidy?
      Did Milhaus's proposal call for a subsidy (abatement or otherwise) aside from getting the land for free? It's hard to believe that, with all the available land downtown, that a developer would choose to build a 15-foot deep apartment building without a considerable subsidy. It would seem like that would have high construction costs given the odd dimensions. Are more details of the response to the RFP available?
    • What land???
      I live near here and even just checked on Google Earth. This land doesn't exist, the parking garage extends all the way to the street. This can't possibly accommodate another structure. Not to mention there's no traffic at all on this block so it would be super undesirable for developers.
    • Smells fishy
      Another Indianapolis development story that smells extremely fishy (seems like we see one every day lately). There is barely any land to develop. Why is the Ballard administration pushing development of this random, small parcel so hard??? Many, many questions.
    • RFP
      I'm working on getting the RFP. I was unable to get it before posting the blog.
    • Gary question?
      Gary, Why is downtown a great location for a justice center? Who would want to open a business in that area? Do you own any busineses? Would you want to have a business with in 100 feet of people leaving jail? The justice facility should be outside of downtown so the City can develop that land. We would kill the City if we build a big justice center downtown and it would be a joke. Put the justice center out of downtown.
    • Sorry
      My apologies, I suppose, if my deleted comment was misinterpreted as offensive. Seems difficult on this blog, sometimes, to disagree with an opinion. You should try reading the comments on just about any post regarding the IRL on the "The Score" blog if you thought what I said was offensive. I'm just saying...
    • comments
      I certainly welcome debate, as that's the purpose of a blog. We just try to refrain from insulting another reader or denigrating another reader’s thoughts or opinions.
    • Indiana Tower
      On a side note let's bring back the idea of Indiana Tower at WSP. Seriously. Not joking. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about it, Google it. Since they won't let us have our own say on light rail, bring this back and shove it down their throats!
    • Why downtown
      The scattered justice-related facilities, Joe, are already in the downtown core and have not been an impediment to development downtown. Look how closely new projects close to both Jail 1 and Jail 2 have been undertaken without complaint. I live downtown within blocks of the CCB and the jails. I'm not a criminal defense attorney, but those who make their living doing so have, for the most part, established their offices in the downtown area within walking distance of the courts and jails, as have other ancillary services such as bondsmen, etc. This allows attorneys to run back and forth between their offices and court for hearings. If the entire complex is moved to the airport site, attorneys will either have to relocate their offices to the far west side near the airport, or hop in their car and commute to the far west side for a hearing that may last no more than 15 minutes. It really does upset the apple cart and force people whose careers have revolved around the criminal justice system being centrally located downtown to make some very tough, unnecessary decisions. Aside from the professionals' concerns, offenders making court appearances and their family members are presumably well-served by having the justice system located centrally downtown where it is easily accessed via public transportation or personal commuting as opposed to a remote location. The only thing driving the airport site as near as I can surmise is the desire of a private jail contractor to have close access to the airport to house con air inmates being shipped around the country by the feds. I'm basing that on comments made by Sheriff Layton in support of the airport site.
      • City County Building/Judicial Center
        No matter what you call it, CC Building, Judicial Center, or Jail, I can tell you from experience that these types of government service centers are not good for the downtown core. Ask anyone that has a business in The City Market. Not everyone that steps out of these buildings are criminals of course, but the fact remains that many of them are. If you don't believe that these types of (necessary) services hinder business growth in Indy, look no further than Louisville, Cincinnati, and Columbus OH. All of these cities are moving the judicial branches of city gov. outside of the urban core.
      • Details
        The proposed development would be on the south side of the garage facing the Artistry development. Milhaus bid because they are completing the Artistry and beginning the second phase. Adding apartments to wrap the garage will improve the streetscape along Market for their existing projects and with the activity in the immediate area, they can gain efficiencies that other developers could not. If you look at the aerial view, Market Street is unnecessarily wide in this area because of the design of MSA. I imagine any new development there would be able to remove a lane of traffic to add the necessary space for a development.
      • Adam Thies
        Scott, did you have a chance to ask Adam Thies why the suburban fire station was approved for downtown?
      • fire station
        Randy: The fire station design has not been approved yet. It's up for consideration at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Regional Center Hearing Examiner.
      • Location
        I believe the location is a small leftover portion where the Artistry was developed on the south side of Market Street. I don't think the Artistry took the whole block and left some land available for development.
        • PJ
          No, it is north side of Market Street, South side of the existing garage. Some grass there now, imagine a lane of traffic removed as well. You can fit a one-sided building there.
        • Indianapolis Justice Center
          Serious questions need to be asked about the Mayors latest public works proposal that is on scale with building another Lucas Oil Stadium or Wishard/Eskenazi hospital at great taxpayer expense. Not only should the large cost and promised cost savings be deeply scrutinized, but the basic logic of consolidating the entire central Indiana justice system with one landlord. Remember the large promises of cost savings made in consolidating IPD and the Sheriff departments. Any serious analysis would discover there was none. Remember the large promises made of creating one central court computer system called Odyssey? 7 years later, far fewer than half the courts use the system and the $73 million estimated cost in 2002 was no doubt far exceeded and no end in sight. Remember the promises made in building a IMPD Regional operation at the former Eastgate mall that now sits empty? Remember the original cost savings promises made in moving the IFD headquarters in a deal that has morphed into a completely different deal with no cost savings even promised any longer?
          • Re:Common Cents
            Common Cents, we all know there will be no cost savings. This is just another gift to his developer buddies who have funded his campaigns.
          • Umm...
            Again, I apologize if I offend anyone, but how on earth did this tidbit about the development of a very small piece of land get hijacked by conspiracy theories regarding the completely separate idea of a new judicial center - which itself is only in its infancy.
          • Common Cents, If the Justice Center is as successful as Lucas Oil and Eskenazi are, I say bring it on. The first has proven over and over that it is well worth the money. From additional convention space to the Colts and all of the other events, it keeps us a big league city. Eskenazi took a rats nest maze of buildings built over 100 years and created a world class hospital for rich and poor that will serve Indy for many decades. Both projects came in under budget and on time and they both proved their critics wrong on that front as well. Bring on a consolidated justice center with room to grow. Sorry that the lawyers and bondsmen will have to move offices, but that sort of thing happens. It needs to be what is better for Indy, not criminal lawyers.
          • re: Joe
            Really!?!? Since when is the city that desperate to develop that they'd give away the ROW? Crazy. There is not even close to enough room at that location. Adam, are you serious?!?
          • huh?
            This development makes no sense... I park here every day. Are they planning on building over the sidewalk? Wha?
          • indiana Tower
            I like the idea of the Indiana Tower that was proposed, but other comments are looks like a corncob. I'd take a variation of it. Personally, I think we should have some sort of a Ferris wheel or medium rollercoaster in White river state park and along the river....just my wish list.
          • Missing lane
            I was coming through there this morning thinking that with the Artistry bringing approx 5 units on line and the project on the MSA site bringing I forget how many apartments--I think you will be looking at a bottleneck if you add that many people and take away traffic lanes.
          • Prime Land?
            How is a narrow and oddly shaped lot next to a parking garage "prime land?" And if it were such prime land, then why would there only be one response to the city's RFP? It seems like it is a rather odd lot for private development and an even stranger place to build a large new criminal justice center. Also, if the proposal is to sell the land, then the city is not planning to "give it away." I am not debating whether the new criminal justice system should or shouldn't be downtown (though, I think there are good arguments both for keeping the courts/jail downtown and moving them elsewhere); however, I don't think this particular piece of land would necessarily be a good location for it--there are plenty of parking lots downtown that could and should be redeveloped, and several of them would be good spots for a new justice center.
          • Larger Puzzle
            All, this is part of the larger picture for this area. Artistry will be finished soon. Mentor and Muse will begin construction around the same time (2nd phase of the Artistry project) and Milhaus can work with existing resources to complete the urban edge along Market. It is easier to lease an apartment with a view of activity and residential than it is a parking garage. As for capacity, Market Street used to handle the largest capacity driver in a city, a sports venue. This requires huge demand in a short period of time. A few hundred residential units will not even come close to matching thousands of basketball fans.
          • RFP
          • Failure to meet proposal?
            Thanks Googler, I checked out the proposal. How the heck did Milhaus fail to meet the requirements of this proposal? There were only three requirements, turn it in on time, label it correctly and deliver it to the correct person/office.

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