City puts land north of downtown back up for bid

March 25, 2014
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The city of Indianapolis again is seeking proposals to develop land north of downtown after the first attempt failed last year.

MLK 16th RFP 225pxThe Department of Metropolitan Development issued a request for proposals due by 11:30 a.m. April 16. A minimum bid of $497,250 must be submitted for the 2.4 acres near 16th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets.

Bidders must provide a development plan for “an integrated mixed use development” with access to 16th Street that has the support of the adjacent neighborhoods.

That clause may be the most important statement included in the RFP.

That’s because Opus Development Corp.’s failed proposal to buy the land from the city hinged heavily on its ability to purchase and demolish a series of nearby homes to make its plan work.

The company ultimately gave up, and in May scrapped its controversial plan for a development that would have been anchored by a Meijer store.

Opus encountered stiff resistance from residents of the Flanner House neighborhood, who received a boost from Indiana Landmarks. The historic preservation group included the Flanner House district on last year’s “10 Most Endangered” list due to the prospect of Opus’ redevelopment.

Opus had offered to pay $600,000 for the vacant piece of land and also needed to buy 35 homes in the neighborhood to make way for the Meijer.

Because the property may contain environmental contamination, bidders are “strongly encouraged” to review historical reports from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, according to the RFP.

Bid packets can be picked up at Room 2042 in the City-County Building.

The DMD will open and consider the bids at the Metropolitan Development Commission’s April 16 meeting.

It warns in bold lettering in the RFP that it will not consider the sale of the parcel for use as a convenience store, gas station or payday-type loan office.


  • IPS Bus Facility
    The city should strongly consider this location for relocating the IPS bus garage off Mass Ave. There's a reason UPS has their large distribution center just down 16th St from there: it provides great access to large N/S and E/W roads and has good expressway access nearby.
    • IPS?
      Now, wouldn't that be an attractive addition to the neighborhood?
    • IPS
      I'm pretty sure 2.4 acres would not be enough room for the IPS bus garage but I could be wrong.
    • Flanner House
      Just curious, what is so historic about Flanner House? Is it because its old? Looks like a rundown area to me.
      • Historic
        It's historic for what it represents to two generations of Indianapolis residents. Here is a brief overview from Historic Landmarks: 'The district’s 181 houses were built between 1950 and 1959 through an innovative self-help cooperative. African American families, who found it hard to secure conventional mortgages in the segregated city, helped build their own homes. More than half are still owned by the builders or their descendants.' Here is a link for an extended article explaining the significance of this neighborhood from IUPUI Professor Paul Mullins.
      • Closer to 6 acres
        I don't know if the bus garage would fit, but the 2.4 acre RFP here is only for the non-contiguous DMD-owned parcels. Adding up ALL the vacant land around that corner nets about 4.4 acres. The total jumps to almost 6 acres if they vacated the completely pointless remnant of Brighton Blvd and a mostly dirt alley. This corner is also littered with brownfields (some of them very nasty from what I've heard) that would need to be cleaned up if they want to do mixed-use with residential. It might be wiser to do something like a bus garage that wouldn't require as extensive remediation.

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