City kicking in $5M toward reuse plan for Bush Stadium

June 16, 2011
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Bush Stadium redevelopmentCity officials are sharing new details of a plan to redevelop Bush Stadium into more than 250 apartment units, while preserving the stadium's façade. Local developer John Watson plans to reuse parts of the existing stadium for some of the units and add additional apartments in what had been the outfield. A rendering suggests the $23 million project will preserve the stadium lights and restore the baseball diamond, which was dismantled as the stadium was used as a midget-car race track and later as a dumping ground for vehicles collected under the Cash for Clunkers program. Rental rates for the units will range from $480 to $1,400 per month. The project is expected to be complete by August 2013. The city is contributing about $5 million, including tax dollars generated in the area and more that will be transferred from the consolidated downtown tax-increment financing district. The  Indianapolis Indians played at Bush Stadium until 1996, when they moved to Victory Field. City officials revealed the plans for Bush Stadium at an announcement for a larger effort called 16 Tech, a vision that would require a public investment between $15 million and $20 million. Check out a PDF including several renderings of the plans here. The full story is here.

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  • Good & Bad
    If all the details provided come true this may be one of the best deals the city has crafted.

    Contributing only $5 million for basic infrastructure with $18 million in private investment doesn't sound too out of line for redevelopment.

    Nice idea to create a residential community with enclosed courtyard to jump start this area of town.

    The funding source for the rest of the tech corridor is completely misguided since it requires we sell the taxpayer owned water utility for pennies on the dollar and redirect proceeds away from utility infrastructure and a reduction of scheduled water rate increases of over 100%. Surprised it hasn't been rejected yet at IURC.
    • Great!
      Love it!
    • Sensitive area
      The core of this redevelopment area is an extremely sensitive zone, literally on top of a significant aquifer where high-capacity wells are used for Indianapolis' drinking water supply.

      Biomedical and research uses must have very good control of contaminants and pathogens there.
    • Lights
      Love that their keeping the old light on Bush Stadium development. How about adding a few low use LED lights to really create a landmark.
    • LOVE IT
      I absolutely LOVE it and I like Urban Dwellers idea about lighting it up with some LED's, that would rock. I can't wait to see the finished product!!
    • They are just renderings
      I'd be really surprised if they don't need to replace the existing roof structure, and I'd be surprised if stadium style lighting went back on top. I think these renderings are crafted to make it appear that the apartment buildings will maintain a lot of the appearances of the old stadium, but that when the final plans are crafted, it will be considerably different. These aren't plans. They are just conceptual renderings.
    • Brillant!
      This development idea is brillant!
    • Tiger Stadium plan
      I wish them better luck than what happened in Detroit. This is bascially the same proposal the City of Detroit had for Tiger Stadium. They were never able to find any interest, and all that happened was having a partially torn down stadium for a number of years. That was sadder than if they had just torn that beautiful stadium down right away.
    • Positive
      I love the idea. This is an awesome area for redevelopment as it is very close to downtown. It also has the benefit of being close to the White River, which someday could be a beautiful recreational area.

      I also love that the people commenting on IBJ see the positives and the chances rather than the negatives like in many other forums of local media.
    • Clarification Needed
      Cory,

      I read somewhere that the "field" is not going to be grass, but a paved area made to look like grass. Seems a grass courtyard/play area would be good for this facility.

      Second, can you check to see if the lights on the roof will be real or just there for the renderings. The lights really do make the whole thing look like a real ball park.

      All in all, a good solution to an ongoing issue.
      • Bush Stadium
        The comments about the acquifer bear noticing for development and the one about lights should also include no-light-pollution added by any development.
        But the idea and renderings are more exciting than many ideas that have been proposed for any number of projects. This one would fill many needs and be unique, too.
        As for White River becoming a recreational area, it is and has been. Some of it you have to look for like between Butler and Holcomb Gardens along the canal to IMA's 100 Acres and White River State Park which is completely served by existing (and well-used) greenway trails connecting to downtown. This section is beautiful and has several parks and public facilities along if from a rentable ballroom to boat docks to golf courses. Not to mention some of the most beautiful drives in the city bordering the above and even Crown Hill's paths and history.
      • Bush Stadium "grass"
        You can easily (and sustainably) put in pervious pavers with grass inserts that could handle limited traffic. For real paving there's also pervious concrete which allows water to dissipate through the surface instead of running off and causing (more) drainage problems. Should be required on ANY parking lot. Also proposed tree ordinance will require more trees and pervious surfaces even in industrial and commercial lots. And it's high time, too.
        • IURC rejection of water utility sale
          IURC is on the payroll and will give the utilities what they want, at citizen detriment. Why expect anything else in this business-is-sacro-sanct state?
          If the city is going to pitch in $5M of OUR money, why not do the same for Central State Hospital site; empty and deteriorating much longer than Bush, could use a shot of high tech jobs as much as 16th St. for residents and would lessen the misguided plans to put in 250-350 housing units in a place it isn't needed (and will add to an already stressed sewer system)and will devalue the area around it before it ever benefits it. Got the card before the horse, as usual.
        • Really?
          All this project is is a way of shoveling taxpayer money to government contractors. Do you all really believe people will want to rent apartments in an area that is the middle of an industrial area next to severely depressed residential area? You watch, Keystone Construction, a major contirbutor to the mayor and the company that hired Deputy Mayor Paul Okeson, will get the project.
        • Mixture of Grass and Concrete
          Indyman,
          The old field area will be mostly grass, with the base lines and plate areas concrete. The intent is to keep the light towers and lights, though I do not know that they will be operational. The developers intent is that people will still be able to see the semblance to the old baseball field that was there.

          IndyObserver,
          Your first few comments were well thought out and substantiated, but I am not sure why you started digressing to an unsubstantiated diatribe against the City and the area in general. Riverside and the 16th Street area have a lot to offer, not the least of which is their proximity to IUPUI, IU Health (Methodist, Riley, Etc.), Wishard, Marion College, Ivey Tech, the IMA, Downtown, and many other amenities, such as Riverside Park and it's three golf courses, the White River trail, and the Canal Towpath. I think I should throw in Long's Bakery as well:P Please keep in mind that two other companies saw fit to put quite a bit of their money into the area with the new apartments at tenth street/Indiana Ave and 1201 Indiana Ave.
        • You can use energy efficient, directed lights that will not add to light pollution, but still give the affect of the original lights.

          Indyobserver, I am sure no one would want to live in an old, tired, worn out downtown Indy. Or slums of the old northside and the near eastside. Same with the slums and mosquito infested swamps west of downtown around Lockfield Gardesn. Oh, thats right, those are some of the trendiest areas of town now.

          Anyone who does not think Indiana Avenue will develop into a desirable area of town, ignores the history of Indianapolis.
        • Pervious pavement
          This one problem with development over the drinking-water aquifer: If we infiltrate vehicle and salt-polluted runoff into the groundwater without bioremediation first, it's bad. If engineered or treatment-resistant bacteria or viruses get loose from bio-chemical research labs above our drinking water, it could be really bad.

          If we keep treating drinking-water sources as if they're no big deal, we'll get more polluted aquifers and expensive cleanups.

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        1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

        2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

        3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

        4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

        5. Oh wait. Never mind.

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