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May 27, 2008
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Lafayette SquareThis week's print IBJ is heavy on real estate news, just the way I like it. Check out some highlights:

Big plans for Lafayette Square
Lafayette Square Mall could look a lot like the revitalized Glendale Town Center in a few years if the mall’s new owners get their way. A proposed site plan shows that New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. is trying to pull off a retail expansion of about 300,000 square feet and also is considering office, medical or hotel uses for the 113-acre site (rendering shown above). A site plan suggests a Target to replace the vacant JCPenney, a Lowe’s in the mall’s northeast parking lot, along with several midsize retailers, including DSW and PetSmart. Full story

Not all feel need for 'Speed Zone'
Speedway may have been built on motorsports, but some residents think a $500 million redevelopment plan that would transform the small town into a year-round racing-themed destination goes too far. “The area needs to be redeveloped,� Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Scott Harris tells IBJ reporter Chip Cutter. But the plan has ignited controversy, fueling heated town meetings and allegations that developers simply aren’t listening to residents. Full story

Canal could get floating stage
A floating stage for concerts and a submarine memorial are in the works for Indianapolis’ Central Canal, Jennifer Whitson reports. Chuck Mack, a co-owner of Buggs Temple, has submitted conceptual plans to the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposing a floating, expandable stage that could be anchored in the basin in front of the restaurant at the north end of the canal. Separate plans are moving along to bring a portion of the USS Indianapolis SSN-697, a decommissioned nuclear attack submarine, to the canal. It would be positioned just north of the USS Indianapolis CA-35 National Memorial, which commemorates the lives lost when the cruiser was torpedoed and sunk in July 1945. The existing memorial is on the east side of the canal just north of Walnut Street. Full story

'Green' subdivision planned for Mooresville
In terms of eco-friendliness, few homes in central Indiana boast much more than a high-efficiency furnace or low-flush toilet. But a Carmel-based custom-home builder is so certain the region is ready to embrace the green movement that he is willing to risk investing in a residential community designed to achieve national environmental recognition. Frank Redavide, president of Castalia Homes LLC, plans to start construction within 60 days, Scott Olson reports. The 144-lot development, called Villages of Eastmoore, will be in Mooresville. Full story

  • Regarding the Speedway story, I grew up there, and my 'rents still live there. It's a great plan, and the community supports it. The couple of disgruntled business owners, who fail to see the financial windfall that's heading their way, don't represent the sentiment of the community. Some people are opposed to change and are scared of improvement. They just can't visualize the potential the area has and can't see the poor shape it's in now.

    Lafayette Square... Hmm. If Ballard was serious about a Chinatown or some sort of International Cultural Area, this is the place to do it. There are easily dozens of international restaurants and quite a few specialty grocers along Lafayette Road. Ballard also mentioned improving this area pre-election, looks like he could knock out two birds with one stone.
  • Isn't there alread a Target a couple of miles from Lafayette Square anyway? I don't know if Lowe's would want to build another store with the housing market the way it is.
    I think the Speedway plan looks long as they hold back a bit on the checkered flag might look a little too Disney World for the long term and might not age well.....but I like the idea of the roundabouts and the like.....
    I think the green village in Mooresville is a bad location. That doesn't seem like an area that would embrace this or pay for it.......
  • FYI. De-construction personnel/equipment have landed at the old Eastgate.
  • I think the Speedway ideal is wonderful. The area around the track looks run down and we have alot of out of town visitors that come to either see the races or to visit the track. I think this is long over due. You would think it would bring a lot of buisness to the area if it was cleaned up maybe made into a night spot whether there is a race or not.
  • They're building a greenfield development and claiming it will be environmentally friendly? Words fail me.
  • The sub on the canal will be slick. I hope those involved can pull it off.
  • I love that people are looking to redevelop locations on the deteriorating near-west side. Speedway sounds great, but a redevelopment of Lafayette square will hit a LOT of hurdles I'm not so sure they're anticipating. My parents live in Clermont, and Avon or Metropolis are their usual shopping destinations these days...certainly NOT Lafayette Square EVEN if they redevelop it.

    Nice to see the area isn't forgotten though...
  • I'm with you Dave. It's horribly ironic.
  • Best of luck to them on their plans for Lafayette Square. Even if they are right that the demographics are better than generally perceived, I think there's too much run of the mill retail competition too close for their plans to succeed. Along with the others mentioned in the story, the existing Traders Point and the proposed Brownsburg power center have and will continue to drain consumer spending that Laf Sq needs to survive.

    I agree with Ablerock that it should focus on being a unique retail destination, such as focusing on the existing international theme that has become prevalent. Finding a way to attract some higher end housing, and thus, some more local buying power, would probably help also.
  • Ironically, idyllic, you mentioned higher end housing near Layfayette Square... Funny because 20 years ago, there was high-end housing, and ALOT of it, so much in-fact that Pike Township has become overpopulated and overgrown, which ultimately leads to overcrimed too. The one thing the township planners did not anticipate... What happens when you keep building housing developments and forget to add police stations? That might be some clue as to one of the reasons why the area is getting run-down.
  • I am glad that they are at least trying to keep some retial in that area. I did shop at Metropolis last week because I had never been there before but I was in someone's car so unless they put some sort of express bus from downtown or from the airport I will not be returning to Metropolis. At least I can get to Lafayette Square on the bus.
  • While they are right that there are more people within 3 miles at Lafayette (by a small amount), what they conveniently leave out is that the average household income is $25,000 less in Lafayette's 3 mile radius than Glendale's.

    A classic developer trick. I do wish them the best of luck, and hope they can transform the center.
  • Jimmy this was taken from the article:

    The average household income in the Lafayette Square area is about $53,000, which is above the state average but below the Glendale average of $77,000.

    So they did say that but in a different way.
  • Indy is going into uncharted territory these days. I'mnot sure what to think of any of these new redevelopments. I'm sure pleased with Glendale, but for selfish reasons, cause I live very close. Macy's is wonderful, has about everything I need, and what I can't get there, I get at Lowe's or (soon) target. I can't stand going into Wal-mart, so I am looking forward to having a Target close by.

    Lafayette Square is such a unique piece of property. Its unlike anything else in the City. I sdoubt it succeeds, but we'll see what they have to offer in the end.

    Speedway needs all the help it can get. And please bring F1 back!
  • Crystal,

    Guess I need to practice my reading skills...
  • lol at Jimmy.
    I was at speedway recently and it is starting to look bad too.
    Lane Bryant is closing that location but may try to stay on the northwest side of town. Trader's point might work out for them. There is just too many half empty strip malls now on the west side. There needs to be some consolidation or something. Lafayette Place is almost empty also. Half of it can be plowed over and maybe converted to apartment housing. All along 38th street there are so many empty spaces.
  • I was just going to point that out, Crystal: how can Lafayette Square expect to boost rents when there is so much competing (empty) space that is more accessible and more visible along 38th St.? I agree with you...a lot of it needs bulldozer remodeling.
  • The Lafayette Square development as proposed makes no sense. Target is just over 2 miles away from the mall and Lowe's is approximately 3.5 miles. I don't think either retailer regularly builds with that kind of density model. I'd love to see redevelopment of the mall but I think the developer is going to have a much harder sell than they are anticipating.
  • Unless that Target store on west 38th is planning on moving. You can barely get to it with all the highway construction going on. I do like the idea of breaking the mall up like they did at Glendale. IU Medical group is moving their Broadripple location to the new office space going up behind Macy's. I think a mixture of office space at Lafayette Square may help. If you notice on Georgetown Rd just north of Lafayette Square they have built new office space. If they would tear down all those old retail spots like Michael's they could throw up a building and raze Lafayette Place and build apts or an office park.
  • The one commercial entity sure to thrive with great success in the Laf Sq area is 'Don's Guns'.
  • crystal, thanks for that tidbit about IU Medical moving to the north side of Macy's Glendale. I wondered how Kite would ever get thriving retail uses in those upstairs units, and thought that semi-retail office uses like medical, dental, PT, real-estate, and the like would be the way to go in those high-visibility spots.
  • Yep George Don's Guns is not going anywhere cuz he just loves to sell guns (lol)

    Thunder I talked to someone at IU Med Group and they are moving in July. (the IU sign is already up on the directory) Plus I was recently looking at the plans on Kite's website and Glendale is also getting a Famous Footwear Store which will be 6500 square feet on the same side of Macy's.
  • I think that the Speedway plan is LONG overdue. As mentioned, so many other raceways have shopping, hotels and restaurants, not vacant strip malls, strip clubs and trailer parks! Indianapolis' greatest and best-known asset is not being used anywhere to its fullest potential and I applaud the Town of Speedway on its vision. Sure, some residnets are going to be angered, but change always brings anxiety. The entire plan is a winner, especially the redirection of Georegtown Rd and 16th Street.

    I am anxiously awaiting the completion of this!
  • HMP.. The Laf Sq area declined because it had too much high-end housing? By high-end, I mean of the size and amenity that fetches a purchase price significantly higher than the median housing sale price. I'm no Indy historian, but I can't really see that being the case.
  • I think idyllic is right: Laf Sq area declined because the area to its south is plywood-on-slab subdivisions from the 50's and 60's, and the Pike Twp. area to its north and west has been filled in with tan-vinyl villages since the 80s. Nothing high-end until you get up to Normandy Farms, West 86th, and Zionsville...all outside 465.

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