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Retail lineup taking shape for CityWay project

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CityWay has landed a fine dining restaurant, a mixology bar, a Qdoba and a frozen yogurt shop as developer Buckingham Cos. turns its attention to the retail portion of the $155 million mixed-use project.

The 40,000-square-foot first phase of retail at CityWay is on track to be 90-percent leased by year's end, said Natasha Evans, Buckingham's director of leasing, during an interview at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual deal-making convention in Las Vegas.

Buckingham has closed leases for roughly 15,000 square feet and is finalizing another 10,000 square feet of retail deals to complement the project's boutique hotel, luxury apartments and YMCA branch.

Among the first committed tenants: Cerulean Restaurant, an "ingredient-driven" fine dining experience led by Indiana chef Caleb France, which is taking a 6,200-square-foot first-floor space in The Alexander hotel. France operates a critically acclaimed restaurant of the same name in Winona Lake, Ind.

A mixology bar and American brasserie called Plat 99 is taking 6,600 square feet on the second floor. The name was inspired by CityWay's spot on Alexander Ralston's original plat of Indianapolis.

Fast-casual restaurants and bars plan to take the first floors of the three apartment buildings along the east side of Delaware Street. The lineup will include Qdoba (opening a second downtown location), a national self-serve frozen yogurt chain, a 4,200-square-foot regional sports bar and a homegrown pizza concept, retail industry sources said.

The sources said the pizza offering is not Neal Brown's Pizzology or Martha Hoover's Napolese, which already plans a downtown restaurant at 30 South Meridian. It also wasn't clear which frozen yogurt chain has the inside track to become the first in the downtown core. (Evans declined to discuss the non-hotel deals since neither Buckingham nor the tenants have made the plans public.)

A proposed second phase of retail, which would more than double CityWay's offerings, tentatively calls for a big-box retail store taking up to 48,000 square feet at the northwest corner of Delaware and South streets, a handful of smaller retail buildings and first-floor retail in a new office building at the northeast corner of South and Alabama streets.

Evans said the plans for the second phase could change dramatically, based on market demand.

Buckingham's goal is to create a restaurant district that will bring people downtown and capitalize on traffic from both Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"People will decide to go to CityWay, then figure out where to eat," Evans explained.

The site is a retailer's dream thanks to a huge daytime population fed by the corporate offices of Eli Lilly and Co., WellPoint Inc. and Rolls Royce, said Frank E. Swiss, a veteran retail broker and principal of Carmel-based SwissCo Real Estate.

The addition of the YMCA branch, 157-room boutique hotel and 320 upscale apartment only boosts the site's prospects with retailers.

"It's just a matter of timing," Swiss said. "This is something people needed to see coming out of the ground. Now that it is, it should lease up well."

Swiss said retailers are showing fresh interest in the area along South Street. He's working with developer Ryan Zickler, architect of the stalled plan for Legends District SoDo, on the sale or development of a 1.2-acre surface parking lot at the southeast corner of Madison and South streets.

He's fielded pitches from a national retailer, a not-for-profit interested in a new headquarters and three developers with proposed plans of their own for the site.

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  • Cerulean
    Chef France does a great job at Cerulean in Winona Lake, and is a required stop whenever I'm in town. That food stands up to any food in Indy or Chicago for that matter. It's pretty great.
  • Oh well, ...
    ...despite the naysayers, I am very happy about this project and glad to see it coming to life. We want/need more of these developments downtown!
  • smells like fish...
    Touting 90% occupancy at this juncture sounds fishy. It's not like retailers are standing in line to get in there. This is not the Forum Shoppes @ Caesars in Vegas where retailers "pay" $$$ to become tenants.

    Since none of these tenants were precommitted they must be giving the space away. If they can disclose the occupancy level surely they can disclose tenant price per leasing square foot and free rent periods as well as TA $.

    What is the point in the landlord disclosing the occupancy? How about recasting the budget now based on current expected market rents in a proforma financial statement.

    Look the Colts sellout each game 100% occupancy but that billion $ deal is a complete bust out to taxpayers.
  • CRONY CAPITALISM
    Sounds like bust outs and lease workouts 24 months after they get in. How much Tenant Allowance $$$$$ is Buckingham(scratch that I mean the Taxpayers courtesy of Ballard) getting. What is leasing price per square foot? Oh that's proprietary, right. Another city inspired money pit - Crony Capitalism at work.
  • Glad to see this happen
    I'm glad the city felt this project was important enough to help support the loan. The banks weren't helping - so I'm glad the City felt this was an important enough project. The south side needed to see this happen. The city understood that there are a lot of major businesses with clout surrounding the site. Apparently the banks were clueless on the strength of the site.
  • Retailers Dream?
    If City Way is such a "retailer's dream" - why on earth did the city choose to give Buckingham much public money to see the area developed. It is long past time for investors and businesses in downtown Indianapolis to pay their own way, put their own money at risk and not take my money to build their businesses.

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