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Super Bowl legacy project taking shape on east side

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Just like Peyton Manning and his pinpoint passes, organizers of an east-side “legacy project” are on target to achieve neighborhood-revitalization goals relating to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

A major part of the city’s bid to host the game was the National Football League’s so-called legacy project. Its playbook calls for spurring redevelopment on the city’s blighted near-east side by rehabbing or building about 300 housing units and constructing an indoor training facility at Arsenal Tech High School.

Organizers, led by the John H. Boner Community Center and the Super Bowl Host Committee, hope the investment leads to a multimillion-dollar gentrification of the surrounding area.

The task could be as tough as knocking the veteran Colts quarterback out of a game, though.

Boner Center CEO James Taylor said four in 10 homes are unoccupied in the neighborhood, which is bounded by Interstate 70 to the north, Washington Street to the south, Interstate 65 to the west and Emerson Avenue to the east.

“One of the myths that is out there is that the NFL is bringing a train-full of money to the east side,” he said. “That is absolutely not the truth. The reality is we’ve been given the spotlight and the bullhorn to attract other folks who may not have been interested before.”

On Monday, the charitable arm of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors announced it is contributing $500,000 to help renovate 30 vacant homes and build two new houses.

The Boner Center so far has purchased 26 abandoned homes. Taylor estimated the cost to purchase and renovate the homes at about $4 million. A large chunk of the funding for that portion of the project, $2.5 million, will come from the city, which plans a total contribution of $4.8 million to the legacy project.

Organizers expect to have agreements with other funding sources within the next few months. They hope to have the first home built by the end of the year and also plan to support future home-remodeling and construction projects from any proceeds they might make from sales.

The idea is to have residents of the Jefferson Apartments purchase some of the homes. The complex, near the Boner Center at 10th and Jefferson streets, consists of 18 rental units and two condominiums that will be available within a month. The apartments will become a “homeownership incubator,” where residents get help finding jobs and cleaning up their credit, so they might one day buy homes in the area.

Boner Center had started on the project a few years ago, but it encountered funding problems as the credit markets soured.

The center initially had no problem lining up the National City Bank to buy $413,000 in annual tax credits in late 2008. But in January 2009, National City canceled all its tax-credit deals after it was acquired by Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank.

Considering the turmoil in the financial markets at the time, Taylor worried there would be a major delay. Then in March the center attracted Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, which provided a construction loan and closed on the credits last fall.

Taylor is certain the Super Bowl tie helped attract Milwaukee-based M&I.

The Local Initiatives Support Corp., a not-for-profit that provides start-up money to inner-city developers, connected the Boner Center to the Super Bowl bid committee.

“This is a pretty unique opportunity to get a lot of people, whether they are corporate or non-profit or government leaders, interested and focused on community redevelopment,” LISC Executive Director Bill Taft said.

Even so, Taylor said his center began embarking on a revitalization plan in January 2008, as part of the Great Indy Neighborhoods initiative. That program helped attract the NFL to the near-east side after Indianapolis won the bid in May 2008 to host the Super Bowl.

Objectives of the two programs are separated into four areas: housing redevelopment; economic development, with an emphasis on the 10th Street corridor; promoting the neighborhood; and the training facility at Arsenal Tech, which will be available for community use following the Super Bowl.

The NFL will contribute $1 million, if the donation is matched, to launch its Youth Education Town at the community facility. YET centers provide after-school activities for students.

Boner Center has commitments from the YMCA and Girls Inc. to offer programs at the center, and is in discussions with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Taylor said.

He expects rejuvenation efforts on the near-east side to last another five to seven years, long after the game has been played.

"There is no finish come 2012,” Taylor said.
 

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  • employees
    the Legacy Project has hired nothing but illegal immigrants to do the work. Guess there are no unemployed Hoosiers in Indiana?
  • re:numbers
    $153k sounds like apartment renovations for that part of town. I keep clicking websites listed in the articles. Where are the plans for the "near eastside" area? Perhaps $150k for the house and $53k on an 8 block radius of the home - repairing sidewalks, trimming back bushes, painting public park equipment. u know, improve community - "longer lasting investments" - "more bang for their (our) bucks", etc. Again, where are the plans located at on the website?
  • re: numbers
    $153k/house is not that high, considering that the cost includes improvements to modernize the infrastructure on each property. These are old homes that haven't been taken care of, not new houses on farmland.
  • who has the bid idea?
    Do you have any information about the parties involved in the development? Architects, builders, investors, etc...
  • who has the bid idea?
    Do you have any information about the parties involved in the development? Architects, builders, investors, etc...
  • numbers
    $4m to purchase and remodel 26 near east side abandoned homes? $153k per home. I'm interested to see what they build there (and what they purchased) because that seems a bit high to me.

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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

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