Trust invites bids on GM stamping plant property

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The owner of the former General Motors metal-stamping plant near downtown has issued requests for proposals in an attempt to get the vacant property redeveloped.

The Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, based in Ypsilanti, Mich., said Thursday morning that it selected 12 developers, on a local, regional and national scale, to submit bids to redevelop the property.

“We carefully screened and pre-qualified capable developers who are active in this specific market or this kind of market that would be willing to respond to the RFP,” Bruce Rasher, RACER’s redevelopment manager, told IBJ.

Rasher said the names of the developers selected are confidential. RACER expects to receive proposals next month and could announce a deal to sell the 102-acre site by the end of the year.

RACER announced in June that it would demolish the 2.1 million-square-foot plant, which opened in 1930 and employed more than 5,000 at its peak, to make the property more attractive for redevelopment.

The trust is evaluating bids to clear the property and should select a demolition contractor by the end of September.

RACER took title to the property in March 2011, and the plant closed that June. RACER marketed the property—with the building included—for more than two years but was unable to attract a suitable buyer, largely because of the high cost of renovating the large plant.

“It was the overwhelming consensus of this group that the real value of this property is the land and not the building,” Rasher said. “The building was actually creating an impediment in the view of the market.”

Among the criteria RACER considered in selecting developers to submit proposals: the price they’re willing to pay for the property; how many jobs the proposal might create; and the reputation of the developer.

Mayor Greg Ballard said in a press release that he is pleased that the process to redevelop the property is progressing.

“As I said over two years ago, this marks one of the greatest redevelopment opportunities in the history of the city,” he said. “The city is eager to continue working with the RACER Trust to find a great private-sector partner whose vision and investment will bring new activity and growth to downtown Indy.”

In 2011, the site was the subject of an Urban Land Institute study that recommended a mixed-use, mixed-income development that could become an extension of downtown. The report also suggested that a bridge across the White River connecting the site with downtown Indianapolis could create a landmark entry point to downtown.


  • totally agree!
    I think expansion of Zoo would be a great option, ie safari area or just more open grounds for those poor cramped creatures!
  • Aquarium
    I also love the idea of an aquarium here in Indy. We have a great zoo and Children's Musuem, but I think adding one other family friendly attraction would be a hit.
  • Build knowledge
    I agree that an aquarium would be a nice addition to the WRSP area. Other possibilities are a planetarium, science museum, or something along those lines that would build knowledge and culture. Perhaps even a museum of industry, given the site's history.
  • Aquarium
    A nice world class aquarium would be awesome. Build a bridge or have pretty easy access to the zoo from the aquarium and it would be a big hit!
  • A Big Ole Cricket Field!!!!!!
    I see more cricket in Indy's future!!!!!
  • Idea(s)
    How about some light industrial use on the west end, an intermodal transit station along the north side by the existing tracks, an extension of the zoo, a few city-view residential towers (nothing taller than 10 stories), and a nice Calatrava bridge to cross to downtown.
  • Ideas
    It could be an excellent place for CAT to relocate. All though they probably like the amenities of Chicago too well to relocate. (Despite high Illinois taxes) A huge water park would be a great draw for tourist, although parking could be an issue. A world class park with a bridge would be nice, but would require corporate funds to build. Forest Park in St. Louis is incredible. Indy needs a park like that, but it is funded from an endowment from Budweiser if I am not mistaken. I guess my ideas are pipe dreams, but that is what Indy needs more of.....Hudnut dreamers.
  • Here here
    I've held out hope that they would lay the land aside for future development and expansion of the Indianapolis Zoo. The Zoo has been hemmed in since it moved in there. Time will tell.
    • Far out dream
      Always glad to see new development. I can't help but wish, though I'm sure it's infeasible, that this land be used for an extension to white river state park. I think downtown could really benefit from more adjacent park space.

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    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim