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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