Plans emerge for old Winona

August 14, 2009
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Winona hospitalA few weeks back, IBJ reported on early proposals for the vacant former Winona Memorial Hospital. The five-story property is saddled with about $2 million in unpaid taxes and soon will become public property. So far, two groups have stepped up with ideas: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis wants the city to tear down the building on North Meridian Street and clean up the site so it can build a community park and outdoor learning center. And a private firm that specializes in environmentally impaired properties wants to remove all the asbestos and renovate it into senior apartments, keeping what had been a for-profit hospital on the tax rolls. Both groups expect to make their pitch for the property at 3232 N. Meridian St. after the city takes ownership. The full story is here. IBJ's editorial board weighs in on the issue here.
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  • Honestly, both proposals seem practical and feasible. I'm have mixed feelings for both. I guess I'll just let the best guy win and be happy with it! :)
  • This may be odd, but I wonder if the re-development plan into a private enterprise would really need all that space? Maybe The childrens Museum could scale back their park idea with some less land, and vice versa for the private. That way, taxpayers still get benefit of most of the property being back on the tax roll, we keep the citizens in the community who support and advocate for the Children's Museum happy (as we should, its a tremendous facility. I ran in to out of towners from Boston on their way to Boulder and heard about the CM and stopped by for the day).

    Surely a compromise for all parties could occurr. The taxpayers ultimately win because they get more tax money in the city, use of part of the property by visiting museum, and it cleans up a large distressed area not just along meridian, but also along somewhat unsightly Illinois Street.
  • green space or tax base? hmmmmmm... what a tough choice!!
  • How long do we believe it will stay green space...once the city pays all of the cost of tearing it down the CM will find the capital for an expansion....
  • I agree with Bob. If the CM still has a $220m endowment, their claim that they don't have the money to remediate the buildings is suspect. I always thought it would be part of a CM expansion plan, but a nature park on a constrained block surrounded by an economically challenged inner-city neighborhood does not seem to harmonize that well.
  • I love CM as much as the next person, but DAMN, if Indy does not take advantage of this opportunity, I will honestly consider moving out of Marion County,
  • I think both proposals could be blended together.The seniors don't need the parking and the children would be good for them to enjoy. The city gets the tax dollars and the CM gets another attraction.
  • I am anxious to see how much revenue will be returned to the tax rolls. Not trying to be cynical but I think I have seen this one before (OLD ST V's building).
  • Well, I'm sure it won't be as much as you think to the tax rolls. $2M in unpaid taxes on the property. Those will probably be waived by the city for CM or the developer just to get something moving on it. Then, more than likely if it is a private devleoper, there will be some form of Tax Abatement for this property. So all in all its not going to be that big of an addition to the tax rolls. However, it will add more in forms of payroll tax, etc.

    Why can't there be a compromize for the good of both companies. Does the Private developer really need every square inche of the parcel. Why can't the CM still get a smaller portion of the land to have a scaled down version of their educational outdoor space, and then the Developer pays less for the land, and is utilizing just the space he needs.

    Then it is a Win-WIN.
  • It could be an exhibit - the children can come watch the seniors and the seniors could have some fun mentoring opportunities.
  • Corey,

    How come the NewsTalk Blog has two real estate issues posted??
  • Maybe a local developer would like to take a crack at making a run. Is the City going to issue an RFP?
  • Senior apartments. Sorry, but make the C.M. pay to clean it up if they want it. That organization is not hurting for money!

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  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

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