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Developers roll out barrage of projects

December 31, 2007

It was a big year for downtown development proposals. Two in particular grabbed headlines: Legends District SoDo and Penn Centre.

The $480 million Legends District SoDo project calls for condos, as many as three hotels, a theater and 175,000 square feet of retail space just south of downtown.

The project could be one of the largest private developments in the city's history. It would sprawl over 11 acres that are now home to several parking lots, Subway and Arby's restaurants and the former Chateau Thomas Winery.

For the last two years, The Legends Entertainment LLC quietly has put several properties under contract. It now controls all the land and in 2007 closed on the first parcel, a 1.2-acre parking lot at the southeast corner of South Street and Madison Avenue, for $3.5 million.

The lead developer is Ryan Zickler, principal of Indianapolis-based Zickler Associates. Other partners are Tim Shrout, president of locally based Cedar Run Ltd., the developer of Heartland Crossing; and Doug Mennen, principal of Lafayette-based Mennen-Gutwein LLC.

"This gives the city an asset, makes Indianapolis more of a destination," Zickler said. "It elevates our cultural awareness. This will put our arts and entertainment on the map."

Plans also are taking shape for Penn Centre, a major hotel, residential and restaurant development across from Conseco Fieldhouse. South-side developer J. Greg Allen is proposing a project that would stretch from Maryland Street to Georgia Street along Pennsylvania Street, incorporating the facade of the Omega Building but excluding a small parking lot used by Hampton Inn.

The plans, designed by Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, call for a 240-room Le Meridien hotel, 150-room aloft hotel, 64 condos and up to six restaurants. Construction is slated to begin in January.

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