City proceeding with public safety complex at Eastgate

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The city of Indianapolis is moving forward to consolidate several public safety units at the former Eastgate shopping center after the City-County Council approved a 25-year lease for the space.

A Monday Council vote of 23-6 enables the city’s Department of Public Safety to lease 76,000 square feet in the building at a cost of $9.01 per square foot the first 10 years and $10 per square foot the final 15 years. The cost per year for the first 10 years is $685,000 and the cost per year for the final 15 years is $760,000.

Building owner Lifeline Data Centers, which bought the 40-acre property in May 2008 from Dallas-based JTL Capital LLC, plans to invest $8.6 million to renovate the space the city will occupy.

The city plans to consolidate several public safety units, including local operations of the Department of Homeland Security, in the southwest corner of the building. The city had considered leasing up to 210,000 square feet, but the size of the lease was scaled back. It’s possible the city’s Regional Operations Center, as it will be called, will expand in a subsequent phase.

“What the Regional Operations Center will do is bring a lot of entities together,” said Councilor Benjamin Hunter, who helped introduce the proposal. “It makes sense to have that technology in one area.”

Besides Homeland Security, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District, located at 3229 N. Shadeland Ave., and city park rangers, at 1147 S. Madison Ave., also will move into the space.

Between the three entities, the city expects to save $375,609 in annual lease and utility costs by consolidating operations in the new center.

The center should be fully operational by January 2012, and the city will begin making lease payments the following January.

IMPD should occupy the space by September, park rangers by the end of the year, and Homeland Security in March 2012.

When it acquired the property, Lifeline said it would invest $23 million to turn the 450,000-square-foot vacant retail center into a data hub.

So far, only about $2.5 million has been invested, but the amount will grow to more than $11 million with the city lease.

Much of the building will get a new roof. The exterior will be tuckpointed and painted white, and the perimeter will get a masonry fence and extensive landscaping.

The public-safety facility will become the building’s second-largest tenant. Lifeline occupies about 80,000 square feet at the northwest corner of the building in a former Burlington Coat Factory store. Lifeline hosts secure data networks for a variety of clients.  

The mall, built in 1957, was once one of the city’s premier shopping destinations. It was enclosed around 1970 to keep up with newer malls, but its fate was sealed by the construction of Washington Square Mall a few miles to the east in 1974.

In 1982, Simon Property Group—then known as Melvin Simon & Associates—bought the property, remodeled it and repositioned it as a discount retail center. Simon sold it in 2002 to a North Carolina investor. But by then it was in need of major reinvestment that never materialized. 

The city believes redevelopment of the property is critical to revitalizing the area.


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