‘Expand the smorgasbord’ at former GM site

Indianapolis has a rich history of turning challenging redevelopment projects into local success stories, and I have no doubt the GM Stamping Plant will become part of that history as officials determine the best uses for the expansive site near downtown.

gordon hendry Hendry

Former Mayor Bill Hudnut and the Urban Land Institute panel have proposed using the 1-million-square-foot facility for more residential development, along with parks and retail and office space and an iconic bridge.

Given the success of recent near-downtown residential projects such as Fall Creek Place, I believe this approach may be feasible, but I would offer additional suggestions that could transform the site into a destination not just for local residents, but also for the thousands of visitors our city attracts each year.

The site’s location along a major interstate near downtown and the airport is ideal for a large-scale development that could include a tourist-focused attraction such as an amusement and theme park as well as destination retail such as Bass Pro Shops or IKEA.

Instead of—or in addition to—traditional residential development, I’d also recommend a themed hotel such as Great Wolf Lodge or another get-away brand that would augment our city’s family-friendly reputation.

We need to be thinking not just about creating more options for those who live here, but expanding the smorgasbord for those who visit Indianapolis for work and play.

Finally, since we’re dealing with more than 100 acres, I’d urge officials to “land-bank” at least 30 acres for future development, such as the next Medco or another new corporate facility.

It’s not often that cities have opportunity to redevelop 100 acres close to downtown, and I believe that we can expand on a traditional vision to make this unique parcel into a destination for residents, visitors and businesses alike.•


Hendry, a first vice president in the local office of CB Richard Ellis, formerly led Indy Partnership and served as director of economic development for the City of Indianapolis.

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