Retail lineup taking shape for CityWay project

CityWay has landed a fine dining restaurant, a mixology bar, a Qdoba and a frozen yogurt shop as developer Buckingham Cos. turns its attention to the retail portion of the $155 million mixed-use project.

The 40,000-square-foot first phase of retail at CityWay is on track to be 90-percent leased by year's end, said Natasha Evans, Buckingham's director of leasing, during an interview at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual deal-making convention in Las Vegas.

Buckingham has closed leases for roughly 15,000 square feet and is finalizing another 10,000 square feet of retail deals to complement the project's boutique hotel, luxury apartments and YMCA branch.

Among the first committed tenants: Cerulean Restaurant, an "ingredient-driven" fine dining experience led by Indiana chef Caleb France, which is taking a 6,200-square-foot first-floor space in The Alexander hotel. France operates a critically acclaimed restaurant of the same name in Winona Lake, Ind.

A mixology bar and American brasserie called Plat 99 is taking 6,600 square feet on the second floor. The name was inspired by CityWay's spot on Alexander Ralston's original plat of Indianapolis.

Fast-casual restaurants and bars plan to take the first floors of the three apartment buildings along the east side of Delaware Street. The lineup will include Qdoba (opening a second downtown location), a national self-serve frozen yogurt chain, a 4,200-square-foot regional sports bar and a homegrown pizza concept, retail industry sources said.

The sources said the pizza offering is not Neal Brown's Pizzology or Martha Hoover's Napolese, which already plans a downtown restaurant at 30 South Meridian. It also wasn't clear which frozen yogurt chain has the inside track to become the first in the downtown core. (Evans declined to discuss the non-hotel deals since neither Buckingham nor the tenants have made the plans public.)

A proposed second phase of retail, which would more than double CityWay's offerings, tentatively calls for a big-box retail store taking up to 48,000 square feet at the northwest corner of Delaware and South streets, a handful of smaller retail buildings and first-floor retail in a new office building at the northeast corner of South and Alabama streets.

Evans said the plans for the second phase could change dramatically, based on market demand.

Buckingham's goal is to create a restaurant district that will bring people downtown and capitalize on traffic from both Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"People will decide to go to CityWay, then figure out where to eat," Evans explained.

The site is a retailer's dream thanks to a huge daytime population fed by the corporate offices of Eli Lilly and Co., WellPoint Inc. and Rolls Royce, said Frank E. Swiss, a veteran retail broker and principal of Carmel-based SwissCo Real Estate.

The addition of the YMCA branch, 157-room boutique hotel and 320 upscale apartment only boosts the site's prospects with retailers.

"It's just a matter of timing," Swiss said. "This is something people needed to see coming out of the ground. Now that it is, it should lease up well."

Swiss said retailers are showing fresh interest in the area along South Street. He's working with developer Ryan Zickler, architect of the stalled plan for Legends District SoDo, on the sale or development of a 1.2-acre surface parking lot at the southeast corner of Madison and South streets.

He's fielded pitches from a national retailer, a not-for-profit interested in a new headquarters and three developers with proposed plans of their own for the site.

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