Interchange project changes retail prospects on west side

Land at the Waterfront Office Park that sat vacant for decades is now ripe for retail development thanks to the reconfiguration of a west-side Indianapolis interstate interchange.

Property at the south end of the office complex, along U.S. 136, was a little off the beaten path until the state’s Accelerate 465 project drastically altered the makeup of the intersection where interstates 465 and 74 meet near Crawfordsville Road.

The road project concluded in the last month, rerouting traffic that once spilled directly onto Crawfordsville Road onto 136 instead.

Ted Kleinmaier and his son, Keith, owners of Retail Realty Inc., and another investor placed their bet on the property in March 2008 after plans for the interchange alteration were announced. They bought 2.13 acres at the northwest corner of Waterfront Parkway West Drive and 136 from an Ohio investor and sat on it until the road project took shape.

In February the bet started to pay off. They sold half  the property to a local partnership that is in the process of getting city approval to build a BP/Ricker’s gas station and convenience store. It also will incorporate a restaurant, possibly a Subway.

Ted Kleinmaier says he and his partners sold that parcel for what they paid for the entire piece more than four years ago. Even considering carrying costs and a rezoning, he figures they made out OK.

“We thought at the time we bought it, 'It'll take time, but down the road it should be a good investment.’ I don’t think we would have had much interest without [the road project],” Kleinmaier said. He thinks the rest of the land would be suitable for a small hotel or a restaurant.

Immediately east of Kleinmaier’s property, another four acres along 136 is now in play. Ross Reller, a land broker for the local office of Colliers International, has 1.36-acre and 2.6-acre sites listed.

The smaller parcel is owned by a dentist who had considered building an office there. It’s closest to where traffic exits 465 and is listed for $575,000.

The larger piece is owned by Hamilton Center Inc., a Vigo County not-for-profit that provides mental health services. Reller said Hamilton Center got the property years ago, possibly as a gift, and has been waiting patiently for it to become more marketable. It’s listed for $395,000.

He figures the interchange fix is exactly what was needed. Previously, motorists coming off 74 and 465 directly onto Crawfordsville Road quickly came upon Crawfordsville Road’s intersection with High School Road. The retail node there was too close to the off ramp for motorists to safely consider their options, Reller said.

“You didn’t have time to make a decision whether to go north or south on High School Road," he said.

Reller said interest in his listings has picked up since the road project ended. “We think people were watching and waiting to see how things functioned” once the new interchange opened.

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