Meadows neighborhood developer aims for retail

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A not-for-profit developer has brought new mixed-income townhouses to the Meadows, and on July 10 broke ground on a $20 million health and wellness center in the neighborhood.

The Meadows Community Foundation’s next, and most challenging, project will be to attract a major retailer to the impoverished, crime-ridden area east of Keystone Avenue along 38th Street.

Foundation President John Neighbours sees no reason that can’t happen.

“There’s retail flourishing down in East Lake in Atlanta,” he said.

Like the Meadows area, East Lake is an old suburb that fell into decline. Neighbours attributes its rebirth to “holistic” redevelopment, which provides the template that the foundation and its partners, locally based Strategic Capital Partners, The Sterling Group and Purpose Built Communities of Atlanta, are following here.

The Meadows developers realize that a national retailer, preferably one with a substantial grocery section, would find little reason to open a store in the area, where Cub Foods pulled out in the late 1990s. Neighbours said the key will be creation of a tax-increment financing district that would provide tax revenue for the district and probably a large discount on real estate. The proposed TIF district is due to go before the City-County Council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee this month.

The wellness center will house Indiana University Health’s low-income outreach arm, HealthNet, and a new outpost of YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. The two tenants will contribute $5 million and $1.5 million, respectively, to the 70,000-square-foot facility. United Way of Central Indiana contributed $2 million from its capital improvement fund, and the city of Indianapolis allocated $5 million of its federal-government-backed housing tax credits, Neighbours said.

Purpose Built Communities provided a no-interest $5 million loan.

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