With more than $9 billion of development planned for downtown alone over the next decade, there will plenty to keep an eye on in 2024 when it comes to commercial real estate in Indianapolis.
While most projects, such as Indiana University Health’s new hospital, Old City Hall and Pan Am Plaza, are efforts that will take years to come to fruition, other developments will begin to see substantive movement in the new year.
IBJ has reported extensively on numerous projects throughout 2023, both in the city’s core and in its many neighborhoods—including a few that are still in their infancy—but here’s a look at some of the biggest developments in the works in Indianapolis.
Circle Centre Mall
On Dec. 18, IBJ first reported Wisconsin-based developer Hendricks Commercial Properties—the same group behind the Bottleworks District—plans to spend $600 million over the next decade redeveloping Circle Centre Mall.
While a redevelopment was long anticipated after current mall owners Circle Centre Development Co. said in February 2022 it was embarking on a “transformative” revamp of the property, the announcement sets into motion what will likely be a months-long public process focused on the design and delivery of a final plan for the property.
Hendricks anticipates closing on the acquisition of most of the mall property in the first quarter of 2024, as well as a development agreement completed with the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis. Those moves will set the stage for Hendricks to begin engaging with neighbors, downtown organizations and businesses, city commissions and the general public as the company begins ramping up for a construction start in 2025.
Hendricks—which also developed Ironworks at 86th Street and Keystone Avenue—tentatively plans to put $100 million into a first phase of the redevelopment, which will likely take place on the south-end block bordered by Illinois, Meridian, Georgia and Maryland streets.
Lafayette Square Mall redevelopment
A new master plan for this project, now known as Window to the World, could come at any time. After all, the developer behind the project, Fabio de la Cruz, had targeted the end of 2023 for such an announcement, but delayed it in order to further flesh out the plans.
Earlier in 2023, de la Cruz’s company Sojos Capital announced plans for a new community center at 3540 Commercial Drive, just east of Lafayette Road. It also said it was spending $15 million to revamp the nearly 45,000-square-foot theater in the International Marketplace neighborhood into an Alamo Drafthouse location—a first for Indianapolis.
De la Cruz, who introduced an ambitious $200 million project for the northwest-side property in November 2021, has since gone back to the drawing board for the mall and other real estate under his control in the area, reconsidering both the development’s scale and its components. Initial plans called for the mall to be recast as a mixed-use property featuring a hotel, apartments, event space, retail and restaurants.
The new vision for the corridor should be unveiled in the first or second quarter of 2024, with construction likely to start soon after.
After years of inaction at the east-side retail property, there seems to finally be movement toward redeveloping part or all of Irvington Plaza.
Terry Tallen, CEO of California-based Tallen Capital, said he is under contract to acquire the property from current owner, Eric Decker, who lives in Florida, for an undisclosed price. The purchase would be allow the property to be positioned for redevelopment, including the creation of a new master plan for the site.
Tallen Capital earlier this year secured a replat of the site that paves the way for new plans to be drafted.
The 156,000-square-foot shopping center was built in 1952 and for years served as a primary retail hub for the neighborhood. It has been on the decline since the 1980s, and saw a rush of departures following the closure of its 32,000-square-foot Marsh Supermarkets anchor store in May 2017.
Tallen told IBJ in November he’s in discussions with Dairy Queen—one of the few bastions of the plaza’s heyday—about constructing a new store along East Washington Street. He’s also talking to other restaurant chains. A firm timeline for the redevelopment has not been established, but it’s possible some tenants and specific plans for the site could be revealed by the end of 2024.
Since demolition work on the former Diamond Chain Manufacturing Co. site started in May, most of the 20-acre site has been cleared to make way for Keystone Group and the Indy Eleven soccer team’s $1.5 billion mixed-use development along the White River.
Likewise, the city of Indianapolis is nearing the completion of a fiscal study for the project, centered on the economic activity expected to be generated by a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, as well as the numerous other components of the campus. The City-County Council in early December authorized the creation of a new taxing district known as a professional sports development area, or PSDA, that would capture revenue generated by certain downtown properties to pay bonds for the stadium.
The PSDA would generally rely on state retail taxes, local and state income taxes, and food and beverage taxes collected in the district, but the resolution for the district also allows innkeepers taxes and admission taxes to be used. The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation for the PSDA in 2019, permitting state tax contributions of up to $9.5 million per year toward debt service on the soccer stadium, as long as Ersal Ozdemir, who owns Indy Eleven, contributes at least 20% of the venue’s overall cost.
Once the fiscal study, being conducted by the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County and Chicago-based Hunden Partners, is completed, it will be presented to the State Budget Committee for review. The city also continues to work with Keystone to establish additional incentives for the Eleven Park development—a deal that should be completed and made public in 2024.
While the initial phase of the project is not expected to be completed until mid-2025, vertical construction is expected to begin next year. Eleven Park is expected to consist of the stadium, 600 apartments, 205,000 square feet of office space, 197,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a 4,000-seat indoor music venue. It also would include extensive green space and an amphitheater. The stadium alone is expected to cost anywhere from $200 million to $250 million.
Other big projects
There are plenty of other projects to keep an eye on in the new year:
— The $150 million Old City Hall project from TWG Development and 21c Hotels, which will be mostly focused on design work throughout 2024;
— City Market redevelopment by Gershman Partners & Citimark, including the anticipated two-year closure of the market itself for planned improvements;
— The city’s plans for The Drake apartments near The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, after receiving five bids for the property;
— Long-term strategic redevelopment plans for Indiana Avenue, which is undergoing a study from a New York-based firm;
— Clarity on the future of the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport, as well as the city’s strategy for the Jail I property, which could be torn down by the end of the year and presented for bid for redevelopment;
— Future of The Wilshaw hotel project, which has been stalled in Speedway since mid-2019 and saw plans for a bridge loan to a new developer delayed after IBJ reported the company’s leaders were fined by the SEC for certain business practices;
— Continued work on the redevelopment of Pan Am Plaza, a $750 million project that will see a new 40-story Signia by Hilton hotel tower and a massive expansion of the Indiana Convention Center;
— The city’s anticipated purchase of the Broad Ripple Park Family Center at the start of 2024;
— Work starting on improvements to a handful of underpasses associated with Union Station;
— The final piece of the $400 million-plus redevelopment of Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Commission Row, will open in time for the NBA All-Star Game weekend, Feb. 16-18.