City set to unveil Market Square project plans

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City officials are set to unveil Tuesday the development they’ve chosen for a piece of the land where Market Square Arena once stood.

Mayor Greg Ballard is scheduled to make the announcement at 10 a.m. at the northeast corner of Market and Alabama streets.

The city in April received bids to redevelop the site from six teams, all proposing mixed-use projects. They ranged in size from eight to 52 stories.

Teams submitting bids were: Keystone Group and Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc.; Buckingham and Kite Realty Group; Browning Investments and The Whitsett Group; Flaherty & Collins Properties; Milhaus Development and REI Real Estate Services LLC; and Barrett & Stokely Inc. and Ryan Companies US Inc.

Forest City developed the 76-story New York by Gehry in New York City and is believed within the local commercial real estate community to have submitted along with Keystone the bid containing the 52-story proposal.

“We have flexibility; we can go short or mid-range,” Keystone CEO Ersal Ozdemir told IBJ in May, careful not to tip his hand.

If the 52-story proposal were to be selected, it would be the tallest tower in the city.

The renewed interest in the site, where previous attempts at redevelopment in 2004 and 2007 failed, comes after the mayor called for new proposals during his State of the City speech in March.

What’s different this time is the city is seeking redevelopment of about half the former arena site in hopes a smaller development might have a better chance of success.

The targeted property is the northern 1.96 acres directly east of the Indianapolis City Market at the northeast corner of Market and Alabama streets. The area is now segmented into parking lots from Washington Street north to Wabash Street. City officials hope a project on the northern half will help generate demand for future development on the southern half.

Local real estate experts say the city is wise to call for apartments rather than condominiums this time around, because securing financing for condo projects is still too dicey.

“It shows that there’s still a very high demand to live downtown,” city spokesman Marc Lotter said of the pending project. “It’s good to get this part of the process completed, and I know Mayor Ballad is excited to see the project get off the ground and get started.”

Lotter said one of the six teams submitting proposals pulled out of the running fairly early in the process.


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