Trust invites bids on GM stamping plant property

The owner of the former General Motors metal-stamping plant near downtown has issued requests for proposals in an attempt to get the vacant property redeveloped.

The Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, based in Ypsilanti, Mich., said Thursday morning that it selected 12 developers, on a local, regional and national scale, to submit bids to redevelop the property.

“We carefully screened and pre-qualified capable developers who are active in this specific market or this kind of market that would be willing to respond to the RFP,” Bruce Rasher, RACER’s redevelopment manager, told IBJ.

Rasher said the names of the developers selected are confidential. RACER expects to receive proposals next month and could announce a deal to sell the 102-acre site by the end of the year.

RACER announced in June that it would demolish the 2.1 million-square-foot plant, which opened in 1930 and employed more than 5,000 at its peak, to make the property more attractive for redevelopment.

The trust is evaluating bids to clear the property and should select a demolition contractor by the end of September.

RACER took title to the property in March 2011, and the plant closed that June. RACER marketed the property—with the building included—for more than two years but was unable to attract a suitable buyer, largely because of the high cost of renovating the large plant.

“It was the overwhelming consensus of this group that the real value of this property is the land and not the building,” Rasher said. “The building was actually creating an impediment in the view of the market.”

Among the criteria RACER considered in selecting developers to submit proposals: the price they’re willing to pay for the property; how many jobs the proposal might create; and the reputation of the developer.

Mayor Greg Ballard said in a press release that he is pleased that the process to redevelop the property is progressing.

“As I said over two years ago, this marks one of the greatest redevelopment opportunities in the history of the city,” he said. “The city is eager to continue working with the RACER Trust to find a great private-sector partner whose vision and investment will bring new activity and growth to downtown Indy.”

In 2011, the site was the subject of an Urban Land Institute study that recommended a mixed-use, mixed-income development that could become an extension of downtown. The report also suggested that a bridge across the White River connecting the site with downtown Indianapolis could create a landmark entry point to downtown.

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