City christens Market East cultural district downtown

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Indianapolis officials on Wednesday christened a new downtown cultural district that plays off the history of the City Market and anticipates new development on and around the former site of Market Square Arena.

The newly dubbed Market East District is roughly 14 square blocks bordered by Alabama and East streets to the west and east, respectively; New York Street on the north; and CSX train tracks to the south.

City leaders anticipate Market East will over time become a cultural focal point similar to that of the existing cultural districts: Broad Ripple Village, The Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave and Wholesale District.

The area is in the midst of a major redevelopment boom. Projects under way include:

— A $30 million global distribution headquarters for Cummins Inc. bounded by Market, Alabama, Washington and New Jersey streets.

— The $81 million Market Square Tower, a 28-story apartment development  north of Market Street and between Alabama and New Jersey streets.

— A $20 million transit hub for IndyGo bus routes, located on the south side of Washington Street between Delaware and Alabama streets.

— The $62 million Artistry apartment project at the former Bank One Operations Center at 451 E. Market St.

“Market East will be an area of architectural and urban planning excellence that will help Indy attract new people and companies to this thriving area of downtown,” said Mayor Greg Ballard at a Wednesday morning press conference.

The city also is launching a redesign contest for the deteriorating plaza at the City-County Building bordering Washington Street.

The competition will be funded by a $50,000 grant from the Central Indiana Community Foundation through its Inspiring Places Initiative. Once a design is chosen, the city will begin seeking partners and funding for construction of the project.

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