Airport in talks with user for 149-acre site

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The Indianapolis International Airport could soon have a new user for a 149-acre parcel off West Washington Street, the same site that until this spring the city of Indianapolis was eying for a new criminal justice complex.

Property Director Eric Anderson said he’s been working with a non-aviation entity that would lease most of the land. Anderson declined to say more about the interested party. The deal “has some decent momentum behind it,” he said, but the parties haven't yet outlined an agreement.

The city, which would have taken up only a portion of the property, dropped the airport as the preferred site for the justice complex in April. Anderson said the other user has come forward since that time.

The city's decision to build the justice center closer to downtown on the site of the former General Motors stamping plant disappointed some west-side residents near the airport, who are looking for an economic boost. The 149 acres accessed by Bridgeport Road is one of several large parcels that the airport is marketing for sale or for lease, as it looks to boost non-airline revenue.

Anderson said that the parcel offers the best opportunity for a mix of uses, versus one large industrial or commercial user. He said the airport would need to obtain Federal Aviation Administration approval for the non-aviation use.

The airport's most prominent piece of available land is the former terminal and associated parking just west of Interstate 465 South, a total of 288 acres. Anderson said it continues to be the "most inquired-into real estate,” but no deal is imminent. The former terminal, which has been demolished, is on 167 acres west of High School Road. Just across the road are 121 acres of parking lots.

The airport has also ramped up marketing of land it owns at Ronald Reagan Parkway and Stafford Road. Anderson said he expects to receive final purchase offers in the next few weeks on 24 acres at the northwest corner of that intersection.

Another 40 acres or so on the southwest corner will be on the market in the near future, Anderson said.

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