Ten-acre parcel near Colts stadium hits the market

August 6, 2014

A 10-acre parcel just a stone's throw from Lucas Oil Stadium is on the market with an asking price of $5 million.

The property is owned by Minneapolis-based Valspar Corp., which has held the land since its 2000 acquisition of Lilly Industries Inc. At the time Lilly Industries had annual revenue of $650 million and was one of the five-largest manufacturers of industrial coatings and chemical products in North America. The operations since have been closed, and the facilities demolished.

The vacant parcel--primarily a mix of striped parking and raw lots--is bounded by McCarty Street to the south, Merrill Street to the north, West Street to the east and Kentucky Avenue to the west.

Ross Reller, senior vice president and director of land services for Colliers International’s Indiana region, is listing the land for Valspar.

“They’ve deemed it residual to their operations,” Reller said of Valspar’s decision to sell it. “They no longer have manufacturing operations in Indianapolis, and they’ve also watched the development opportunities around Lucas Oil Stadium.”

For a piece of property this large to become available downtown is unusual. A much bigger plot to the west of the Valspar site, however, is in the very beginning stages of redevelopment.

Just across the White River is the former GM stamping plant site. The group charged with selling the 102-acre property, the Michigan-based Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response, or RACER Trust, announced Monday that local developer REI Investments would acquire the entire site.

REI plans to build a $40 million, 15,000-seat amphitheater on the site, another portion of which has been earmarked by the city of Indianapolis for a criminal justice center.

Reller thinks the concert venue could help make the property he’s marketing to the east more attractive to a potential developer. The asking price for the land reflects the value Valspar thinks it has for redevelopment and not for its current industrial zoning status, Reller said.

He’s particularly bullish on the property if Oliver Avenue, which spans the White River and intersects Kentucky Avenue, is improved to serve as a main entry for the GM site redevelopment.

“We did not put this on the market knowing that REI and RACER Trust were going to come to terms,” Reller said, “but we do believe the timing is good for something to be done to this property.”

Some sort of mixed-use development might make the most sense, said Reller, acknowledging that the site might not have enough pedestrian traffic to support a retail project.

Abbe Hohmann, president of Site Strategies Advisory LLC, went a step further, predicting the property might be a tough sell.

“I think it’s a little isolated to start thinking about other redevelopment uses beyond industrial,” she said. “[There are] no amenities, like a grocery store, and it doesn’t have access to the [Cultural] Trail.”

The trail, which loops the downtown core with spurs to Massachusetts Avenue and Fountain Square, is helping to drive more downtown development, especially in the Fletcher Place neighborhood southeast of downtown.

Putting Valspar’s 10-acre tract on the market might open up more possibilities in the southwest quadrant, which has been slower to develop than other downtown areas, Reller said.

With the GM property to the west and the football stadium to the east, Reller said, “we think that we have some nice bookends.”


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