Greenwood eyes more land for development along I-65

Greenwood city leaders hope a 33-acre property near Interstate 65 that’s targeted for multi-family development will attract a buyer quicker than another high-profile parcel along the roadway.

The 33-acre parcel, west of the interstate and near where a new $18 million interchange is set to be constructed next year, is on the market for $46,000 per acre, or roughly $1.5 million.

Margaret McGovern, a broker at Keller Williams Commercial in Greenwood, is helping to list the farmland that the city’s comprehensive plan has designated as a multi-family use. Under zoning guidelines, the land could support 15 to 20 units per acre.

The three family members who own the land, two of whom live on it, have yet to receive an offer since McGovern first listed it in July. But she thinks interest might increase once construction starts on the interchange.

“We’re certainly not discouraged,” she said. “Land sales take a long time, but we had hoped to have more initial response than we have had.”

Construction could start yet this year on the interchange at I-65 and Worthsville Road south of Greenwood’s Main Street exit. The Indiana Department of Transportation estimated the cost at $18 million. Bids from five contractors vying for the project all came in under the figure, an INDOT spokesman said.

What’s unusual about the interchange is that it will be constructed with a diverging diamond ramp requiring traffic on a freeway overpass to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road. The design enhances safety, experts say, by eliminating left-hand turns.

The 33-acre site is unlikely to languish on the market as long as an even-higher-profile parcel to the north that's been available for five years.

The city thought it had a buyer in April when Sarasota, Florida-based GoodSports Enterprises announced plans to build a $22 million hotel and indoor sports complex at the southeast corner of I-65 and County Line Road.

The project now appears to be in jeopardy as the company’s financing for the Greenwood project, along with others in four states, has fallen through, said Scott Langdon, who’s listing the land. GoodSports would take 11 of the 95 acres he’s marketing.

“They’re trying to do all of this with other people’s money,” he said. “GoodSports has the wherewithal to run it, but they need someone to own it for a while.”

GoodSports' push to build on the site comes five years after Nebraska-based Cabela’s abandoned plans amide the recession to build a store on the land. In March, the outdoors retailer announced plans to instead build its first location in the Indianapolis area in Noblesville’s Saxony development.

Site specialists say a destination retailer such as a Cabela’s or a regional draw, like a sporting complex, makes sense for the property because of it location near the interstate.

“With that particular site, it’s just a matter of time,” said Abbe Hohmann, president of Site Strategies Advisory LLC. “I don’t think it’s a site problem.”

Ross Reller, senior vice president and director of land services for Colliers International’s Indiana region, said it’s no coincidence that city officials are targeting regional-type draws.

“I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with the site,” he said. “I think it’s just a reflection that it’s a southeast location rather than a northeast location. It’s all in the demographics.”

The site is owned by private entity County Line Partners LLC.

The city agreed to invest $2 million to put in roads, sewers and sidewalks but not until GoodSports broke ground.

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