A business that had its land along Geist Reservoir seized by the city of Fishers through eminent domain has received permission to build a two-story restaurant across the street from its former property.
Marina Limited Partnership and Irving Materials Inc. were ordered to sell 70 acres of land east of Olio Road to Fishers in 2018 in the eminent domain seizure, so that Fishers could use the property to develop Geist Waterfront Park, a public park and beach.
The seized property had once been targeted for residential and commercial development, with plans for as many as 100 houses, a restaurant, offices and a marina. Even though those plans have been ruined, Marina Limited Partnership isn’t giving up development in the area.
The partnership received approval to build a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar on 4.76 acres of land it owns at 10999 Olio Road. The building housing the restaurant will feature a 2,500-square-foot enclosed basement along the waterfront with 500 square feet dedicated to commercial marina operations, restrooms and storage.
The building also includes a 2,500-square-foot enclosed first floor surrounded by a 2,000-square-foot deck and a 2,500-square-foot second floor. No restaurant operator has been identified.
Officials with Marina Limited Partnership have not responded to requests for information about their plans.
Fishers Planning and Zoning Director Tony Bagato told the Fishers City Council this month that he approached Marina Limited Partnership to talk about their driveway on property. The Hamilton County Highway Department is requiring the city’s entrance into its future beachfront park on Olio Road align with the drive leading to the Geist Marina boat ramp and storage facility. While agreeing to move its entrance north, Marina Limited Partnership successfully petitioned the city to allow for the restaurant to be built on the property sometime in the next five years.
“The east concept plan used to show a future restaurant and some potential offices and a marina on the east side,” Bagato said. “With the city building a park on the east side now, that has changed.”
City officials are preparing to break ground on The Landing, the $16 million first phase of the overall $27 million Geist Waterfront Park. That portion of the park will feature a gated entrance, a parking lot with a welcome station, an 88,000-square-foot beach, a beach-side playground, a fishing pier, a community building with restrooms, a canoe and kayak launch site, greenspace for multi-sport events like triathlons and an accessibility ramp leading to the beach.
Marina Limited Partnership agreed to implement new screening on its property, including fencing between Citizens Energy’s reservoir to the south and along the road to block the property’s continued use as boat storage.
Part of those commitments requires berming and evergreen trees to obstruct views of the property, but not so much so that it creates a dangerous traffic situation for drivers along Olio Road.
At first, council member Pete Peterson took issue with continued boat storage uses on the property.
“It doesn’t look good and it has never looked good,” Peterson said. “That boat dock launch doesn’t look good, but it has been there forever, so everybody gets used to it. If we’re going to approve it, let’s improve it.”
Council member Brad DeReamer, however, questioned whether that was proper.
“That boat storage has been there for 30 years, and we’re going to take it away from them? It doesn’t make any sense,” DeReamer said.
Ultimately, Peterson acquiesced and it was decided that boat storage could continue at the southern edge of the property, where it sits below Olio Road.