Fishers to consider $27M in bonds for land acquisitions, life sciences park

The Fishers City Council on Monday will consider issuing $27 million in bonds to acquire 75 acres for a life sciences business park and to purchase a separate high-profile property along Allisonville Road.

After a year-long run of announcements about new and expanding life sciences companies, city officials are planning to build a life sciences business park at the southwest corner of 126th Street and Cumberland Road, anchored by Stevanato Group’s planned $145 million pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the city has sufficient tax increment finance revenue to purchase the 75-acre corn farm for $16 million, give half the property to Stevanato and then work with Fishers-based Sunbeam Development Corp.—the property’s current owner—to attract additional pharmaceutical and life sciences companies to the site.

“Over the last six to twelve months, in a fairly concerted effort that started with INCog, we’ve had a series of life science wins here to build the momentum we’re seeing today,” Fadness said. “With that, we’ve recognized the need to have readily available opportunities for when other companies knock on the door.”

Last year, INCog BioPharma Services announced plans to build a $60 million biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility at the northwest corner of Exit 5 Parkway and Cumberland Road. Fadness pointed to that announcement—and others from Bangs Labs, Genezen and Project Process—as evidence of the life science industry’s interest in the area.

That’s why he wants to establish the area just north of Interstate 69 as a place for pharmaceutical contract manufacturing, fulfillment and delivery companies.

“There is a huge market out there right now for the ability to produce anything, from an enzyme to a glass bottle that transports vaccines,” Fadness said. “But first and foremost, our priority is to get Stevanato squared away. The actual specific marketing of that site, the remaining site, will come in the following months.”

If the bonds and incentive package for Stevanato are approved by council, the city will spend $3.4 million to pay for high-capacity utilities, road and street construction, site rehabilitation and other improvements.

Megan Baumgartner, Fishers economic development director, said word about the proposed park has already reached prospective companies. The hope is, she said, to have a concept plan and marketing strategy soon

“It’s an incredible spot,” Baumgartner said.  “And the ability for us to offer that and complete a project quickly with some of the companies we’re hoping to attract—it really is an incredible opportunity.”

Not all of the $27 million bond request will be spent on that site, though.

The city also is planning to spend $1.9 million to purchase a roughly one-acre property at the southeast corner of Allisonville Road and 116th Street.

In October 2019, Hageman Investments LLC purchased the property and quickly entered into a land-acquisition agreement with the city to ensure the site might be developed with something that added to the corridor’s vibrancy. Under that agreement, the city had until the end of 2021 to either identify a redevelopment project or purchase the property from Hageman.

The former commercial building there was demolished in spring 2020, and Baumgartner said the city is now purchasing the vacant property ahead of the Allisonville Road and 116th Street intersection’s reconfiguration into a roundabout.

“It doesn’t make a ton of sense to actively put anything on that site when it might be impacted by the intersection improvements,” she said.

Federal funding for that project won’t be funneled through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization until 2024, so it will be some time before the property might be developed.

When it is, Baumgartner said it will likely become a commercial development with office, medical or retail uses.

Finally, $1.2 million from the bonds are expected to support infrastructure improvements related to Indianapolis-based real estate developer Thompson Thrift’s planned $63 million, 250-unit townhouse and paired villa neighborhood immediately south of the Fishers District.

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