IndyGo adds two sites to list of possible property purchases

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In its ongoing search for additional office and operational space, IndyGo has added two more properties to the list of sites it’s considering purchasing.

One of the properties, at 2425 W. Michigan St. in the Haughville neighborhood, includes a 28,800-square-foot office building and one acre of undeveloped land. The building is occupied by IT firm Kinney Group, which has listed the property at $2.7 million and would vacate the site if it’s sold.

The other, at 9050 E. 33rd St., is part of the former Celadon Group Inc. campus on the city’s east side. The property, which includes a 61,000-square-foot building on a 7.64-acre parcel, formerly served as a trucking school for the now-defunct Celadon. The property is listed at $3.5 million.

At its Sept. 24 meeting, IndyGo’s board of directors voted 4-0 to seek two independent appraisals of each site and negotiate a purchase agreement for the properties based on those appraisals. One board member, Richard Harry Wilson Jr., was not present at the meeting.

As a public entity, IndyGo is prohibited from paying more than the appraised value if it acquires real estate. The agency must secure two independent appraisals, and the average of those two appraisals becomes the maximum purchase price.

IndyGo is also considering a third site: the former Celadon corporate offices at 9503 E. 33rd St., which includes three buildings totaling 110,910 square feet on a 10-acre parcel. IndyGo’s board voted in August to seek appraisals and negotiate the purchase of that site, which is listed at $4 million.

IndyGo spokeswoman Faith Chadwick told IBJ that the agency is evaluating multiple properties to see which would fit best with the agency’s needs, and it is possible that it might purchase more than one property.

IndyGo is seeking additional space because it has outgrown its headquarters at 1501 W. Washington St., just west of the Indianapolis Zoo. The agency’s staff and bus fleet have grown in recent years because of the launch of the Red Line and other route changes. The agency has about 900 employees, up from 627 in 2017, and its fleet of 209 buses is expected to grow to 271 once the Purple and Blue lines are built.

Over the last several months, IndyGo has evaluated several other properties that have since been dropped from consideration.

In May, the board voted 4-3 to secure appraisals for the former Harrison College site at 550 E. Washington St. IndyGo later abandoned those plans because several board members expressed concerns that the site would not suit the agency’s needs.

In June, the board voted unanimously to secure appraisals for 3049 Post Road, but those plans fell apart when the property’s owner decided to lease it to another party.

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9 thoughts on “IndyGo adds two sites to list of possible property purchases

  1. Keep expanding the offices and lines when the Red Line was deemed a failure with the same problems Albuquerque experienced? Indy forged ahead despite knowing this. It’s hard to comprehend the amount of money wasted on this continuing failed project. It was predicted and predictable. I am all for improved public transportation but would have used hybrid buses that followed existing routes.

    1. They are doing that. The Marion County Transit Plan is more than just the BRT lines. Either way, they need more space.

    1. IndyGo has not laid people off. In fact, more staff have been hired to provide deeper cleaning of the busses each night, as well as contractors that have been hired for that purpose. IndyGo is still hiring in many positions, including bus mechanics and other positions.

    1. That project (a new training facility) was put on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which greatly reduced driver training class sizes, putting a pause on that project at least until driver classes can be expanded.

  2. IndyGo has operated from a historic but renovated structure since its inception after the private transit agency folded. The IndyGo vehicle fleet at that time was between 115 and 125 buses. The structure accommodated vehicle maintenance and storage and administrative offices. The IndyGo service expansion plan was outlined in documentation prior to the voter approved referendum. More frequent service systemwide means more buses which in turn means more space is needed for vehicle maintenance and storage. Correspondingly, more bus operators and maintenance staff are required, they too must be accommodated. Service increases mean instead of a bus every hour, several routes will realize service every 30 minutes, other routes will realize increases from every 30 to every 15 minutes and up to three routes will have service every 10 minutes. One reiterates: the space available at the West Washington Street facility is inadequate to accommodate the future bus fleet, operators, mechanics, parts, and storage. It is prudent to acquire a property to meet agency needs for the future. Bear in mind that the a new facility will house the entire fleet; most cities of comparable size have at least two or more bus operating facilities. In consideration that the Red Line did not operate a full year under normal conditions, but was beset with pandemic related use impact, a sound declaration of failure is grossly incorrect and hyperbole. The Red Line and other routes have realized ridership decreases due to the pandemic; most transit agencies across the nation have realized ridership reductions of 60% to 70%. The bus manufacturer is on the hook for the BYD vehicles to implement stations to supplement miles between charging. And, bus procurements cannot be made at whim, but take time. New buses, indeed a good idea, can be acquired and lemon manufacturers can be sued for damages. In regard to routing, one should note that the the key planned change to a more grid-like system has not yet been implemented; this will lead to a more efficient network. Second, keeping every route as it was seems logical but does not respond the changes in ridership need, trip making characteristics, and demographic trends. The Red Line combines two the the historically strongest transit corridors in the city, Meridian Street from downtown to 38th and College Avenue. And those who use transit and have researched data understand the ridership along College Ave south of 38th has decreased over the last decade that to the north has increased. IndyGo plans for the Purple Line follows existing Route 39 and the planned Blue Line, existing Route 8. As both the Red and Purple will follow Capitol and Meridian, two dedicated lanes are need to accommodate frequency of both services and sufficient capacity for vehicular traffic is available on adjacent streets as traffic volumes streets have decreased over the last decade while increasing on freeways. Buses no longer stop at curbs along College Ave thereby eliminating periodic traffic snarling due to stopping buses, and two-way use of a single bus-only lane has allowed most curb parking to be maintained – yes, this a compromise. Does anyone recall the single southbound bus-only lane that once existed on College Ave south of Fairfield Ave; that lane removed all parking – since its removal College Ave (and other roadways) have been returned to two-way. So, keeping everything as is most often is not the answer. Keeping buses stuck in traffic and slower than 1969 is not the answer. The massive reduction of transit service during the Goldsmith administration to save money cost 50% of the daily ridership; that along with creation of the Department of Capital Asset Management to oversee transit was a true failure: less frequent service when people needed it, significant loss of daily riders, lower operating cost but markedly less efficient and effective statistics for cost per hour, rider per hour and operating ratio. The objective for transit must be good service defined by good frequency, access and travel time and also defined by accountability based on operating statistics for service delivery. For new transit routes, ridership projections are typically achieved 18 to 24 months after service initiation, not immediately. The pre-pandemic Red Line transported more daily passengers that some rail transit lines. Finally, Indianapolis can be viewed as a positive model of cost-efficient Bus Rapid Transit that can be as effective as rail. The community should embrace this lower-cost concept for quality transit service.

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