Irvington Plaza redevelopment project moves forward after planning delay

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Irvington Plaza (IBJ photo)

An effort to jump-start the redevelopment of the Irvington Plaza shopping center on the east side of Indianapolis was given a green light this week by a city commission.

The approval of a new plat map for the nearly 16-acre property in the 6200 block of East Washington Street comes as California-based developer Tallen Capital Partners LLC begins the process of developing a new master plan for the site. Tallen has the property under contract for an undisclosed price from current owner Erick Becker, who lives in Florida.

The replat of the site, which splits it from a single parcel into six outlots closer to East Washington Street and a much larger “block” parcel encompassing the remainder of the property, was unanimously approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday.

The proposal faced some objections from neighbors, who were concerned that there was no associated master plan for the project included with the filing—something that is not typically required for a replat request.

Terry Tallen, CEO of Tallen Capital, said while preliminary discussions are underway about what to do with the property, no formal master plan for the site currently exists. He said his firm plans to continue working with the Irvington Community Council and others over the coming months to determine that plan.

“We’re very grateful for the decision that [the MDC] made today, as they made the right call,” said Tallen, who studied business and played football at Indiana University from 1977 to 1982. “They saw the efficacy of what we put forth and rode with it. We were very disappointed that the Community Council filed an appeal on this map, as it’s just the first step of developing a site plan.”

The Irvington Community Council’s decision to appeal the map was an unusual step for the replat process, typically viewed as an administrative step in most developments that require one. However, the move opened the door for Irvington to secure two commitments from the plaza’s potential developer.

Those commitments, which solidified the neighborhood council’s support of the replat, consist of the MDC maintaining purview over any developments that occur on the site that include a drive-thru component, and a list of non-permitted uses for the property.

Tallen said he’s in discussions with Dairy Queen about constructing a store along East Washington Street, as well as some upper-scale fast food chains. He said the replat was necessary to show restaurateurs the dimensions of their property before they commit to the project.

The 156,000-square-foot Irvington Plaza was built in 1952 and for years served as a primary retail hub for the neighborhood. However, it has been on the decline since the 1980s. In May 2017, it lost a 32,000-square-foot Marsh Supermarkets anchor store, which led to even more vacancies. Today, it is nearly deserted.

Sue Beecher, president of the Irvington Community Council, said she would also like to see ideas for housing for the site—an idea that gained about 50% approval from residents in a recent survey.

Tallen said he is open to the idea of housing on the site, as well, but isn’t yet ready to commit to such a use because there continues to be disagreement over whether the housing should be dedicated for those of lower or moderate incomes. The designation would affect the developer’s ability to receive government funding.

As a whole, Irvington Plaza has long been viewed as a redevelopment opportunity for the east side. In 2019, the Urban Land Institute organized a committee that explored options for what could be done with the property. ULI’s suggestions for the site included a $110 million mixed-use development with a public green space, pavilion, community arts center, housing and commercial uses across 28 acres.

Tallen said while he’s evaluated those suggestions, he thinks it might be a stretch for the property to receive that much interest from potential investors.

“I think Irvington’s a fabulous community, but I don’t think we’re going to get that level of investment in the community,” he said. “We’ve asked [businesspeople] if they wanted to invest in such a project, but we’ve had no positive feedback in that regard. And to put another layer on it, this is a market-driven situation. We’ve now got some wind behind our wings, especially with this map, and we’ll see where it takes us.”

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16 thoughts on “Irvington Plaza redevelopment project moves forward after planning delay

    1. The DQ has been there for 40 years, they were just wanting to move it from the rear of the property to Washington St.

    2. “Let’s use prime real estate low revenue per acre businesses” is the type of thinking that lets developers make a quick buck and gives a small profit to individual businesses, but is a net loss to the city as far as tax revenue is concerned.

  1. Look at the projects on the Tallen website and you’ll very quickly get a sense of what their master plan will be. (Spoiler: suburban lifestyle center with drive-thru outlots)

  2. I didn’t look at the proposed plat, but without a plan in mind, especially an ‘integrated urban development plan’, it all sounds like another suburban row of outlets available for the highest bidder. Potentially another lost opportunity for real urban style development.

  3. Considering what disaster the entire area has become, a lack of other potential developers to say nothing of interested retail, about anything Tallen and Co. come up with would be a big plus. If they can secure a decent grocer, that would be a start. As for the pavilions, open space, arts center,….get real. For over 30 years there’s been ‘open space’ and decay. Might want to tread lightly on non revenue demands for this one. If they are willing and able to ‘cap’ the east end of Irvington with decent, functional development then be thankful and let them get to work.

  4. Large mixed use! with housing, Grocery, restaurants,and other retail and would do great. And you need some entertainment. Also need a parking garage.

    1. Agreed. I lived in Irvington for 5 years. This location needs a mixed use development and it needed it 5 years ago. Some housing component also makes sense. Can’t understand why people pushback against housing when we’re in shortage.

    2. Definitely would be nice to have some housing along the Pensy Trail in maybe a three or four-story building with some restaurants on the first level with patios overlooking the trail and apartments or condos on the second through fourth levels.

    3. People push back on housing because they don’t want low income people in their neighborhood. Sad.

    1. Aldi is just a couple blocks west, and Kroger brackets Irvington with stores at 10th & Shortridge and Twin Aire, and Sav-a-Lot does the same with stores at 10th & Arlington and at Sherman & Washington. Another grocery in that mix is unlikely.

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