Plans for redevelopment of former GM stamping plant site moving forward

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is moving forward with its master planning process to redevelop about 20 acres at the former General Motors Stamping Plant site just west of downtown Indianapolis, where Elanco Animal Health Inc. plans to break ground on a new $100 million headquarters this spring.

The acreage, which runs mostly south of the proposed Elanco site, will consist of several buildings featuring residential, retail and small-concept office space ranging anywhere from one to 15 stories.

The IEDC and leadership of The Valley neighborhood presented initial plans to residents Thursday night following several months of consultation with local design firms Browning and MKSK. Those designs will continue to be ironed out over the next several months, IEDC officials said.

Mark Wasky, senior vice president of community affairs for the IEDC, said that’s because state, city and community representatives are still trying to pin down details of the future development, with hopes to break ground on some of those projects by the end of the year.

“We’re in the process of finalizing the high level master plan for the site,” he said. “The most concrete items that have been ironed out are really the transportation and utility infrastructure at the site. We’ve tried to plan for certain types of uses within each of the parcels that would be created through the construction of the roadway infrastructure, with a focus on animal health-related activities” and research and development.

As far as commercial elements at the campus, the IEDC is eyeing a variety of uses.

The lot at the southwest corner of White River Parkway and Henry Street could be used to expand the Elanco headquarters at a height of five to 15 stories, with upper floors that could either serve as hospitality, office or research and development space.

Other buildings between Henry Street and Merrill Street are expected to contain a mix of office, research and retail uses ranging anywhere from four to eight stories. And the southern portion of the development would consist of buildings ranging from three to five stories that generally include first-floor retail, along with small-format office and residential uses. 

West of Division Street, the IEDC is eyeing a small development of townhouses. And northwest of the Elanco headquarters lot, the agency is proposing hospitality and residential uses in buildings ranging from five to 15 stories. And an area on the northwest corner of the site is expected to be used for manufacturing.

There’s little detail about how many residential units and how much office and retail space would be featured in the development, but all of it  would be taken on by private development companies, potentially with the help of city or state incentives.

The plans do offer a firm look at infrastructure work planned for the site.

A reroute of the White River Parkway is expected to include a partial boulevard-style design, with single travel lanes in either direction, along with turn lanes or grassy medians (depending on the location), on-street parking, and pedestrian paths on either side of the road. The western side of the road will feature a 5-foot walking path, while the eastern side will have an 11-foot shared path and a seating and greenery area.

The Henry Street bridge will be somewhat different—still with single vehicular traffic lanes, but without a median—along with a 14-foot shared path and a nearly 22-foot pedestrian plaza and amenity area to the north. The south side of the street will have a 6.5-foot sidewalk.

An extension to Henry Street is expected to have a singular vehicular traffic lane in either direction, along with a full-length turn lane and on-street parking on either side. Henry will also feature a 12-foot multimodal path to the north.

The initial plans also call for multimodal paths throughout the neighborhood, connecting to areas north, south and east.

While timelines for starts to the infrastructure and roadwork construction have not yet been finalized, preliminary plans for the improvements lay out a variety of completion dates. White River Parkway is expected to be finished by mid-April 2024, with the extension of Henry Street planned to be competed by November 2022. The Henry Street bridge is expected to are done in November 2024.

Scarlett Andrews, director of the city’s department of Metropolitan Developments said the city expects to see the master plan come before the Metropolitan Development Commission for approval sometime in July—an integral part of the process to reposition the property. After that, the IEDC can begin soliciting ideas through either direct negotiations or a request-for-proposals process.

Andrews said neighbors seem to be generally very supportive of the reuse plans for the campus—now in its third official iteration after failed attempts for a new Community Justice Campus and the Waterside development.

“That’s pretty critical because the neighborhood has been through several iterations of plans over the years—we need to earn their trust,” she said. “I think everybody’s excited to see this master planning process move forward, as well as Elanco’s groundbreaking and headquarters start to be constructed.”

Elanco is expected to break ground on its $100 million campus in April or May.

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