Articles

City’s cultural districts take artful approach: Five areas use $250,000 in grants on original public art projects

Two wall-size murals now welcome people to Massachusetts Avenue. An abstract sculpture that looks like an Alexander Calder tribute sits on a bridge in the Canal District. A towering blue and green obelisk marks the north end of Broad Ripple on College Avenue. The works aren’t part of an elaborate conspiracy by a renegade public artist. They’re the result of two years of careful planning by the city’s Cultural Development Commission. In 2003, the commission designated five areas of the…

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Omni Severin seeks lot for expansion: Downtown parking garage, grand ballroom on drawing board

The Omni Severin Hotel has confirmed it’s negotiating to buy the surface parking lot immediately east of the hotel, which it wants to redevelop into a parking garage capped by a 12,000-square-foot ballroom. Tourism officials love the idea, but some parking lot managers say it’s unnecessary. “We’re buying it for a reason,” said Chris Ratay, the hotel’s area director of sales and marketing. “This would allow us to have our own parking facility.” Today, the hotel’s valets run across the…

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The TIES that BLIND?: Experts say links between company, directors may have taken toll

The Arkansas-based goliath has been on a rampage in central Indiana the past five years, building its market share in the local grocery business to 26 percent. When Marsh announced last N ove m b e r that it had hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to explore a s a l e , m a ny o b s e r ve r s attributed the steady decline of the state’s sixth-largest employer to inroads by discount rivals. But a…

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Appliance biz heads north: Clark to open Castleton store, compete with H.H. Gregg Fine Lines for high-end customers

The high-end appliance retailer Clark Appliance Showcase will open a store practically in the back yard of its closest competitor in early March. Does the move signal a turf battle between two local retailers that cater to homeowners willing to pay luxury car prices for a kitchen? Not really. The local market for products such as $10,000 Viking ranges is growing so fast that executives at Clark and H.H. Gregg think there’s room for both on the northeast side. “It’s…

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African-American museum pushes back opening date: Group starts public fund-raising campaign Feb. 4

Civic leaders announced in 2004 they hoped to raise $50 million to build the Indiana Museum of African American History in White River State Park by 2008. On the eve of the museum’s first public fund-raiser-a black-tie dinner at the downtown Westin Hotel on Feb. 4-officials acknowledge plans have changed for the 120,000-square-foot building. In 2004, a feasibility study, paid for with $800,000 in seed money raised from groups including Lilly Endowment Inc., showed the aggressive fund-raising and construction schedule…

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Local money managers beat the Street in ’05: But not by much; huge returns a distant memory

Put your money in value stocks. No, put it in a mix of value and growth stocks. No, go with value stocks and a peppering of mutual funds, just to be safe. Gather Indianapolis’ most prominent money managers in a room, and the advice would go something like that. Yet while the city’s highest-profile wealth handlers take wildly different approaches to investing, they agree on one point: The market posted a disappointing performance in 2005. “It was a difficult year…

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Local money managers beat the Street in ’05: But not by much; huge returns a distant memory

Put your money in value stocks. No, put it in a mix of value and growth stocks. No, go with value stocks and a peppering of mutual funds, just to be safe. Gather Indianapolis’ most prominent money managers in a room, and the advice would go something like that. Yet while the city’s highest-profile wealth handlers take wildly different approaches to investing, they agree on one point: The market posted a disappointing performance in 2005. “It was a difficult year…

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Appliance biz heads north: Clark to open Castleton store, compete with H.H. Gregg Fine Lines for high-end customers

The high-end appliance retailer Clark Appliance Showcase will open a store practically in the back yard of its closest competitor in early March. Does the move signal a turf battle between two local retailers that cater to homeowners willing to pay luxury car prices for a kitchen? Not really. The local market for products such as $10,000 Viking ranges is growing so fast that executives at Clark and H.H. Gregg think there’s room for both on the northeast side. “It’s…

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African-American museum pushes back opening date: Group starts public fund-raising campaign Feb. 4

Civic leaders announced in 2004 they hoped to raise $50 million to build the Indiana Museum of African American History in White River State Park by 2008. On the eve of the museum’s first public fund-raiser-a black-tie dinner at the downtown Westin Hotel on Feb. 4-officials acknowledge plans have changed for the 120,000-square-foot building. In 2004, a feasibility study, paid for with $800,000 in seed money raised from groups including Lilly Endowment Inc., showed the aggressive fund-raising and construction schedule…

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From FFA to DNA: Businesses view convention as more than a gathering of corn growers

Don’t call it the Future Farmers of America. That went out of style with pastel suits and parachute pants. The organization is now known as the FFA. And it’s no longer just a gathering of crop jockeys. The change in moniker partly illustrates why business leaders are so excited for the first of at least seven annual conventions the organization will stage in the Circle City starting in late October. “FFA is a premier, if not the premier, youth organization…

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Banking players on rise: Despite flood of mergers, area competition heats up

Big-ticket bank mergers grabbed plenty of headlines in the past two years. Just don’t let the splashy news stories fool you. The number of players in the Indianapolis banking market is expanding, even amid consolidation in the industry nationwide. Over the past 10 years, the number of banks taking deposits in the metropolitan area has grown from 41 to 56, according to annual data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Analysts attribute much of the growth to smaller banks and…

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Big bank heading for sale?: Union Fed, parent firm mum as talk of mergers intensifies

Officials with the companies in Fort Wayne and here aren’t saying one way or the other. “We have nothing to announce,” said Alvin “Kit” Stolen, CEO of Union Federal since 2002. “We officially wouldn’t comment or address those kinds of rumors or speculation.” The privately held companies are among the largest financial firms headquartered in Indiana. Union Federal has more than $3.4 billion in assets and ranks as the city’s third-largest bank. Waterfield ranked 51st nationwide in mortgage originations in…

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What’s up his sleeve?: New park director plans ice skating, street performers

He can do card tricks with the verve of a Brooklyn street hustler. He knows how to levitate. And for his biggest trick yet, he wants to transform White River State Park. It’s no short con. It doesn’t involve sleight of hand. Meet Bob from these increased attractions.” In addition to the Eiteljorg, the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, Indiana State Museum, Victory Field and NCAA Hall of Champions call the park home. At least one community activist, and one…

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The entrepreneur is in – literally: Venture Center program offers select firms expert advice

The return on investment couldn’t be any better. TGX Medical Systems CEO Michael Good brought Joe Muldoon on board in April to help his company land some venture-capital funding. A few months later, it had a check for $1.5 million in the bank. The cost of Muldoon’s help: zilch. As the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Indiana’s Venture Center, Muldoon spent seven months this year giving a handful of young, high-growth Indiana companies free advice on everything from budgeting to fund raising….

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Small biz preparing wish list: Lobbyists hope to repeat past legislative success

But that doesn’t mean the organization and its 16,000 Hoosier members will rest on their laurels for the short legislative session in 2006. The group will bring a full wish list to the Statehouse in January, lobbying against increased property taxes and health insurance mandates. It’ll also petition lawmakers to restrict eminent domain seizures. Still, observers don’t think the organization will have as much cause for uncorking the bubbly as it did last year. No different than last session, businessfriendly…

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Marsh puts itself up for sale:

Locally based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. closed out perhaps the most disappointing year in its nearly 75-year history by hanging a for-sale sign on its front door. The announcement came Nov. 29, the same day the grocer reported another disappointing quarter-this time a $3.4 million loss on revenue of $549.6 million. Marsh said it had hired Merrill Lynch to explore alternatives, including a sale, but otherwise said little. Increasing competition from large-format retailers such as Wal-Mart is partly to blame for…

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Hotel proposed for Hamilton County’s Strawtown: Site overlaps sensitive American Indian land

Hamilton County park officials hope to find a developer to build a three-star hotel in 750-acre Strawtown Koteewi Park, an area rich with fragile American Indian artifacts. Businesses near the northeastern Hamilton County park love the idea. American Indian groups are less enthusiastic, but willing to work with park officials. “It’s kind of disturbing,” said Chief Brian Buchanan of the Miami Nation of Indians of the State of Indiana. “You wouldn’t want anybody digging up your grandmother.” Buchanan learned of…

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Malls fight for tax savings: Owners see appeals pay off; inconsistencies plague process

Shopping mall owners were ecstatic when their property tax bills dropped as a result of reassessment in 2002. Some of them are even giddier now. Three of Indianapolis’ enclosed malls-Castleton Square, Lafayette Square and Glendale-have since won large appeals and had their combined annual property taxes reduced almost $1 million. Pending appeals of the taxes at Circle Centre and Fashion Mall will be decided within months and could mean even more money in the pockets of mall owners. Before 2002,…

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Under pressure?: Largest outside shareholder could be pushing Marsh to find buyer

Marsh Supermarkets Inc.’s decision to seek a buyer might not have been made within the company’s Indianapolis headquarters. It might have come from 115 miles away in Cincinnati. That’s home base for the c o m p a ny ‘s largest outside shareholder, A m e r i c a n Financial Group Inc., an insurer controlled by the family of billionaire tycoon Carl Lindner. A source knowledgeable about the discussions said AFG, a Marsh shareholder for more than two…

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Fine-tuning a business strategy: Local violinmaker finds success by raising prices

F ine-tuning a business strategy Local violinmaker finds success by raising prices John Welch made a counterintuitive business decision two years ago. The violin business was in decline. Asian manufacturers were turning out high-quality stringed instruments for a fraction of the price of their American competitors. Welch decided to swim against the current. He raised prices. “We realized the only way to compete with the Chinese was to improve our quality,” said Welch, CEO of Indianapolis-based Sofia Violins. “We realized…

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