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North of 96th - Lindsey

Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

Boone County / Hamilton County / Regional News

A rewind of the biggest 'burb news items of 2015

December 30, 2015

This week’s print edition of IBJ highlights some of the biggest news from 2015, but only touched on a few items from the bustling northern suburbs.

It was another busy year in the North of 96th region—the population growth hasn’t stopped, new housing developments continue to take root and each community is trying to identify exactly what kinds of new businesses it wants to attract.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most significant stories in each area.

CARMEL

• After years of being an eyesore in Carmel, officials are moving forward with a $60 million plan to revamp the 6.5-acre site of the former Party Time Rental warehouse on Rangeline Road. The project, led by development company Anderson Birkla, will be called “Proscenium” and will include six three- to four-story structures surrounding a central plaza with an upscale restaurant and a 449-space underground parking garage. 

A few blocks to the north, the $150 million mixed-use Midtown project gained momentum this year as it secured several future tenants, including Merchants Bank of Indiana. Developers have been meeting with city officials to tweak the details and dirt should start moving next year. 

• On the west side of the city, construction on U.S. 31 is coming to an end. State and local officials celebrated the re-opening of the roadway earlier this month. Delta Faucet, which has headquarters just off the roadway, is investing $15 million to expand its facility. 

• Following the controversial state passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the city approved its own anti-discrimination ordinance as an attempt to show companies it is a welcoming community. Passing it wasn’t easy though–the final vote was 4-3 after several meetings and lengthy discussions. 

FISHERS

• It’s been mentioned numerous times already, but it can’t be ignored–Swedish furniture retail giant Ikea announced it would open a new store near Interstate 69 and 116th Street in 2017. Two years can be a long time to wait to get your meatballs and ready-to-assemble bookcase, but development experts are expecting other retailers to jump on the bandwagon and invest in the area.

• To the west of the interstate, downtown Fishers keeps growing. The $42 million Depot at Nickel Plate opened with 242 upscale apartments and ground level retail space. Flamme Burger, Dottie Couture Boutique, Yogurtz, and Brixx Fire Wood Pizza are among the tenants. The $28 million Switch development where the Fishers Train Station once stood also secured tenants throughout the year and is nearing completion. 

Construction on The Edge on the corner of 116th Street and Lantern Road is also coming an end. The $17.5 million project includes a three-story building with space for retail, offices and restaurants and a 330-space parking garage.

• Sun King Brewing Co. opened a 6,000-square-foot tap room and small-batch brewery in the North by Northeast Shopping Center at 7848 E. 96th St., but the larger destination brewery was delayed to 2018.

• Launch Fishers outgrew its space in the basement of the Hamilton East Public Library, prompting the city to purchase the former Deca Financial Services building. The co-working program is expected to move early next year. Note: IBJ pays for a Launch Fishers membership for the North of 96th reporter so she doesn’t have to search for Wi-Fi at coffee shops. 

• Noblesville-based GK Sports and Entertainment proposed a $76.4 million indoor sports pavilion in Saxony Village, but little movement has occurred. Word on the street is the developer is struggling to secure financing, and the city isn’t putting forth any financial incentives until that is settled.

NOBLESVILLE

• Officials broke ground on the 6.5-acre Federal Hill Commons project on the northeast corner of State Road 19 and State Road 32. The $6 million park is part of the city’s plan to spur economic development to the west side of the White River, and attract a younger generation of residents. It will include an amphitheater, art displays, playground, water feature and walking paths.

• BlueSky Technology Partners Inc. is buying into the above idea. The company is investing $6 million to construct a new headquarters with 34,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet for a restaurant nearby. The city agreed in May to offer $3.7 million in incentives to the e-commerce consulting firm. 

• Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development announced plans to pursue a $12 million mixed-use project to redevelop the old grain elevator site near downtown. The project, now known as the Elevator and Lofts at the Noblesville Granary, would include 54 one- and two-bedroom apartments dedicated to affordable housing, a business incubator space similar to Launch Fishers between preserved bin structures on the site, and 4,000 square feet for commercial retail. 

WESTFIELD

• Construction started on two big projects at Grand Park Sports Campus this year—the $25 million indoor soccer arena and $8.1 million indoor basketball and volleyball facility named Jonathan Byrd's Fieldhouse. 

• Westfield resident Jeff Harpe, who unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Andy Cook in the Republican primary election in May, tried to fight the soccer arena project in court. He argued that the city violated Indiana’s Open Door Law during the approval process, but a Hamilton County Circuit Court judge dismissed the claim in March. 

• Riverview Health submitted plans in the fall for a new medical facility on the corner of State Road 32 and U.S. 31. The 100,000-square-foot building will be used for outpatient services and is expected to be complete by September 2017. 

• After starting the year with zero hotels to offer visitors, Westfield has one in operation (Holiday Inn Express near 146th Street and U.S. 31) and three more in the pipeline, including one by Jonathan Byrd’s next to the soccer arena at Grand Park, a Cambria Suites along 186th Street and one hotel that is expected to be included in a project near U.S. 31 and State Road 32. 

ZIONSVILLE/WHITESTOWN

• Zionsville and Whitestown fueled the ongoing fire over whether Zionsville’s merger with Perry Township should be allowed. The lawsuit worked its way up to the Indiana Supreme Court, which hasn’t officially even decided whether or not it will formally consider the case. The battle is costing the communitiesas of October, Zionsville had spent $176,000 and Whitestown had expended $359,000.

• Zionsville is moving forward as if the reorganization is permanent though and appointed the town’s first mayor this year. Former town council member Jeff Papa took office in June. Republican Tim Haak was elected to the position in November, and Papa will return to the council. 

• Kroger announced plans to open the state’s first Fresh Fare by Kroger within the $90 million mixed-use project dubbed “The Farm” on the southwest corner of U.S. 421 and 116th Street.  

• In Whitestown, online used-car retailer Vroom Inc. announced plans to spend $13.5 million to open a new fulfillment center. The New York City-based company will lease the vacant 500,000-square-foot former Subaru of America building off Indianapolis Road, west of Interstate 65.

• The massive commercial, retail and housing development known as Anson had a successful year, adding more retail buildings and securing a new hotel. The Great Recession put the project years behind schedule, but it seems to be building steam again.

Did I miss something in the 2015 roundup? Let me know at lerdody@ibj.com. And check back Thursday for a look at what you should watch for in 2016.

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