Fishers seeks bids to continue downtown redevelopment

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Construction season is coming to a close with four major building projects under way in downtown Fishers—and officials hope to maintain that momentum heading into next year.

The Fishers Redevelopment Commission is accepting proposals from firms interested in developing a quarter-acre site at 11634 Maple Street, just north of heavily traveled 116th Street in the so-called Nickel Plate District.

(If you navigate by landmarks, like I do, the property is directly behind Greek’s Pizza.)

Fishers bought the residential property last December for $175,000 and officials are looking for a developer willing to replace the existing 1,256-square-foot home with a two- to three-story structure with first-floor commercial space. Upper levels of the 4,100- to 6,300-square-foot building can be used for commercial and/or residential uses.

As IBJ reported last year, the town spent more than a year quietly acquiring land east of its downtown municipal complex in hopes of accelerating development there. In the past, developers were turned off by the hassle and cost of dealing with a hodgepodge of property owners.

Leaders want downtown Fishers to buzz with activity. To that end, the soon-to-be city has partnered with private developers on more than $100 million in projects—starting with the $42 million The Depot mixed-use project in front of Town Hall.

“The Nickel Plate District is transforming into a destination to live, work, shop, dine, and be entertained in the heart of a vibrant, redeveloping downtown,” according to the request for proposals released Oct. 24.

The area also is envisioned as “an engine for economic development,” the RFP said, calling redevelopment “a catalyst for drawing innovative businesses and attracting creative, entrepreneurial talent resulting in job creation throughout Fishers.”

Officials did not specify a minimum acceptable bid for the land. Town spokeswoman Autumn Gasior said officials are just as interested in the proposed use for the property and whether the developer wants financial incentives.

The town already has invested in Maple Street, rebuilding it earlier this year with new sidewalks and brick-paved parking areas.

Fisher’s Downtown 2030 plan envisions the area as an extension of the dense, walkable hub being built on the other side of the railroad tracks—helping to connect it with projects like the $5.5 million Meyer Najem headquarters under construction at the north end of Maple and a $17.5 million office/retail building (and parking garage) just getting started just east of the site, on Lantern Road.

(Click here for a conceptual rendering showing what Maple Street could become.)

Fishers Redevelopment Commission is seeking a project for the Maple Street property that can be completed by the end of 2015, according to the RFP.

Proposals are due Nov. 26, and a decision is expected by Dec. 22.

“The FRC will consider any mix of uses that furthers the goals and policies of the redevelopment and economic development initiatives for the Nickel Plate District and benefits the residents of the Town of Fishers,” the RFP says.

The redevelopment panel also is accepted offers from businesses interested in subleasing space in the Meyer Najem building, 11787 Lantern Road, or in the office building planned at The Switch, 8626 E. 116th St. It agreed to master-lease space in both buildings as part of the project agreements with the developers.

Sealed bids are due Nov. 18, and the commission is expected to review proposed sublease agreements at its next meeting in late November or early December.

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