Looking back on a busy year in the ‘burbs

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In this week’s print edition of IBJ, our staff provided a rundown on central Indiana’s top business stories and newsmakers for 2014. While some news from the northern suburbs made the cut (Carmel City Center project approaches finish line), loyal North of 96thers know that there’s much more going on.

So here are some additional highlights from the year as it comes to an end:

Development

— Growing demand for high-end, low-maintenance living fueled an apartment-building boom in Hamilton County, raising concerns about the risks of adding too much too fast.

— Specialty grocers discovering central Indiana staked their claim on upscale Hamilton County. Giant Eagle is building a Market District store in Carmel, for example, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is planning locations in Fishers and Westfield. Competitors Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Earth Fare already have stores throughout the area.

— Hotel developers also were drawn to Hamilton County: Drury Hotels is building a 10-story Drury Plaza Hotel and stand-alone restaurant at Meridian and 96th streets in Carmel; a 150-room Cambria Suites is planned for Grand Park Village in Westfield; and a Holiday Inn Express & Suites is proposed near Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville.

Transportation

— Express commuter-bus service between Carmel and downtown Indianapolis ended Dec. 19 after ridership plummeted following a money-saving schedule change. The Indy Express route serving Fishers will keep rolling through April, but its future beyond that is murky.

— Hamilton County leaders are lining up support for an ambitious overhaul of State Road 37 between Interstate 69 and State Road 32. The proposal: Replace the stoplights that dot the congested commercial corridor with Keystone Parkway-like roundabout interchanges to keep traffic flowing.

— Carmel businesses felt the effects the Indiana Department of Transportation’s ongoing U.S. 31 project, which closed more than a mile of the highway for eight months. It reopened to traffic just before Thanksgiving, but construction continues.

Economic development

— Hat World Inc. is building a 150,000-square-foot headquarters for its Lids Sports Group operation in Zionsville’s new Creekside Corporate Park. It also has warehouse and distribution space in Indianapolis.

— Weaver Popcorn Co. is moving its headquarters from Noblesville to the AllPoints at Anson development in Whitestown, where it expects to spend $18 million to add a production line and research-and-development facility.

— San Diego-based Memory Ventures announced it will move its corporate offices to Fishers, where it plans to employ 134 people by 2018.

— Ossip Optometry plans to open a flagship store in a funky building off 96th Street in Fishers, just around the corner from where it's putting its new headquarters.

— Southside dining staple Jonathan Byrd’s is flying north. In June, the company announced it would operate a restaurant at an indoor soccer facility at Westfield’s Grand Park. Byrd’s Catering, meanwhile, is taking over operations at the Carmel banquet center formerly known as The Fountains.
 
— Agricultural heavyweight Beck’s Hybrids unveiled plans to spend $60 million renovating and expanding its headquarters on 276th Street in Atlanta, where it expects to add as many as 100 jobs by 2017.


But wait, there’s more: Look for my list of community-specific news from 2014 tomorrow. Suggestions welcome.

 

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