Indianapolis Business Journal – April 26 – May 2, 2019




In This Issue

Front Page

Amid tensions, plans for Hilton hotel towers on Pan Am Plaza advance

A powerful group of hoteliers that opposes a proposal to build a pair of hotels on Pan Am Plaza scored a victory in the Legislature. But the plan to construct the project remains very much alive.

Drag racer Larry Dixon sues NHRA, claims wrongful suspension and blacklisting

Dixon says his career went into a tailspin after the National Hot Rod Association objected to a two-seater that gives fans the thrill of being in a dragster.

Lilly creates public downtown park on edge of its headquarters campus

The city’s newest park is springing up on the south side of downtown, a district quickly filling up with apartments, offices and retail—and a noticeable shortage of public green space.

Top Stories

Carson’s spot in Circle Centre empty year after closing

One year after the closure of Carson’s at Circle Centre, city and mall officials are still looking for the right tenant—or mix of tenants—to fill the massive footprint.

British retail giant that bought Finish Line is taking slow approach to U.S. market

England-based JD Sports Fashion Plc entered the U.S. market in June with its $558 million acquisition of Indianapolis-based Finish Line and says it likes what it sees so far.

Fishers design center aims to fill workforce needs

The $14 million Hub & Spoke, planned for East 106th Street and Lantern Road, will connect building and design industry tenants to clients and makers all under one roof,

Q&A with Todd Saxton, IU entrepreneurship professor

This month, Saxton took on an additional position—vice president for business development at Regenstrief Institute, a medical-research organization based in Indianapolis.

Indy startup puts spotlight on concussion detection technology

Two recent Purdue University graduates have founded Brightlamp—now headquartered in downtown Indianapolis—and this year went to market with an app that helps diagnose of a concussion with nothing more than a cell phone.

Broad Ripple’s Vogue nightclub acquired by trio of tech executives

Broad Ripple’s historic nightclub has its first new ownership since 1986. The new owners plan to maintain the Vogue as a live-music venue while expanding into other types of programming.

Carmel official says Brainard created ‘toxic environment’; mayor calls relationship consensual

Clerk-Treasurer Christine Pauley said Mayor Jim Brainard created a difficult work environment by pushing her to go on trips with him. But the mayor said in a statement that the two briefly dated and the timing of the accusations—just two weeks before the primary—is “interesting.”


Splashy designation: National park status raises Indiana Dunes’ profile

Already, area tourism offices are receiving phone calls from people across the country who want to plan a visit. And CNN stopped by this month to tape a tourism special about the area.

What to do when you visit the Indiana Dunes

The Indiana Dunes—the national park, state park and surrounding areas—offer a variety of outdoor experiences, including swimming, bird watching, biking, hiking, fishing and camping. Outside the Dunes, Porter County also offers unique experiences.

How airlines expect innovation to change the way you fly

Hotel, restaurants planned for ripe parcel at I-74 and Post Road

The Post Road exit is the last major off-ramp before I-465 when approaching Indianapolis from the east on I-74. It’s considered one of the least-developed interstate exits in the Indianapolis area.


Editorial: Lawmakers made right call in fully funding 21 Fund

The 21 Fund’s purpose has meandered a bit since it was created in 1999, but it always has been dedicated in some way to encouraging research, technology and innovation. And that investment is key to maintaining the state’s efforts to create a vibrant tech community.

GREG MORRIS: Starfish helps needy teens prepare for success

College-educated mentors pitch in to put high-achieving kids on path to college and careers.

Tim Day: Crossroads of tech, behind Indiana’s innovation boom

At the U.S. Chamber, we’re increasingly looking to host forums in some of the most forward-leaning and innovative cities in the nation. Partnering with Indiana IT Councils, local chambers and tech companies, our event explored the opportunities and challenges innovators in Indiana and across America are facing.

Gloria Sachdev: Hoosier hospitals owe us greater price transparency

Indiana hospital prices are not sustainable. They are compromising the ability of businesses to compete in a global economy, harming the ability of municipalities to adequately provide services for their citizens, and preventing employees from having funds to spend on other aspects of their lives.

PETE THE PLANNER: Don’t forget the 401(k) when evaluating a job offer

Mandy Haskett: Data alone won’t solve hiring, retention challenges

All business problems lead back to people problems. And while people data can be a catalyst for individual and organizational change, data alone is not enough. Lead with data, then let that be the springboard that clarifies where you ought to focus. People data is the starting line, not the silver bullet.

Ed Feigenbaum: Lawmakers plod along in era of rapid change

While the General Assembly filled some holes in the law discovered by the increasing use of such services as Airbnb, rental scooters and peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, nothing was done to examine the framework behind some of these popular new concepts.

BOHANON & CUROTT: ‘Rational ignorance’ results from voters’ lack of influence

Becoming a truly informed voter takes a lot of time. But the odds that an individual’s vote decides an outcome is vanishingly small. So most voters conclude it isn’t worth the effort.

Letter: Hygiene tax break is humorous at best

Why favor gender when today’s world demands “equality”? All genders and ages need items that are “simply necessary to personal hygiene.” Soap, deodorant, shampoo, water I would argue are necessary to personal hygiene.

Letter: Have compassion for former inmates

It is time to end the war on crime and drugs. As a first step, we need to change how we think of those coming home from prison and jail. Few of our citizens returning to the community from prison are immoral, malicious and unredeemable.

In Brief

Council committee OKs up to $7M in bonds for downtown Block 20 project

The financing plan for the two-site $40 million project near the Athenaeum was advanced by a City-County Council committee just days after a group opposed to the project accused the developer of unprofessional conduct.

Hogsett raises nearly 3 times more than Merritt in first quarter

State Sen. Jim Merritt will be able to campaign for mayor full time after the legislative session ends this month, representatives say. In the meantime, Merritt is “very pleased” with his fundraising.

Allison Transmission announces $132 million in acquisitions

The Indianapolis-based company announced Tuesday that it has acquired England-based Vantage Power and the electric vehicle systems division of Michigan-based AxleTech International in two separate deals.

Central Indiana homebuilders see slowest March in eight years

Single-family construction permit filings have fallen for the past four months following a 14-month streak of year-over-year increases.


Anne Hathaway: NRA members defend freedom. Let’s welcome them.

Gun ownership among women is on the rise, with many women viewing gun ownership as an empowering tool for defending themselves or their families.

Michael Leppert: Welcome to Indy, NRA! I will keep my remarks brief.

Without a villain, someone who scares members into believing their guns are about to be confiscated, membership drops.

Karen Celestino-Horseman: Why 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg is rising fast

Buttigieg speaks of inclusion, not division. He envisions an America that serves all.

Brad Rateike: A ‘bad’ movie with good lessons for politics, business

Demonstrating grace in defeat is probably the most difficult thing any political candidate is ever asked to do—and some are never able to do it.

Riley Parr: Don’t sacrifice free enterprise for ‘complete’ equality

These adherents’ focus is to use the law in an attempt to manufacture equality across all spheres of life.

Gary Varvel: Taylor students have bought into Pence caricature

It’s possible for people of faith to serve in government and have a godly impact.

Ed DeLaney: The charm of statistics and the allure of central planning

I am confronted with two efforts to impose plans from above and to drown us under statistics designed to ensure that the plans are executed.

Dana Black: GOP-led Legislature focuses in all the wrong places

The Republican supermajority and the governor are failing to prepare Indiana for an ever-changing and uncertain future.

John McDonald: Connected tech in aisle 6

Imagine if we could help eliminate food deserts altogether by using autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries to underserved neighborhoods.

Brandt Hershman: When is a tax cut a bad idea?

My view is that, if people don’t like paying high state and local taxes, they need to change their state and local legislators.

Jennifer Ping: Braun’s workforce-training bill is worthy of passage

Without a dedicated focus to filling this gap, it is estimated the skilled-worker shortage could reach 11 million nationwide by 2020.

Adrianne Slash: Moving the needle on racism in Indianapolis

We have neighbors who are doing really well living beside neighbors who haven’t had the same access to or benefits from the same opportunities.

Una Osili: Rallying for Notre Dame and other great causes

To unleash more resources to worthy causes, we need leaders and policy environments that will facilitate rather than limit philanthropic capital.

Deborah Hearn Smith: Things to work on this summer

On a local level, sponsor a child in a summer program. Help a child before he or she becomes a victim.

Claire Fiddian-Green: Mental-health screening for children must be norm

It’s as if we collectively shrug our shoulders and say, “These diseases are too hard to handle, so you’re on your own.”


MIKE LOPRESTI: A primer on the art of stadium naming

What will we call the fieldhouse after the Bankers Life moniker disappears this summer?