Indianapolis Business Journal – May 10-16, 2019




In This Issue

Front Page

A hard-to-digest reality: Steak n Shake might not make it

The outlook is that bad for Steak n Shake, which in the first quarter racked up an $18.9 million operating loss. That’s on top of a $10.7 million loss for all of 2018.

New Indy 500 TV partner NBC lifts marketing to new level

The network’s ad blitz and all-in production effort are part of a strategy to capitalize on the network’s recent lock on all IndyCar broadcasts.

City officials hope scooters can help solve residents’ transit challenges

City officials and transportation advocates want to increase access to scooters for low- and moderate-income residents who live outside the downtown areas where they’re most heavily used.

Top Stories

State bets tax breaks will lead to influx of data centers

State lawmakers last month passed a much-ballyhooed law that exempts sales taxes on equipment, infrastructure and electricity costs for sizable data centers constructed in Indiana.

Moving-industry slowdown puts Wheaton on acquisition trail

Indianapolis-based Wheaton World Wide Moving is determined not just to survive, but to become an ever-larger player in the residential interstate moving industry.

Despite kudos, state doesn’t keep funding Regional Cities

State and local leaders seem to agree that Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative was successful—but don’t expect to see another round of funding for the program anytime soon, if ever.

Q&A with Austin Broadwater, who urges building owners to think about the birds

Austin Broadwater encourages owners and managers of large buildings downtown to turn off or dim their lights at night during the spring and fall bird migration seasons.

Zionsville Town Council deadlocks on controversial apartment project

With one member absent, the Zionsville Town Council voted 3-3 on a proposal by JC Hart to build a $40 million apartment community near the town’s downtown village.

After years of debate, law increases oversight of virtual schools

Lawmakers’ actions this year, paired with a funding cut, represent the biggest steps the state has taken to regulate virtual charter schools since they launched a decade ago.

Education startup plans $16M headquarters, charter school building on west side

Crossroads Education, a startup founded in 2016 that develops learning environments for K-12 schools and colleges, needs the city to rezone the property in Haughville and get approval for the height of the building.

UPDATES: Brainard, Fadness, Jensen win in Hamilton County; Hogsett, Merritt win in Indy

Incumbent Joe Hogsett and Republican Jim Merritt are expected to easily win their primaries in the Indianapolis mayor’s race. In Hamilton County, the races could be more interesting.


Recently launched research institute pursuing life science innovations through ‘team science’

Backed by more than $100 million in funding from Indiana companies and foundations, the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute has hired 39 employees and hopes to ramp up to 80 within another three years.

MATTHEW NEFF: Can drug companies be held liable for opioid epidemic?

Even if the companies are found to be the proximate cause of the harm, they will argue that the damage was not “reasonably foreseeable.”

Panelists discuss funding startups, attracting talent

Panelists from a broad range of life sciences fields shared their insights on key issues during IBJ's Life Sciences Power Breakfast on May 3.

Indiana among 3 finalists for USDA divisions, but proposed location unknown

Indiana’s short-listed proposal—submitted by Purdue University and state officials—was one of 136 received by the USDA last year from 35 states. Relocating the two research divisions to Indiana could bring 570 federal jobs.

Bioanalytical Systems buys toxicology firm

Bioanalytical Systems said May 1 it purchased Smithers Avanza Toxicology Services in suburban Washington, D.C.

IU forms partnership to combat opioids

The university said it joined the collaboration, which includes several other research institutions, to help reverse national trends in opioid misuse and overdose.

Apartments, commercial space planned for innovation district

Luxury apartments and mixed-use commercial space will soon be part of Purdue University’s Discovery Park District.


Editorial: Congress should approve Sen. Todd Young’s bill to boost smoking age

The measure is especially important after the Indiana General Assembly’s failed to act on a similar proposal as well as a bill that would have significantly increased the cigarette tax. That’s despite strong support for both bills from a broad spectrum of business, religious, health and not-for-profit organizations.

GREG MORRIS: Gleaners leads fight against food insecurity

Your help is needed in the battle against hunger, a problem that observes no boundaries.

There’s still time to mitigate dangers of climate change

Indiana’s hospitals can’t lower costs on their own

Mitch Daniels: A big idea—An energy-water corridor on the border

A consortium of more than two dozen scientists and engineers proposes an “energy-water corridor” along the nearly 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. It is that rarest of modern phenomena: an ecumenical concept with unifying potential, an idea that even sworn enemies can love.

PETE THE PLANNER: These Rules of Peter will help you plan for retirement

If you diligently saved (invested) from age 22 all the way through age 57, the final decade of your work career should be a snap.

Addressing mental health in the workplace is good for all

BOHANON & CUROTT: Nation’s student-loan crisis was created by government

Over the last 15 years, total student loan debt exploded from $600 billion to more than $1.5 trillion and now exceeds credit card debt.

Sen. Young on right side of tobacco fight

Hoosier hospitals betray public trust

Varvel cartoons are the best

Varvel should stick with cartoons

A welcome defense of Mike Pence

Fox news tells truth

Todd Young defends American principles

In Brief

Fox Sports Indiana to be acquired by Sinclair as part of $10.6B acquisition

The deal involving 21 networks adds to a growing sports portfolio for Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which earlier this year announced a partnership with the Chicago Cubs to form Marquee Sports Network.

International joint venture planning $29.5M plant in Rushville, up to 250 jobs

The facility would process maize straw from as many as 150,000 acres of cornfields annually into a peat moss substitute for agriculture and foam products for material science uses.

Software firm Boardable secures $1M in capital from High Alpha

Founded in 2017, Boardable plans use the investment on talent, product development, marketing and sales—with the goal of doubling employment by the end of the year.

Daniels defends daughter’s tailgate-village contract with Purdue

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels says he "bent over triple-backwards" to avoid the appearance of favoritism in the school's agreement to let his daughter's company showcase its tiny homes.

Local maker of organic oils rakes in $9.5M in venture funding

The round of financing was led by Indianapolis-based HG Ventures, which is the corporate venture arm of a major shareholder in Biosynthetic Technologies.

Lugar funeral to be held May 15 at Indianapolis church

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar will lie in state in the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda for 24 hours beginning at noon May 14.


Bill Oesterle: Let’s get audacious and shoot for the stars—literally

Building a space elevator is an enormous project, and Purdue is the place do it.

Todd Huston: Lawmakers did their part to help schools boost pay

While the state is a partner in the funding of schools, decisions on teacher pay are made based upon communities’ needs.

Glenda Ritz: Teacher pay hasn’t been priority for state since 2011

Despite the lack of language to address the real issues of teacher pay, the Legislature expects the local districts to pay teachers more.

Richard Feldman: We must root for courts to uphold Obamacare

The judge overstepped in ruling the entire ACA invalid.

Christina Hale: What a weedy parking lot says about our economy

The evidence is clear that communities need entrepreneurs to step up when times get bad.

Jim Shella: Allow cameras in Indiana’s county courtrooms

The public deserves to know what goes on in our courtrooms just as much as it deserves to know what goes on in the legislative branches of government.

Shariq Siddiqui: How the Trump tax cuts could hurt charitable giving

We should find a mechanism to make charitable deductions available to all Americans.

Curt Smith: Connecting churches with their communities

It will take time for us to demonstrate this initiative is not about politics but rather about relationships.

Michael Leppert: Dear graduates, it’s springtime for you. Make it last.

Have a great party in your cap and gown this weekend, and when the hangover ends, buckle up for the rest of your life.

Jennifer Wagner: Create relationships that aren’t based on the big ‘ask’

There’s plenty of room for talking and listening, developing relationships that aren’t based on immediate wants but on the underlying human desire to learn more.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Why we should all be a little more like Sen. Lugar

The senator’s greatest quality was his thoughtfulness and sense of bipartisanship when it came to problem-solving.

Randall Shepard: Lugar changed Indiana by focusing on the world

Our connections to the world are more important than ever, and many Hoosiers have put their shoulder to the wheel.

Pierre Atlas: More than a great man—a truly good one

I could never bring myself to call him by his first name. To me, he will always be “Sen. Lugar.”

Marshawn Wolley: Lugar’s legacy is mixed for city’s black community

I wish he would’ve fought for more extensive changes—for a more equitable Unigov.

Deborah Daniels: Lugar made our world a much better place

“The best tribute we can offer is to try to demonstrate the principles by which he lived his own life, every day.”


MIKE LOPRESTI: A strange tale of Pacers and pro hockey

At least one basketball lifer employed by the Blue and Gold has been caught up in this year’s dramatic Stanley Cup playoffs.