Articles

New owner brings hope for Eastgate property: Demolition would pave way for redevelopment

Every end is a beginning, the proverb goes. Accordingly, the probable demolition of nearly vacant Eastgate Mall by new owners JTL Capital LLC isn’t causing much heartbreak among city officials and east-side residents. “I was thrilled to hear they plan to demolish [Eastgate],” said Ruth Ann Walker, a member of the Warren Township Development Commission. “It opens that parcel up for bigger and better things.” What that might be isn’t yet clear, and Dallas-based JTL so far has divulged little…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Keep lights on at the Statehouse

CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary Keep lights on at the Statehouse Every morning I wake up happy that my job doesn’t require getting things through the Indiana General Assembly. I don’t have that kind of patience, and I’m not cut out to deal with that much frustration. I understand that big issues take time to be resolved and that compromise rarely happens overnight, but for a few issues that everyone seemed to agree were critical from the outset, the time it’s taking…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH Ed Feigenbaum: Competing interests emerge to cloud coming budget tiff

At the beginning of the legislative session, you probably thought that given Republicans were firmly in charge at the Statehouse for the first time in 20 years, bu d g e t – m a k i n g would be easy. Guess again. And gear up for a major budget battle. When Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed his budget ideas, lawmakers immediately shot down the most visible and memorable feature: the 1-percent surtax on higher-income Hoosiers. House members then passed…

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Little jets get the test in Indiana: New aircraft could help small airports shave costs

A top Indiana economist will study whether an emerging class of aircraft known as “very light jets” could fuel an economic boom, especially in the state’s smaller, more isolated communities. Morton J. Marcus, director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, will gauge the potential impact of VLJs in six communities, including Mount Comfort Airport in Hancock County. Several aircraft makers next year plan to launch the diminutive jets, which can whisk up to six people as…

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State tourism effort set for new format: Lawmakers create separate department; supporters think changes could lead to less bureaucracy, more funds

After years of languishing in the Department of Commerce, lawmakers passed legislation late last month creating a separate Department of Tourism and Community Development that will report to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman starting July 1. The commerce department already has been dissolved, effective Feb. 1, and the state’s economic development programs have been handed to the new Indiana Economic Development Corp. Tourism supporters are hopeful that by removing a layer of bureaucracy, the department can capture more funding. “It was…

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Council launches new HR initiative: Target is small companies that have no administrator

Small-business owners who need help wading through myriad human resources issues now have another source to consider-the Indianapolis Private Industry Council Inc. The 23-year-old IPIC, better known for overseeing the seven WorkOne career centers in Marion County, has leapt into the HR arena by partnering with a handful of professionals who have agreed to honor the agency’s low-cost pledge. Sixty thousand people walk through the doors of the centers each year looking for work. But many of their potential employers-many…

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Software-maker expands through public incentives: Exact Target must prepare for market’s consolidation

It made for a great photo-op. With the morning sun shining brilliantly through the windows, Exact Target showed off its brand new headquarters in the Guaranty Building on Monument Circle. It was the second day of spring. Bipartisan smiles were the first item on the agenda. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, was there to celebrate the fast-growing e-mail software-maker’s $1.14 million package of government incentives. So was Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat. Exact Target had earned its tax credits, abatements…

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Purdue ousts biz guru: Director fired amid shakeup of high-profile tech incubator

The billboards read “Go Businessmakers,” but the yellow flag is up. Purdue University is reorganizing its primary program to assist high-tech startups and has fired the director. Part of Purdue’s nationally recognized effort to transform raw university research into viable businesses, the Gateways Program had been managed since October 1998 by Sam Florance, a former investment banker and management consultant. Purdue closed Gateways and eliminated Florance’s position on March 14, IBJ has learned. On March 18, Joseph B. Hornett, senior…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Lawmakers struggle amid chaos, but order will come

If you’re having a tough time following the twists and turns of the political soap opera that is the 2005 Indiana General Assembly, you are not alone. Legislators find themselves so perpetually distracted by all sorts of peripheral issues and actions that Eli Lilly and Co. might want to consider a new market for its adult ADD medication. What do we mean by this legislative attention deficit disorder? Think back to December, when the first order of business seemed to…

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Charter One Bank plans Indiana growth: Acquisition allows new owner to leverage 60 branches

Two and a half years ago, Charter One Bank had nary a single Indiana branch. Since then, it’s quietly built 60. Charter One is preparing an all-out assault on the Indiana bank market. Under the leadership of its new Indiana president and CEO, Norman S. Hatch, the bank plans to add 10 branches in 2005 and increase its Indiana head count from 400 to 500 employees. Hatch, who took charge Jan. 2, had been vice president of middle-market banking for…

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‘Placemaking’ finds champion: CICF to invest millions into quality-of-life enhancement

Central Indiana Community Foundation is making a multiyear, multimillion-dollar commitment to help find ways to make Hoosiers’ habitat a home. The Inspiring Places initiative, which is to be unveiled to foundation stakeholders March 22-23, aims to improve the region’s quality of life by rallying around the idea that vibrant public spaces create vibrant communities. But more than warm feelings are at stake, said CICF President and CEO Brian Payne. “More and more, a city’s economic development success revolves around its…

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Legislature revisits multistate insurance compact: Proposed bill awaiting House consideration could cut red tape and improve speed of products to market

The Indiana General Assembly is taking another stab at a bill that could make life easier for some insurance sectors by pushing products to market at a faster clip. A proposal that would allow Indiana to join a multistate compact for life insurance, disability, annuity and long-termcare products passed the Senate earlier this legislative session and awaits consideration in the House of Representatives. The bill died there last year. However, new state Insurance Commissioner Jim Atterholt thinks it has a…

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IP center at IUPUI gets off to quick start: Facility lands first grant, hopes to sell naming rights

Legal scholar Kenneth Crews is a man of many hats who toils at 12-hour workdays as the upstart Center for Intellectual Property and Innovation on the campus of IUPUI begins to gain momentum. The center, whose mission is to produce attorneys fluent in the burgeoning IP practice area, was launched in May under the auspices of the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. The goal is to raise at least $1.5 million to jump-start a program that would grant…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Do we need agriculture department?

Indiana’s General Assembly reflects Hoosier values. It wants to make us more like other states. If others have daylight-saving time, so should we. This is called progress. If others have a Department of Agriculture, so should we. This, too, is called progress. The idea that we should differentiate ourselves from others, that we should find new solutions to problems, is not examined. Let’s look at House Bill 1008, which would create an Indiana Department of Agriculture. This proposal was given…

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Convention, Colts issues in play: With gambling plan off table, stadium funding gets elusive

Whether it includes taxes on players’ salaries, tickets and suite rentals remains to be seen. But early deliberations won’t include revenue from gambling, according to Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who chairs the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. “There’s not going to be any gambling included in the bill,” Kenley said. “It’s not going to be funded through slot machines or pull tabs.” Sen. President Pro Tem Robert Garton, R-Columbus, also said he’d oppose any measure including slot machines or…

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Bart plans 3rd run: Peterson has $1.2 million in his mayoral campaign chest

And how. Peterson, a Democrat, has raised $547,836 in the year since he defeated Republican challenger Greg Jordan to earn a second term. Including funds left over from the last election cycle, his total campaign chest currently stands at $1,217,189. For now, Peterson is more than the frontrunner in the 2007 Indianapolis mayor’s race. According to the Marion County clerk’s office, he’s the only candidate yet on file. Many had speculated that Peterson, perhaps the Indiana Democrat Party’s best-known figure…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: At half-time in the Statehouse, it’s politics 1, people 0

This column is typically devoted to the intersection of politics, government and business (with an occasional tortured sports analogy tossed in). We don’t usually address the higher order of the universe, but after last week, we find that we must delve into the field of metaphysics to provide you with some perspective on legislative events. March 1 marked the halfway point in the 2005 session of the Indiana General Assembly. But with more than 130 bills dying for lack of…

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I-Light network delayed by state: Daniels administration calls for further study of high-speed system

The completion of a state effort to expand Indiana’s digital infrastructure by connecting 15 cities via a fiber-optic network has been delayed as the new administration further studies the project. The initiative, known as I-Light, began in 1999 and connected supercomputers at Indiana University, Purdue University and IUPUI. By harnessing the technological power of the institutions into a grid, the universities surpassed the two-teraflop (trillions of operations per second) mark and increased their computation, storage and visualization ability. The $5.9…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: House Democrats blew it

Democrats in the Indiana House of Representatives took their toys and went home last week, skipping work for 22 hours over the final two-day period to move legislation over to the Senate. Their partisan, obstructionist tactics brought progress to a screeching halt as the state tries to move forward with a new agenda that Indiana voters overwhelmingly supported in principle back at the polls in November. I’m not sure, but I think if I decided to boycott my job for…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Cities and counties need autonomy

A recent week took me to Anderson, Columbus, Sullivan, Terre Haute, Crawfordsville and Merrillville. Here are a few observations: Terre Haute’s Chamber of Commerce proudly proclaims that Vigo County is collecting income taxes from Sullivan County residents who work in Vigo County. At the same time, the Sullivan County Council cannot decide if it wants to collect those taxes for itself. The Chamber rightly declares that such funds are helping Vigo County’s economic development. The Sullivan County Council doesn’t seem…

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