Articles

Tax credits aid blighted areas: Help open to firms targeting Center Township projects

Federal tax credits supporting roughly $6 million in economic development projects are still available for small-business owners considering expanding or locating in Center Township. The funds are administered through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, which was established by Congress in 2000 to help revitalize blighted areas. In Indiana, the locally based Urban Enterprise Association Inc. helped secure tax credits that can fund $50 million worth of projects, including $12.5 million in Marion County. The tax credits already are supporting…

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Radio Disney catching the ears of youth-and advertisers: Event marketing key to getting local kids to tune in

Two years after its launch, Radio Disney’s local WRZD-FM 98.3 affiliate is outperforming many affiliates in the 55-station network, even though traditional measures of its success are anything but magical. WRZD’s rating by New York-based Arbitron Inc., the industry’s standard media research firm, shows the station barely cracking the top 20 in this market. But WRZD has prospered through another number: listener calls per day. The station averages an eye-popping 4,070 calls a day, according to officials at Radio Disney’s…

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Wells Fargo sees city as ripe for expansion: Commercial banking, capital management key to Indianapolis plan

Wells Fargo & Co. took a couple of quiet but important steps earlier this year as part of a plan to build a major presence in the Indianapolis banking and financial services market. The San Franciscobased corporation in March opened a local Commercial Banking Division headed by longtime banking executive Lex Curry and a capital management office headed by well-known stock manager Tom Pence. The moves, by the nation’s fifth-largest bank in terms of assets, are part of a corporate…

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Insurers look to make uncommon comeback: Pafco, Superior hope to leave rehabilitation this year

Only the hum of central air-conditioning broke the silence when Doug Symons recently led a quick tour of the Indianapolis office where his Superior Insurance Group once employed about 180 people. Rows of gray cubicles sat empty. Boxes filled with old claims and underwriting files lined the aisles. “This,” Symons said as he waved his arms around, “is what an empty office looks like waiting to be filled.” Those bare cubicles could fill up with dozens of new employees and…

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Office sales shatter records: National investors spend big in string of real estate deals

National buyers hungry for commercial properties have started focusing on second-tier markets like Indianapolis, a trend that’s resulting in quick sales at prices previously unheard of here. One and Two River Crossing sold as a package in early July for $41.6 million, or $203 per square foot, setting a new high-water mark for Class A multitenant office space in the Indianapolis market. Before the River Crossing sale, the sales record for suburban office space was $145 per square foot-a mark…

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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Setting up home wireless not for faint of heart Books, articles, Web pages and instruction manuals may help you through it, but then again …

There are some big steps in life that merit serious thought. One is marriage. Another is buying a house. Yet a third is whether to set up a wireless network at home or in a small office. Of the three, the first two may be the less stressful. A friend of mine recently tried to set up a small WiFi (wireless) network at home, and gave it up in frustration after days of technologically induced anguish. He’s been married for…

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BULLS & BEARS: With real estate the rage, it’s time to swing to stocks

Stocks or real estate. Which one will “show you the money”? In my last column, I pointed out that-over two or three decades-an investment in stocks, with an average 10-percent return, should double in value every seven or so years. The big problem investors have is that the average 10 percent return is created by erratic and sporadic bursts and busts in stock prices. It’s nerve-racking. The bursts and busts really tax people’s emotions and drive some people away from…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Hat World helps propel parent’s stock out of slumber

When Indianapolis-based Hat World Corp. announced its $165 million sale to a Tennessee firm 17 months ago, it had posted increases in same-store sales for an impressive 27 months in a row. Now, make that 42 and counting. Such a streak is almost unheard of in the rough-and-tumble retail world, especially for a firm wrestling with the inevitable distractions that go along with the transition from independence to ownership by a publicly traded company. “We have maintained the same momentum…

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Speculator’s personal bankruptcy may tinge spouse: Trustee sorting through assets of real estate investor Marten, jeweler wife

A real estate speculator whose wife owns a prominent Carmel jewelry store has filed for personal bankruptcy, spawning an inquiry into whether her assets should be available to repay his creditors. On April 27, Christopher Marten filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, listing assets of $1.03 million and liabilities of $2.56 million. The case is pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis. Marten’s 26 creditors include six banks and credit unions. Christopher Marten is married to Jan Marten, owner of…

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Prime property can mend fences: Earlham land sale on right course

The process Earlham College has set up to sell 413 acres of prime Hamilton County acreage it expects to receive in its settlement with the Conner Prairie living-history museum is a silver lining to this otherwise stormy saga. In the more than two years since Earlham touched off the Conner Prairie drama by firing the museum’s board, we’ve had nothing good to say in this space about Earlham’s handling of the situation, but the land sale is shaping up as…

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Builders pine for acreage: Earlham expects big bucks from land freed by deal

Like vultures circling a lone man in the desert, local developers and home builders are jockeying to swoop in and take 413 acres of prime Carmel land when owner Earlham College gives it up following its settlement with Conner Prairie. But Earlham, recognizing the prominence of the last large undeveloped tract in eastern Carmel, isn’t going gently. Interested parties-more than two dozen, at last count-will be required to undergo a formal proposal process before one can feast on the farmland….

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Simon’s new strategy: Go beyond retail realm

Early this year, Simon Property Group Inc. CEO David Simon started dropping hints on Wall Street about a major new company strategy. “We really can’t tell you about it yet,” he said at an investment conference in March, a comment that piqued the curiosity of the roomful of analysts. Simon Property officials still aren’t falling over themselves to lay out the plan; a company spokesman declined to make someone available for an interview. However, during recent conference calls and investor…

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Cancer society scouts Clarian property for development: Former retirement home may serve as a Hope Lodge

An empty retirement home near Methodist Hospital may turn into a lodge that gives cancer patients a place to rest while they receive treatment in Indianapolis. The American Cancer Society is talking with Clarian Health Partners about planting a Hope Lodge on the site of the former Indianapolis Retirement Home, which sits across from Methodist on busy North Capitol Avenue. The cancer society operates 23 of these lodges in several states, but this would be the first Indiana location, according…

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Furnace maker picks Indy as hot spot for distribution: Lennox to move Illinois, Ohio operations to east side

Lennox Industries Inc. is giving Indianapolis a vote of confidence as a logistics hub with plans to move distribution of its commercial heating and cooling products from facilities in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, to the east side of Indianapolis. Although the distribution center is relatively small at 60,000 square feet, Lennox is one of a few companies that have abandoned distribution centers in other cities in favor of Indianapolis’ low cost of real estate, central location and interstate access. Last…

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Taking the pulse of life sciences: Experts weigh in on whether Indiana is keeping up in the economic development race

IBJ: Is Indiana gaining ground against other states in the race to grow as a life sciences hub? What are some specific benchmarks that underscore your opinion? JOHNSON: Indiana is gaining ground, but Indiana already starts on really very substantial ground. There are a lot of outside validations of that and I think it’s important for this audience to hear a couple of them because there is nothing like having people on the outside pay attention to what we’re doing…

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BULLS & BEARS: Fed policies encourage post-bubble hangovers

Economists teach us that too much money chasing too few goods causes inflation. As consumers, this supply-demand imbalance leads to rising prices on the everyday items we purchase. A similar phenomenon can occur in financial assets. Too much money chasing stocks, bonds and real estate can create financial asset inflation. Pension funds, institutions and wellheeled individuals are throwing money into “alternative investments” in the hopes of earning high returns. There are now an estimated 8,000 hedge funds that manage more…

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Ace sees growth potential in central Indiana: Some skeptical of plans to open 30 hardware stores

Suburban Chicago-based Ace Hardware Corp. wants to expand upon a strategy of placing stores in residential areas by opening up to 30 new locations in the Indianapolis area. The ambitious plan to grow its presence in and around the city from the 14 existing stores is part of Ace Hardware’s larger strategy to target eight metropolitan regions thought to be ripe for expansion. Big-box retailers such as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot and Menards dominate much of the home-improvement turf….

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Precedent plans spec office: Building signals improvement in north-suburban market

The Precedent Cos. is preparing to build a 100,000-square-foot office building in its namesake office park near 96th Street and Keystone Avenue, several local real estate experts said, further evidence of the north-suburban market’s recovery. The building would mark the first new speculative office construction in the park since the mid-1990s, just before Indianapolis-based Precedent sold the park’s 19 buildings with 1.1 million square feet of office space to Philadelphia-based Berwind Property Group Inc. in 1998. That sale didn’t include…

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Community banks struggle with regulatory demands: Sarbanes-Oxley, Banking Security Act prove costly

Who can blame small community banks for feeling boxed in? “The world has changed,” said Jerry Engle, president and CEO of Greenwoodbased First Bank. “I guess we’ll have to get used to it.” Far and away, it’s the increasing cost of regulatory compliance that keeps community bankers tossing and turning at night. In recent months, the Independent Community Bankers of America, a small-bank advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., has stepped up its ongoing campaign against additional regulation by asking…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Duke at a crossroads after impressive run

Duke Realty Corp. has quietly made bundles for investors the past five years. But you wouldn’t know it from the tone of recent analyst reports on the Indianapolis-based company, one of the nation’s largest industrial and office developers. “We [compare] Duke’s investment case to that of a large ship, since we believe that it would take the company time to gradually turn its performance around on a course to improved results,” wrote Prudential Equity Group’s James Sullivan. “There is virtually…

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