INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The influx of people moving downtown continues as home prices reach an all-time high, according to Downtown Indy Inc. City leaders are now focused on reducing violent crime and panhandling, as more people spend time in the center of the city.
Construction projects are underway up and down Mass Ave. In 2016, 1,124 apartment units were added in Downtown Indianapolis and rental rates per square foot are up.
Frank Leemhuis is moving downtown this week.
"I love Mass Ave.," he said. "There’s a lot going on there, lots of fun things for young people like myself to do."
He joins an estimated 6,000 others who will make the same move in the next three years.
"Indianapolis has the perfect mix of affordability and a lot going on," Leemhuis said.
While the number of apartment units increased significantly, the vacancy rate increased by about one percent.
A wide array of restaurants popping up around downtown is also feeding the moving frenzy. Forty restaurants opened their doors in 2016.
"There’s certainly an ecosystem with the energy of downtown," said Bob Schultz, VP of Marketing for Downtown Indy Inc.
The Garden Table has only been open on Mass Ave. for a few months and is already seeing a steady stream of customers every day.
"People really are speaking up that they want to eat local and support local," said Jordyn Nelson, general manager at The Garden Table.
The fast growth can also lead to some problems. Just this month, a string of violent crimes downtown prompted action from IMPD. Three teenagers were shot near the statehouse and four people were shot inside a downtown parking garage. Since then, police have increased patrols on downtown streets.
"We’re very concerned about uptick in violence," Schultz said. "We’re still fortunate enough to recognize less than five percent of all the crime in Marion County occurs downtown."
Additionally, Downtown Indy Inc. announced plans to tackle the panhandling issue more directly in the year to come.
Currently, there are around 150,000 who work in downtown Indianapolis each day. Downtown Indy Inc. points to growth from technology companies as a reason for a recent surge in office occupancy. In 2016, 44 projects were completed with an investment of $800 million.