More than $1 billion in development planned at former GM stamping plant

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A transformation is in the works at the former GM stamping plant, with more than $1 billion in development planned for a new downtown district.

Ambrose Property Group unveiled the plans for what will be called Waterside Friday. The company expects $1.38 billion in development, including 1,350 residential units, 620 hotel rooms, 2.75 million sq. ft. of office space and 100,000 sq. ft. of retail and 12,000 jobs.

"It's just, you want to pinch yourself," Rahnae Napoleon, with the Valley Neighborhood, said.

Ambrose Property Group was chosen to develop the site by the Racer Trust. Racer was created to clean up the facilities and ready it for redevelopment after the site closed with the General Motors Corp. bankruptcy nearly a decade ago. It sits across from downtown and the White River.

"Waterside presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform how we view downtown Indianapolis," Aasif Bade, the president of Ambrose Property Group, said.

The plan also calls for an infrastructure change, with the White River Parkway going into Waterside and the parkway transformed into a pedestrian only waterfront area.

"What is perhaps most unique is Waterside will also deliver to every Indianapolis resident a new appreciation for the White River," Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

The project agreement between Ambrose Property Group and the Department of Metropolitan Development calls for $8 million in public infrastructure investment in 2019 to support the first phase of development and a commitment to support an additional $8 million in public infrastructure by using a developer backed bond utilizing the property tax increment created by the first phase of development. There is also an acknowledgement of there will be more public infrastructure needs, and a commitment the city and developer will work together to find options for more funding.

"I'm excited to see what happens at the same time I'm cautious, there's a lot of people with a lot of needs and a lot of significant poverty in the neighborhoods and I'd hate to see them pushed out by development," Kristen Marble, a senior pastor at West Morris Street Methodist Church, said.

Ambrose Property Group leaders have said they are working with the neighborhood and Central Indiana Community Foundation, and have talked about adding workforce housing.

"It's pretty wonderful not just for our neighborhood but for the city as a whole," Jay Napoleon, a resident in the Valley Neighborhood, said.

The group expects the project to take at least 15 years, with more announcements and work starting in 2019.