INDIANAPOLIS — For decades, trains all across the Midwest were dispatched out of the Indiana Terminal Warehouse at the corner of Georgia and Pennsylvania Street.
That’s what makes the five-story building historic and why an investment group led by Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon is asking the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission for permission to tear down the obsolete and empty site and construct a quarter-billion-dollar hotel/apartment/retail complex on its site.
The Simon group proposal is being unveiled before the commission Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s just further evidence of a level of investment that not only the Simons are making but developers all over the city are making in downtown Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We’re back on track, and the momentum as we come out of the pandemic is there for an even more prosperous Indianapolis than we enjoyed before the pandemic.”
The Simon group proposes a 16-story, 225-room hotel with a walkover connecting to Gainbridge Fieldhouse, including space for retail, restaurants and bars.
On the vacant parking just to the south, a 26-story apartment tower with 254 units is planned.
The Pacers are also proposing a $20-million event center on Delaware Street next to Gainbridge, which still needs commission approval alongside a Maryland Street public plaza that is already under construction.
“With a development where this development is proposed to be located, it is gonna reinvigorate Georgia Street in ways that we have been thinking about,” said Hogsett. “I’m sure it will add some measure of thought and commentary regarding how we’re gonna repurpose Circle Centre Mall, and it will have ripple effects from Gainbridge Fieldhouse all the way down Georgia Street to the convention center.”
Kyle Nye makes pizzas on Georgia Street, just steps away from the proposed development.
“During the week it’s pretty slow. During the weekends, there’s a lot of conventions. It’s getting a lot of travelers,” he said. “It would be a good thing for the city, a good thing for the area, especially my business where I work at and a lot of other businesses around here. Just like, it will bring a lot more tourists, it will bring a lot more interest and more people to the area, and they’ll be able to spend some money, and we’ll be able to get some revenues.”
Even though the investment group has not yet asked, Hogsett said he expects there will be a request for City participation either through construction bonds, infrastructure improvements or tax breaks.
“We have incentives that do encourage economic development and economic growth,” he said. “The City has an obligation not to give away money just to give it away but to make investment and to partner with developers making sure the City does recoup its investment ultimately over the long run but in the short round encourage greater participation by more people who want to make more investments in downtown Indianapolis.
Last week’s annual State of Downtown by Downtown Indy Inc. predicted residential growth to continue in the city’s core as apartments in the Mile Square boast 96% occupancy rates, an all time high.