INDIANAPOLIS — The City-County Council will introduce a proposal tonight to dedicate $12.5 million in tax increment financing to the construction of a $50 million apartment complex already underway in 16 Tech Park.

Browning Investments is building the 279-unit apartment project behind The AMP at 1220 Waterway Boulevard with completion expected next year.

The site is near the IUPUI campus which is just now bouncing back from two years of COVID-related shutdowns and cutbacks.

“IUPUI went virtual with most or all of their classes,” said George Tikijian, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield. “So a lot of the students who lived downtown decided, ‘No reason to live downtown if we’re virtual,’ so the downtown market went from 92% pre-covid to the mid-seventies occupancy and a lot of properties increased concessions and lowered rent quite a bit.

“I think from an IUPUI standpoint, I think we’re back to where it was before, that anybody who can afford to live downtown could.”

Tikijian cites occupancy rates in the mid-90s and, as a result, metro Indianapolis is in need of new apartment construction.

“Marion County and really the market as a whole needs more units,” he said. “There is high demand and it is hard to build because construction costs have increased so much.

“Last year in the Indianapolis metro area we saw over an eight percent rent increase and in my 30-some years that is by and large the largest rent increase we’ve seen in the Indy metro area.”

The opening of the Indy Innovation complex could be expected to flood the food hall at The Amp with new customers where a number of vendors were closed during lunchtime today.

In exchange for the anticipated City incentives, the developer is expected to set aside about a dozen units for affordable rental rates.

“Where’s the greatest demand is more affordable apartments,” said Tikijian. “It’s very hard to build affordable apartments.

“I would say the downtown pipeline for new apartments is as low as it’s been for several years. There’s not that much actually, not as many units that are going to be delivered downtown over the next few years because it’s hard to build downtown.”