INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia Street is getting a real summer of 2020 vibe for the NCAA tournament. The city is announcing that the corridor will be closed off to make way for fans and Hoosiers alike to enjoy what the street has to offer.
“Good street activation, good fan experience, but also done in a safe way,” said Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association President and CEO Patrick Tamm. “Frankly, it really connects Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, home of two basketball courts, as well as Bankers Life.”
Indy Department of Public Works (DPW) will be coming through Friday morning to begin blocking off the street from Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Avenue. They expect to be done by the end of the day.
Restaurants that apply for permits will be allowed to extend their outdoor seating into the street. While numerous restaurants have closed near Georgia Street during the pandemic, this change is a welcome boost for those who survive.
“46% to 53% to be specific of annual revenue for restaurants in the mile square come from conventions and special events,” explained Tamm. “We have had unfortunately several closures, permanent closures, along Georgia Street which is disheartening.”
Spots like Pier 48 have made it through despite losing roughly 50% of their revenue. They have shifted the pricing and variety of their menu to cater to not only high end seafood, but a broader audience that may want carry out. They are hoping to extend their dining into the street, maybe even more.
“We had a tent out here. We were able to back then have a limited amount of live music,” said Pier 48 owner Keith Stucker talking about Georgia Street’s closure in the summer. “With that been done before, we are hopeful with the permitting we are going through right now, that the city will allow us to do similar types of things.”
Pier 48 has been ramping up operations since February, but they are still hiring much needed help. The NCAA tournament is the excitement and boost they need to remain successful.
“We were in the tunnel for sure. It was almost, we wanted to know If there was a light at the end or a train coming,” joked Stucker. “It’s been picking up a lot since the end of the year. Pacers are now playing again.”
Indy DPW says signage will be up along Georgia Street reminding people where to go, and to keep their social distancing up.