Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Market Square Development

Today was the deadline for submission of bids for the old Market Square Area site. For several years the site has sat vacant as a parking lot since the demolition of the Pacers' old home. A previous promised development fell through a few months ago.

Two proposals were submitted. One involves a fourteen story building of mixed use residential and commercial. Opposite of the fourteen story building is a retail development featuring a Target store. The second proposed development will feature two buildings, one twenty one stories high while the other will reach fifteen. The second proposed development will also feature a large amount of space dedicated to retail.

Initially I am disappointed. For one the architecture for both is bland and suburban in design. Second with such a large amount of land available I had hoped for a bold and taller building. I had hoped for a building that would rival our largest building, the Chase Tower.

However from a realistic standpoint a building has to be economically feasible. This market simply cannot sustain that sort of development. This became obvious by the much grander project that was previously proposed and that ultimately did not pan out due to lack of interest.

The builders have already indicated that to be "economically feasible" they will need what has now become familiar to the city for new development, the subsidy. Because the city will already sell the land under market value I find the subsidy troubling. However this might be an opportunity for the city to gain sometime from investment. The City County Building was built in 1962. The city's population has grown and similarly, so have the need for governmental services. However the space available at the City County Building has not grown. If the city is going to subsidize the project anyway, why not require the builder to add additional floors for the City's use? Because the new development will already involve commercial development including additional space to lease to the city for a nominal (say $1) fee would be easy to incorporate. Obviously with the residential component of the development, incorporating the criminal courts would not work due to safety concerns. However putting space in the development for other governmental services will open up this space at the City County Building for the government's growing needs.

Ultimately the space would be best served to address the city's space problem with the City County Building. A Justice Center at the site would go a long way to improving efficiency of the criminal justice system and public safety. Because the leadership of the city will choose not to go that route, at least they create the additional space at the City County Building for these growing needs for the same cost as they are already going to expend for the subsidy.


Blogger lemming said...


April 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent idea. Best I have heard yet. Get it the Mayor.

April 19, 2007  

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