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Sep 20, 2004, 11:02 AM
10-year plan urges new courthouse, bigger staff
Today's report on mired Marion County courts comes as judges weigh '05 budget cuts.

By Vic Ryckaert
September 20, 2004

Fixing Marion County's swamped court system will take higher pay, larger staffs and a new $250 million courthouse, according to recommendations in a report coming out today.

But the lofty goals of that 10-year plan, compiled by officials from two dozen state and local agencies, will debut just hours after judges consider how to confront a $1.9 million budget cut in 2005.

"That's part of the irony," Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner said. "At the same time we're talking about the future, we're
going to be talking about how to deal with a very uncomfortable, unpleasant current situation."

During a 4 p.m. meeting of the Criminal Justice Planning Council, officials will unveil a 10-year prescription to salvage Marion County's justice system.

The consulting firm Crowe Chizek spent about a year gathering information and interviewing dozens of representatives from 24 local and state agencies to put together the 131-page study. The plan cost about $220,000, with $43,000 paid by Marion County and the rest with a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The plan recommends boosting salaries, hiring more people and building a $250 million courthouse. It also calls for the county to develop better communication systems, better train workers and add courtrooms and staff to bring caseloads within national and state standards.

The initiative includes several phases, and improvements with no cost will begin right away. Many leading members of the City-County Council and other agencies were involved in developing the plans, so the proposals have broad support. How to pay for them remains uncertain.

"We need to re-establish our priorities," Judge Cale Bradford said. "The county just cut the court budget by $1.9 million and spent $600,000 on a site plan for a new football stadium. Unless that stadium has a correctional facility in the basement for adults and juveniles, that money could have been better spent."

In a separate meeting, the county's 32 Superior Court judges will convene at noon to discuss ways to deal with the cuts ordered for 2005 by the City-County Council. This is expected to include use of judicial mandates, which would force leaders to provide more money for whatever services the court deems necessary.

The budget cuts mean judges would use fewer interpreters for non-English speaking defendants, hire psychologists instead of psychiatrists to determine a defendant's competency and forgo remodeling vacant space in the City-County Building into a much needed courtroom.

Bradford, the leader of the three-judge panel that oversees the Superior Courts, has said he supports filing a judicial mandate if the budget is not increased. However, Bradford said last week that he is open to other options.

The judges last issued a mandate in 2000 for $2.2 million more in funding, which allowed the hiring of more court workers and probation officers.

Officials agree that the county's jail, law enforcement agencies and courts have been neglected for more than a generation.

"In the quest to be penny pinchers, we've underfunded criminal justice as Indianapolis has grown," Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler said.

Mary Moriarty Adams, chairwoman of the council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee, said no one was spared in this year's budget cuts.

But the Democrat said a judicial mandate is premature because cost savings from Mayor Bart Peterson's plan to consolidate Indianapolis and Marion County governments next year could be used to help the courts. That proposal, dubbed "Indianapolis Works," must win the approval of state lawmakers.

"The courts can make this work," Moriarty Adams said. "We are willing to work with them, but they have to work with us."

Call Star reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2750.

Cop is arrested on DUI charges
IPD officer crashed cruiser into van after attending party while off duty, reports show.

By Terry Horne
September 20, 2004

An off-duty Indianapolis police officer was arrested Sunday on drunken driving charges after he crashed his marked police cruiser into a parked minivan on the Southeastside, according to police reports.

Shannon W. McComas, 29, became at least the second IPD officer this year to be charged with driving while intoxicated. And he may be the first officer to face discipline under the department's new "zero tolerance" policy, which prohibits officers from driving their police cars after consuming any alcohol.

Police reports indicate McComas' blood-alcohol content was 0.16 -- twice the level at which a person is considered intoxicated.

According to the reports, police were called to the 3200 block of Carica Drive at 3:47 a.m. by a woman who said a police car had just crashed into her minivan, parked outside her home. The woman told police the officer appeared to be drunk and had asked her not to call anyone.

McComas, who flunked a field sobriety test, told officers he had been drinking at a nearby party and was dialing his cell phone when his car struck the minivan.

Officers estimated total damage to both vehicles at $2,500 to $5,000.

Electronic court records indicate his license was suspended at an initial hearing Sunday, and he was released without bond.

A person who answered the phone Sunday night at McComas' home said the officer had been advised not to comment.

IPD Lt. Paul Ciesielski, a department spokesman, said that if McComas' license were suspended, he still could be assigned to a desk job. A misdemeanor conviction would not end McComas' career. However, the officer faces discipline from Police Chief Jerry Barker following an internal investigation. "The new policy could be a factor in what the chief decides to do," Ciesielski said.

The policy, which had allowed an officer to have a blood-alcohol content of up to 0.03 and still drive, was changed in February. In the weeks before, two IPD officers, Sgt. William Jackson and robbery Detective George Leon Benjamin, were involved in crashes after they had been drinking.

Both were suspended for 10 days, and Jackson was placed on probation and fined about $400.

Call Star reporter Terry Horne at (317) 444-6082.

Sep 22, 2004, 7:19 AM
Who's gonna to miss this place? not me!

Venerable Mexican chain bids farewell
3 area Chi-Chi's are among 75 U.S. sites shuttered after firm is sold in bankruptcy.

Outback Steakhouse, which bought the assets of Chi-Chi's in bankruptcy, said it would convert many Chi Chi's locations to Outback brands such as Bonefish Grill and Outback. -- Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press 2003 file photo

By Madhusmita Bora
September 21, 2004

After nearly three decades of serving sizzling fajitas and fried ice cream, Chi-Chi's, the national Mexican food chain, took a final bow Sunday night.

"We would like to thank all of our loyal customers of the past 27 years and with a tear in our eye, say ¡Adios!" the company Web site said. After selling or closing some locations, Chi-Chi's operated about 75 restaurants around the country.

The chain's three Indianapolis-area locations -- on East Washington Street and East 82nd Street in Indianapolis and on U.S. 31 in Greenwood -- also remained closed Monday. A sign outside the restaurant on East 82nd Street greeted customers with "Restaurant closed. Thanks for your patronage." Some other Chi-Chi's in the region had closed earlier.

Employees declined to comment, except saying that Outback Steakhouse recently bought the chain.

Outback Steakhouse gained ownership of the remaining 76 Chi-Chi's last month with a $42.5 million U.S. Bankruptcy Court-approved bid. Chi-Chi's filed for bankruptcy in October 2003.

Once considered a thriving chain that offered an exotic cuisine, Chi-Chi's in recent years began to lose its market to smaller independent Mexican restaurants and the newer chains that packaged Mexican food in a fast-casual concept.

What furthered the company's demise was an outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to tainted green onions at one of its Pennsylvania locations. The disease claimed four lives while more than 600 diners became ill.

Outback officials did not return calls Monday. Last month the company had said that it would convert many Chi-Chi's locations to Outback brands such as Bonefish Grill and Outback Steakhouse.

"It's sad to see them go," said Sheila Brown, an employee at the Olive Garden located next to the 82nd Street Chi-Chi's.

Brown and her co-workers traditionally had drinks at the restaurant on Friday nights, after they had finished serving the last customers at the Italian eatery.

"There were some rumors, but I didn't know they were going to close over the weekend," she said.

Call Star reporter Madhusmita Bora at (317) 444-6202.

Photo Updates: 09/19/04

What in the world are they doing near the fountain? anyone know

Conrad- Most of the support columns are now in place to make way for the second floor.

Amazing Indy
Sep 23, 2004, 7:05 PM
The Indianapolis Athletic Club's board of directors agreed Wednesday to sell its nine-story Downtown building to a condominium developer, but left a glimmer of hope that a new club might use the lower floors.

At a late-afternoon meeting, board president John Durbin told members that the club's home will be sold by Nov. 15 to Hearthview Residential.

Earlier in the day, the club's board accepted an offer from Hearthview to buy the building and its contents for $3.2 million.

Hearthview and the club had worked for more than a year on a deal that would have kept the club afloat and allowed the developer to create condominiums on the upper floors of the building at 350 N. Meridian St. But the club couldn't raise enough money to close the deal and decided Friday to cease operations.

The building's sale, Durbin said, will provide the money for the club to pay its employees their pending wages. It also will cover all debts the club owes to its creditors, both secured and unsecured.

It also saves the club from the complications of bankruptcy, Durbin said.

"The most honorable thing we can do is make sure no one comes out of this a loser, especially the employees," he told the members.

Ernie Reno, spokesman for Hearthview, said the developer's plan "represents the highest and best use of the building, and we empathize with the membership of this historic club."

Durbin said Hearthview has said it would like a club to use the building. But that club would be a new entity, Durbin said, and the Athletic Club's present leadership would not take the lead in organizing it.

Some members at the meeting applauded the current board of directors for its work to save the club.

A few questioned whether the leadership had done everything it could.

"They could have done something," said longtime member Jack Davies. "They just sat here and waited for everything to be like it was."

Durbin said the board contacted all the businesses and wealthy individuals it could for financial help. Those efforts came in addition to the club's unsuccessful attempt in 1999 to merge with the Columbia Club, a similar business-oriented club on Monument Circle. Later, a deal with a hotel developer fell through after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Member Ted Meek, who learned to swim at the club when his father was a member, said the club's demise was sown long ago.

The club's failure was not a failure to act but a failure to act soon enough.

"They just waited too long," Meek said.

The last major renovation of the building took place in 1966. And board members said Wednesday that the building's ventilation systems are held together with duct tape and that the electrical systems are in even worse shape.

Amazing Indy
Sep 25, 2004, 2:19 AM
Neighborhood and environmental advocates today contested the design of Simon Property Group's new Downtown headquarters -- a move that, at the very least, will delay the building's final approval.

Today is the deadline for appealing the building's regional center approval. That approval, made last week, is based on how well the building's design fits with Downtown.

The appeal, made by the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations, forces a public discussion to be held on the approval in front of the Metropolitan Development Commission -- the city's most powerful zoning body.

A public hearing on the issue had not yet been set, but the body's next meeting is Oct. 6.

Cathy Burton, MCANA's president, said the group wants more time to study the shadows the Simon headquarters might cast across the nearby Statehouse as well as the effect the building will have on Downtown parking.

"Sometimes there are issues about which you feel so strongly that you have to go through the motions even if you think it's futile," Burton said. "It would be remiss of us not to continue to make that statement as strong as we could."

A separate appeal was filed with the city's Department of Metropolitan Development by citizen advocate and environmentalist Clarke Kahlo.

City officials and Simon executives could not be reached for comment.

Mall-giant Simon announced in May that it planned to build its headquarters on the site, a decision that prompted an outcry from some residents who argued that public land should not be used by a private company.

City officials argued that the 15-story building's design fits well into Downtown by using reflective glass, limestone and a three-story, open lobby that permits north-south views through the building.

Others have argued that the $55 million project -- which would receive more than $20 million in public incentives -- lacks inspiration.

City code allows an "aggrieved person" to appeal the city's regional center approval, but is silent on what grounds those appeals must be made.

Amazing Indy
Sep 25, 2004, 2:21 AM
A Butler University Police Department officer was shot and killed this morning in the parking lot at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and his suspected assailant was shot less than three hours later a short distance away.

The officer, who university officials identified as James Davis, 31, was pronounced dead at 11:08 a.m. from a single gunshot wound to the head. He had been with the Butler police since January, 2003.

Khadir Al Khattab
Police set up a perimeter from 46th Street to 49th Street between Sunset Lane and Boulevard Place as they searched for the suspect, who fled the scene of the 10:30 a.m. shooting on foot.

At 12:45 p.m., police engaged the suspect in the 4400 block of North Illinois Street. The suspect was shot and transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital.

Police late this afternoon identified the suspect as Kahdir Al Khattab, 26. He was pronounced dead at 7 p.m.

Al Khattab had been wanted on an arrest warrant for battery.

Indianapolis police retracted their identification of the suspect as Kevin Williams. The name was linked to the shooting because the last thing the slain officer did before he was shot was request a background check on a Kevin Williams.

Police said they don't know why Al Khattab identified himself to Davis as Kevin Williams.

A suspicious man had been watching members of the women's basketball team work out in the fieldhouse for perhaps as long as 45 minutes until he was asked to leave. Someone inside the fieldhouse apparently called for help, summoning the Butler officer to Hinkle.

Police, many armed with rifles or shotguns, swarmed through the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood after the shooting looking for the suspect in yards and garages.

Police said two Marion County Sheriff's deputies spotted the suspect lying down in the 4400 block of N. Illinois. Police said Al Khattab pulled the Butler officer's gun from his cargo pants and fired at the deputies, who returned fire. None of the officers was hit.

Chester Cox, 77, who was visiting the area, heard the commotion on Illinois Street. "I heard at least four or five gunshots in rapid succession," he said. "A lady friend said to me, 'Is that fireworks?' I said, 'No, that's gunshots."

Schools in the area were also locked down. Those schools included IPS School 43, 55, 70, 84 and 91, Broad Ripple High School, Shortridge Middle School, Sidener Middle School and International School of Indiana.

Butler spokeswoman Maureen Manier said, "No question about it, it is a very tight-knit community. The police force are highly trained. The Butler family is in mourning and our hearts go out to everyone involved."

The Butler police department has 16 officers. Chief David Selby requested that Indianapolis police homicide handle the investigation.

"We'll do everything it takes," IPD Chief Jerry Barker said this afternoon. "They (Butler police) can count on us to do whatever they need, including taking their runs. (The pain is) acutely felt. My heart goes out to Chief Selby, having gone through this myself."

Indianapolis police Patrolman Timothy "Jake" Laird was slain Aug. 18 in a gun battle with a delusional man. Three other officers were wounded. The suspect, who earlier that day killed his mother, was killed by police.

Shelley McFarland, a junior at Butler, was walking on 46th street just west of Cornelius Avenue at 10:45 a.m. as police cars were speeding by to set up road blocks. "I'm a little shocked," she said. "This is very scary. Not the best day to walk to school."

Police cars were at nearly every intersection in the area, with helicopters circling overhead.

Butler University biology professor Richard Miller, 57, said university officials sent out an e-mail telling everyone on campus to stay where they are and not to go outside.

At International School of Indiana, adjacent to Hinkle Fieldhouse, teachers were at the front door peering out the window. They said, through the window, that the school was in lockdown and that the students were safe.

Jim Lehman, 45, from Carmel, was working on a garage at an investment property at the intersection of North Boulevard and 52nd Street near Butler when the shooting occurred. He said police told him to secure his house and to lock his back doors to make sure no intruders could get in. "It's a tough situation when an officer gets shot," he said. "What are you going to do?"

Sep 28, 2004, 4:19 AM
Cathy Burton, MCANA's president, said the group wants more time to study the shadows the Simon headquarters might cast across the nearby Statehouse as well as the effect the building will have on Downtown parking.

Some of the corrupt statehouse politicians don't deserve the sun light or special parking privileges. ;)

Amazing Indy
Sep 30, 2004, 2:13 PM
Indiana became home to 115,000 additional residents in the three years since the 2000 census, with nearly half of the growth in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

Newcomers to Hamilton, Johnson and Hendricks counties boosted the state's population by 56,900, according to 2003 population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Boone, Hancock, Morgan, Shelby and Marion counties also gained in population.

Marion County grew by 2,700; 16,500 white residents moved out, while 17,000 new black, Hispanic and Asian residents arrived.

The latest estimates indicate 29 percent of Marion County's population are minorities, compared with 27.4 percent in 2000.

Sherlonda Anderson, the city's diversity affairs director, said the increasingly diverse Marion County population will be an asset to the city and surrounding areas.

"The asset of a diverse work force, and a diverse community to which to move a work force, is always a benefit for employee retention purposes and development," said Anderson, whose position was created by Mayor Bart Peterson two months ago.

"I think the reputation of cities in Indiana is that they are not diverse. These numbers prove we are a very diverse community."

The number of whites in Madison and Shelby counties also declined during the three-year period.

The Census Bureau develops state and county population estimates by characteristics using administrative records on births, deaths and migration to estimate population changes from the most recent census.

Statewide, the number of Hispanics or Latinos increased by 28,000, while the number of blacks increased by 12,900 and the number of Asians increased by 12,700.

The only county in the nine-county metropolitan area losing population was Madison County, which lost nearly 2 percent of its residents since 2000.

"That's not surprising," said Keith Pitcher, president of the Chamber of Commerce for Anderson and Madison County.

"We're in a period of transition from a General Motors town, which at one time had 23,000 employees in town. We're also dealing with a general loss of manufacturing jobs here," Pitcher said.

"There are a lot of efforts to diversify the employment base, but those things don't happen overnight," he said.

Some of the efforts include making city government more business-friendly, said Anderson Mayor Kevin S. Smith, who just completed a reorganization of city government. Anderson is the largest city in Madison County.

Part of that strategy is to sell Anderson's proximity to Indianapolis as it pursues commercial and residential developments. Signs of success are being seen in parts of Madison County not far from the booming Hamilton County.

"It's already at the southern part of our county, and I think it's going to be growing more," Pitcher said. "There is new development coming up now."

Across the nation, population increased by 9 percent to 291 million; Indiana grew 1.9 percent.

The largest numbers of Hispanics -- 12.3 million -- were in California. The largest numbers of blacks -- 3.6 million -- were in New York; Florida had the largest increase in blacks.

California had the largest increase in Asians, with 4.6 million. Hawaii is home to the highest proportion of Asians at 58 percent.

Most American Indians and Alaska natives live in California. The largest numerical increase of this group occurred in Arizona, and Alaska was where American Indians and Alaska natives made up the highest proportion of the total population, with 19 percent.

Amazing Indy
Sep 30, 2004, 2:17 PM
In the 1920s, it was envisioned as a shrine to veterans of The Great War, an important swath of urban parkland and one of Indianapolis' biggest economic development deals ever.

But over time, that vision became cluttered. Now one city block of Downtown's War Memorial Plaza is getting a $700,000 facelift to restore its look to what architects originally had in mind -- grand vistas.

"It is both a park and a shrine," said Bill Sweeney, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, which oversees the entire five-block mall. "It truly does serve a multiple purpose."

The makeover of the Veterans Memorial Plaza -- the section of mall between North and Michigan streets -- is expected to be finished by Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Visitors will notice subtle but important changes, Sweeney said, including:

• The well-known state flag display will be split into two areas to the east and west, making way for uninterrupted north-south views from the Central Library to the Indiana World War Memorial.

• North-south paths will be aligned with other parts of the mall. Also, worn brick paths will be replaced by concrete.

• New lights will shine more brightly on the obelisk, which was restored last year.

The project is being funded mostly with state tax dollars, Sweeney said, and some state and federal grants.

The renovation is the latest chapter in the mall's long history, which by some measure began in Paris in 1919 as those who served in World War I formed the American Legion.

Later that year, the organization held a convention in Minneapolis, and cities across the country sent delegates to lure the prized new headquarters. Indianapolis promised the buildings, memorials and several blocks of open space.

Those pledges, worth more than $10 million, sealed the deal.

Robert Moorhead's father was a member of the Indianapolis delegation to Minneapolis. Moorhead remembered hearing about some of the city's tactics -- including renting an entire floor at the convention hotel to court Legion officials.

"The key thing is they worked the issue pretty well," said Moorhead, 83. "Now, the folks who come to Indianapolis find that it's probably the most patriotic city in the world."

The plaza was designed by architects Frank Walker and Harry Weeks, of Cleveland, in 1923. But because of funding delays, buildings that had to be razed -- including two churches -- and World War II, completion stretched to 1950.

In 1975, the block was transformed from a paved surface to an urban park as the nation prepared to celebrate its bicentennial. That's when the planters, grass, picnic tables and flags were added -- though many of those features were not anticipated in the original design.

The mall, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark, reflected concepts of the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century -- classical design, uniformity and an emphasis on open space. The same movement spawned the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

"The idea was to create these grand vistas and impressive public spaces," said Suzanne Stanis, director of education for the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

And that, said Sweeney, is what the current remodeling is trying to restore.

"They wanted that vista," Sweeney said. "This is going to return this park to its original concept."

Two things. This is what they were doing in that one picture Midwesterner had in his photo thread. So hopefully that allieviates that confusion ;) Second, there is a really cool pick online for this article of the skyline from the park. If some one who is computer literate could post it, that would be great. It would be great to see the park turned into a Rittenhouse Square type of thing where its calm inbetween all the chaos. Hopefully with all this contruction in Indy, it could one day happen.

Sep 30, 2004, 8:35 PM
This one?


Sep 30, 2004, 8:44 PM

I'm glad it's getting a face lift (University Park could use one as well), but I'm not too sure I like moving the flags.

Amazing Indy
Sep 30, 2004, 9:17 PM
Yeah, fighting Irish, thats the one. For some reason I like ground shots of skylines like that. I thought that was a real cool picture.

Amazing Indy
Oct 2, 2004, 3:52 PM
Passenger traffic at Indianapolis International Airport continues to swell to record levels, the airport reported Friday, bolstered by an expanded slate of flights and the August launch of low-cost carrier Independence Air.

A record 5.3 million passengers traveled through the airport for the first eight months of this year, up 8.2 percent over the same period last year, airport figures show. The airport's 673,982 August passengers made for the busiest August in the airport's history. The figures include both departures and arrivals.

The airport registered its busiest year in 2000, when it tallied nearly 8 million passengers. Total passengers this year are expected to surpass 8 million.

The increase in passengers has outpaced the national growth rate of 5.7 percent. Officials attributed the growth here, in large part, to the recent addition of more flights. Indianapolis-based ATA added six flights in July. Minneapolis-based Northwest is slated to add 19 flights to its schedule beginning Oct. 31.

What's more, Independence Air began low-fare service from Indianapolis to the company's hub at Dulles International Airport near Washington in mid-August.

The latest signs of growth arrive at a time when many major airlines, including ATA and Northwest, confront significant financial challenges brought on by record jet fuel prices, higher security costs, escalating debt and fierce fare competition.

At least seven of the 13 commercial passenger airlines that serve Indianapolis have either sought or are considering seeking bankruptcy protection.

Even so, airport officials viewed the growth as evidence air travel demand in Indianapolis remains robust. Officials hope to accommodate the passenger increases with a new glass-enclosed midfield terminal costing roughly $1 billion and slated for completion in 2008.

"The sustained growth in traffic," airport Director Patrick Dooley said in a statement, "attests to the underlying strength of our market and the success of our airlines to attract customers with low fares and good service to popular business and leisure destinations."

Amazing Indy
Oct 3, 2004, 11:49 AM
Mayor Bart Peterson is considering taking a sweeping tax package to the legislature in January that would address a wide range of local needs in addition to raising money for a new stadium and larger Indiana Convention Center.

City officials say a broader tax package could address jail crowding, budget problems in Marion County's courts, the troubled IndyGo bus system and a lack of money for public safety pensions.

Tying the stadium and Convention Center projects in with urgent local needs could dampen any criticism that Peterson is putting his effort to keep the Indianapolis Colts here ahead of more serious problems.

"You need to address those first, before you run around doing convention centers and domes," said Republican Phil Borst, the City-County Council's minority leader.

Borst, a past member of the Capital Improvement Board, the landlord for the Convention Center and the city's sports venues, said he has told the Democratic administration that a 1 percent countywide sales tax could bail the county out of trouble.

"The downside," the Republican said, "is it's a new tax."

Peterson is weighing several options, including that one. Others include requesting a change in state law that would let the county raise its income tax rate to 1 percent from 0.7 percent in a single year and other broad-based or regional taxes.

A Downtown casino or expanded gambling options in Indianapolis are other possibilities to help generate tax money for local government.

"Everything's on the table -- except property taxes," Peterson said.

City officials acknowledge Peterson's Indianapolis Works plan to consolidate local government wouldn't come close to covering Marion County's looming revenue shortfalls. He has said the plan could save up to $35 million a year.

In addition, the mayor's plan to merge local fire and police departments and do away with 63 township officeholders is no sure bet. It needs legislative approval and likely will face strong opposition.

"We're going to have to have a big overall fix," said Michael O'Connor, Peterson's former chief deputy mayor, who left the mayor's office Friday for the private sector.

To complete a tax-and-financing package, the mayor wants to wrap up stadium negotiations with the Colts before the end of the year.

As part of any deal, Peterson wants the National Football League franchise to commit to playing in Indianapolis for decades to come.

Colts owner Jim Irsay, who declined comment for this story, has said he wants to increase the team's gross revenue to compete for talent and championships. Last month, he said any deal with the city would include a new stadium.

Details emerging

City and county officials are desperately trying to balance budgets totaling nearly $850 million. They have drawn down reserves and will borrow $100 million to pay benefits for retired public safety workers. Borrowing so much to pay a recurring expense is a clear sign of severe budget problems.

The city has pledged county option income tax revenue to repay that debt. Increasing the local income tax rate to 1 percent of adjusted gross income would raise about $45 million a year for the city, county and other local taxing units.

State law allows counties to raise the tax by just one-tenth of 1 percent per year. Lawmakers would have to approve raising it to 1 percent in a single year.

City officials say other priorities for money raised by a broad tax, if one is sought, would include making good on a $57.3 million debt the county owes the state for incarcerating delinquent teenagers; paying off any bonds sold to renovate Indianapolis Public Schools classrooms; and building affordable housing.

In recent weeks, some details of the closed-door tax package discussions have filtered out. Peterson and IPS Superintendent Duncan Pat Pritchett confirmed they had been in talks to include money to refurbish school buildings in the package.

After the IPS board voted instead to approve $200 million in borrowing last month that's likely to increase property taxes, Peterson said he was disappointed school officials wouldn't wait. Pritchett said the tax package was not a sure thing, and the school district needed to move ahead.

The mayor was trying to line up as much support as possible going into the General Assembly's budget-writing session in January because he's under tremendous pressure to get results.

If the RCA Dome is not replaced to help the Colts generate more revenue, Indianapolis could have to start paying the team to play here. Local officials say no money is available to do that.

Already, the Capital Improvement Board turns over more than $12 million a year in stadium revenue to the team as part of a 1998 deal to keep the Colts in town.

Under the city's contract with the team, however, local officials are required to make up the difference between the Colts' gross revenue and the NFL's median in two out of every three years. The first payment to meet this requirement, in 2006, could total $14 million or more, according to the latest NFL revenue figures published by Forbes magazine.

Next year's legislative session is key because it's the only one before the city could have to start making those payments -- and Peterson does not want to lose the Colts.

Taxing times

As early as next spring, Peterson could approve an expanded Convention Center and a new 63,000-seat stadium to host Colts games and events such as the NCAA Men's Final Four basketball championships.

To help cover the estimated $750 million cost of both projects, he is likely to seek legislative approval next year for raising auto rental, hotel, restaurant and stadium admissions taxes.

Peterson acknowledged the city's bond bank also hired a consultant to look into a sales tax and said he's not ruling it out. He cautioned that many options are under review, and he's not yet endorsing any new tax.

City officials would not ask for a penny increase in the restaurant tax if they secure legislative approval of a 1 percent sales tax, said Robert Clifford, executive director of Indianapolis' bond bank.

But any proposal to increase the sales tax to 7 percent would draw opposition from the Indiana Retail Council, a trade association representing such major retailers as Wal-Mart, Meijer and CVS, said Grant Monahan, the council's president and chief lobbyist.

"We would urge the mayor and anyone else to look at other alternatives," he said.

Indiana's 6 percent sales tax is collected by the state, but a large share is distributed to counties to reduce property taxes. Lawmakers could be reluctant to change that formula.

Nonetheless, some lawmakers have expressed interest in how much a local sales tax could generate for local governments in each of Indiana's 92 counties.

A recent study by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency indicates such a tax could raise up to $154 million a year for Marion County. This could help plug gaps in the stadium and Convention Center financing package and take care of many other needs.

House Ways and Means Chairman William Crawford said he's heard -- but not from Peterson or his aides -- that a 1 percent sales tax for local governments might be introduced. He said he would consider a wide-ranging plan to solve Marion County's problems.

"The argument for solving everything at once has merit. It's logical," said Crawford, D-Indianapolis. "But a tax like that can't be an Indianapolis-only solution."

Going to the Statehouse with a broad plan is "the right thing to do," said House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

Bosma said legislators hailing from other parts of the state might not like the plan, but he said they could be won over.

"Indianapolis is the state capital. It is the state's economic engine," Bosma said. "I think most lawmakers appreciate that -- even if they don't like Indianapolis."

2008 is goal

Peterson is disclosing few details about his tax or stadium plans. He continues to dismiss questions from reporters about building a new stadium as "premature" and "speculation."

But the Capital Improvement Board's decision last month to hire a national firm to scope out a Downtown stadium site is the latest sign of how intent local officials are on breaking ground next year.

City officials want to build the multiuse stadium first, having it ready by 2008, said Fred Glass, the board's president. That way, they could demolish the RCA Dome and use that land to expand the Convention Center by 2010.

City officials want to expand the Convention Center to lure back groups that are moving their meetings to other cities because they have outgrown Indianapolis' facilities.

If a deal is reached with the Colts, the team would be the marquee tenant in a stadium that might feature a retractable roof. Some city officials say the stadium must be built regardless of whether the team stays and could be used for trade shows, band competitions and other events.

"It's really the only way we can expand the Convention Center," Glass said, "and that needs to happen."

Oct 4, 2004, 6:24 AM
yeah, having 24 hr Casinos downtown should be ideal for generating extra revenue. Also an increase to 10% for county income tax. ;)

Oct 6, 2004, 9:10 PM
Duke Realty buys first 300 acres for development

By Bruce C. Smith
October 6, 2004

Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. said today it has completed the purchase of the first 300 acres of its planned 1,700-acre mega-development Anson in Boone County.

The company has had an option to purchase all of the land for many months, while seeking county planning and zoning approval for the project predicted to cost $750 million or more over the next 15 years.

The Boone County Commissioners gave final approval for the development in August.

Company officials said the first 300 acres is at the southwest corner of the site near the interchange of I-65 and Ind. 334.

That's where Duke said construction will begin on the first phases of retail and residential development.

Purchase of more sections of the site will be completed as market conditions and the need for more land occurs, said Duke spokesperson Donna Hovey.

Duke has options to purchase the remaining 1,400 acres that extend through 2013.

Anson is envisioned as a "new urbanism" type of project that includes all the components of a new town, with houses, multi-family town homes and apartments, offices, doctors' offices, retail shopping and restaurants, parks, green space and recreation, and land for new Zionsville and Lebanon schools. And residents could find jobs in new light industrial and warehouse district.

Even for Duke, which claims to be the largest publicly traded office and industrial real estate company in the country, Anson is an ambitious project in the company's own backyard.

Duke owns interests in more than 112 million square feet of properties and owns or controls over 3,700 acres of undeveloped land that could support 57 million square feet of future development.

"Anson is a natural extension of our development history in Indianapolis," said Dennis D. Oklak, president and chief executive of Duke.

Since 1972, Duke has developed over 1,600 acres in Park 100 on the northwest side of Indianapolis. The park is running out of space for new, large buildings.

Duke also has developed over 5 million square feet of industrial and distribution buildings in the Lebanon Business Park, about 10 miles north of Anson in the I-65 corridor.

"Anson provides us with a unique opportunity to develop in a master-planned community," Oklak said.

Call Star reporter Bruce C. Smith at (317) 444-2605.

Oct 6, 2004, 9:57 PM
Thanks for posting the article that's excellent news, Fighting Irish! I'll be keeping an eye on that area since I own a window washing company. Lots of money to be made here. :)

Tomorrow I plan on meeting with a group realtors to scope out some properties around the metro area for more leads. I'll be very busy with some jobs and estimates for the next three days. Residential and commercial properties are my specialty when it comes to windows.

In the future my ultimate goal is to buy a movie theather that will pave the way for several more around the country. A movie theater can generate an annual gross income between 300-500k. I believe Clearview will take me there to make it become a reality. I'm doing my very best to expand my business and contribute to the local economy. I must think big because I plan on starting a second service company by sometime next year.

Oct 7, 2004, 1:48 AM
^ That's awesome. I hope you can grow your business into something truly great. :)

About the Anson development, I looked on Duke Realty's site and couldn't find any renderings for it. I could have swore that there were renderings on the site before now. Maybe I was just imagining things.

Amazing Indy
Oct 7, 2004, 3:01 PM
Real-estate giant Simon Property Group is considering first-floor retail at its planned Downtown Indianapolis headquarters and developing a nearby museum in response to criticism about the building's design.

John Rulli, Simon's chief operating officer, told the city's Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday that the added features might mitigate the building's effect on its planned site, an urban park known as Capitol Commons.

Specific plans -- including the focus of the museum -- were scant, and Simon officials declined to comment when contacted after the meeting. Rulli said the ideas were based on discussions with a group of local architects.

"Before last week and their request, frankly, we were not going to have anything in the building other than our corporate headquarters," Rulli said. "But we felt that was a reasonable request . . . and may accentuate use of the park by the public."

The design of the Simon headquarters, at Capitol Avenue and Washington Street, was approved by the commission 6-0 despite formal complaints lodged by two neighborhood advocates.

The 15-story, $55 million building -- which will receive more than $20 million in public incentives -- has come under fire since it was proposed for Capitol Commons in May.

The company's architects have said they lessened the impact on the area by reducing the building's footprint to about 25,000 square feet and incorporating wide swaths of glass that will reflect the nearby Statehouse.

Still, some local architects have called the building disappointing and complained that it doesn't appeal to pedestrians.

Rulli told the commission Wednesday that Simon had discussed those issues with the Indianapolis chapter of the American Institute of Architects and that at the very least, a "cafe-type" restaurant on the park side of the building was being considered.

He also said the company has talked about a museum at Washington and Illinois streets but offered no further specifics.

City officials confirmed that the new ideas were being discussed.

"They got some feedback from local architects, and they're seriously looking at it," said Melina Kennedy, Mayor Bart Peterson's top economic-development adviser. "That is a good indication that they're trying to listen to comments."

Mark Demerly, the local president of the architects organization, said his group's urban design committee contacted the city and suggested adding retail to the first floor to create a reason for the public to engage the building.

"We wanted to create or maintain a public activity on the street level," he said. "We are not looking to speak against the project, we're looking at how we can make it a better project."

Several residents showed up Wednesday to try to persuade the city's main zoning commission to overturn a zoning approval that was awarded last month after city planners determined the building was a good fit for Downtown.

That approval was the last one Simon officials needed before breaking ground on the site, which they intend to do Nov. 1.

Cathy Burton, president of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations, decried not only the effect Simon's 850 employees would have on parking and public space, but also the architecture.

"The very least that the public deserves in partial compensation for the irreversible loss of public green space is a superior and innovate caliber of architecture," she said.

Amazing Indy
Oct 8, 2004, 3:21 PM
The city is nearing a deal to build a multimillion-dollar IndyGo bus hub, officials said Thursday, providing Downtown Indianapolis with its first major transit center since Union Station opened more than a century ago.

Planners envision a bus terminal just south of the RCA Dome with stores and restaurants, a nerve center for local bus service and, possibly, future rapid-transit lines to the suburbs. The station also might someday include access to a high-speed rail line that would connect Indianapolis to other Midwest cities such as Chicago and Cincinnati.

Mayor Bart Peterson hailed the project as key to spurring new economic growth in the dilapidated neighborhoods immediately south of Downtown. The site, 2.3 acres at the southeast corner of the RCA Dome, is next to areas being considered for a new football stadium and expanded convention center.

But significant challenges remain before any shovels bite into the ground.

Design, costs and a possible completion date for the facility have yet to be determined. What's more, acquiring the site could be difficult. So far unable to negotiate a deal with the owner, officials might turn to eminent domain laws as a way to force a sale.

Peterson called the center "crucially important" to the expansion of a transit system that many city leaders and national experts now view as inadequate for the Indianapolis area's roughly 1.7 million residents.

"This would be one central point," Peterson said in an interview Thursday. "It would be designed to get everyone in and out efficiently. It'll move the flow of traffic on the longer rides dramatically. This is a big benefit for riders."

The site was recently narrowed down from a list of about a half-dozen Downtown locations, officials said. Its selection follows years of meetings and debate.

IndyGo's seven-member board is to vote on the proposed location on Oct. 20. Federal approval also is needed and could come as soon as early next year.

The property is assessed at $2.2 million but listed for sale at $10 million, according to the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors.

Fred Glass, president of the city's Capital Improvement Board, said the city is "at loggerheads" with the property owner. Paul Roland, an attorney representing the owner, declined to identify his client.

The property is registered under the Anthony M. Maio Trust, county tax records show.

Glass raised the possibility that the city could force the owner to sell under the state's eminent domain law.

"We can't offer more than the appraised value of the property," he said.

Despite the potential snags, city and transit officials underscored the project's significance as critical for regional mobility.

"We are interested in there being a strong public transit system," Glass said.

Planners hope the facility, in addition to bus service, will one day offer easy access to the suburban rapid-transit system now under consideration. Regional planners have announced that the first leg of such a system, should one receive federal approval, would run from Downtown Indianapolis to job and population centers in Hamilton County.

"It's important that we make the connections to other modes of transportation and offer connections to the rest of the city," said Mike Dearing, manager for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In the short term, frequent bus commuters will see the greatest benefits.

Bruce Behncke, senior vice president of operations for IndyGo, said the center will speed bus service and allow for more routes in and around Downtown. Without a central hub, IndyGo is forced to send its buses along a circuitous route around Downtown.

"The center is a cornerstone for rebuilding transit in Indianapolis," Behncke said. "This is a stake in the ground for transit, which we're lacking now."

Janetta Hedrick, 55, who takes the No. 12 bus every day from Downtown to the Southside, said she would welcome the project if it speeds her trip.

"They say the bus gets here at 5:40 p.m.," said Hedrick, who was waiting for her bus Thursday evening on Ohio Street. "You might not leave until 5:45 or 5:50 because all the buses are lined up. And you're just sitting here -- you want to go home. When you get off work, you're ready to go home."

The transit project is the latest in a line of similar hubs being built in other cities to bolster transit use and fuel urban redevelopment. Most are akin to miniature, updated versions of New York City's Grand Central Station, incorporating shops, restaurants, movie theaters and even hotels.

Several, such as hubs in Denver and Minneapolis, have spurred new urban development, said Robert Dunphy, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington.

Civic leaders in Omaha, Neb., are mulling over a downtown bus hub that would include shops, restaurants and a day-care center. Officials in Sacramento, Calif., and Raleigh, N.C., also have moved forward with projects.

Dunphy said the hubs also serve as a de facto advertisement for bus and rail use.

"The problem with transit is that it tends to be invisible to everyone except for the users," Dunphy said.

Oct 16, 2004, 3:01 PM
Sale sparks sign of life on Washington Street
Plans for downtown’s McQuat includes high-end condos

By Tammy Lieber tlieber@ibj.com

A Zionsville condominium developer has purchased a long-vacant building on a blighted stretch of East Washington Street with plans to convert the seven-story building into highend condos, plans some observers say may be overly ambitious.
Britton Building and Design Inc. closed on its purchase of the McQuat building at 14 E. Washington St. in early October. The former owner, local attorney Steve Tuchman, had owned the building since 1979.
A purchase price was not available, but sources said the building at one time had been listed for $1 million.
Britton plans to convert the upper six floors into condos, with one 4,000-square-foot unit on each floor, said Gary Angstadt, an agent with F.C. Tucker Co. Inc. who is listing the units for Britton. The units would sell for $749,900 to $1.2 million for the penthouse, prices that are near the upper end of the downtown condo market.
Britton also plans to convert the McQuat building’s basement into parking spaces for the condos above, using access from an alley north of the building.
The pricing is based, Angstadt said, on units at 110 E. Washington St., a former office building converted to condos by locally based Hearthview Residential. A 3,000-square-foot ninthfloor condo at that building is being marketed for $895,000.
The building and the location near Monument Circle and Circle Centre are nearly ideal for condos, downtown real estate sources said. The building has no interior columns, allowing open designs.
“I’ve always thought it would make great condos,” said Steve Delaney, a broker with locally based Linder Co. who listed the space for several years. “I’m glad to see them get a developer in there for a good use. It’s long overdue. It will help finish out East Washington Street.”
Other sources agreed, but questioned the availability of enough alley space to make a ramp into a basement parking area.
The condos will also test the high end of the market. Most recent condo developments downtown are priced in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. More expensive units at 110 E. Washington St. and elsewhere have sold well, however. Units topping out at well over the $1 million mark are in the works for the upper floors of the Conrad Hotel at Washington and Illinois streets and the Residences at Market Square. Both of those projects are new construction.
Developers still report robust condo sales. At Six Over Meridian in the Wholesale District, about two-thirds of the 24 planned units have sold or have reservations, said Todd Maurer, president of developer Halakar Properties. The remaining unsold units are at the lower end of the $299,000 to $469,000 price range, he said.
On the first floor of the McQuat building, negotiations are under way for a “major chain” to move in, Angstadt said. He declined to name the restaurants that might be looking at the space, but real estate sources said Missouri-based Panera Bread has been eyeing the spot.
Panera has been looking for a downtown location and is close to a deal, said Tammy Baker of locally based Niessink Commercial Real Estate, who is representing Panera. She declined to name the exact location.
The project would be a new sort of venture for Britton, best known for new-construction condos. The company has eight units at its Hudson Place project near St. Joseph and Alabama streets and also developed a small town house project in Chatham Arch. Britton recently received approval to begin work on Broadway Lofts, a 14-unit condo project at 10th and Broadway streets.
Work could begin on condos in the Mc-Quat building next spring or even earlier if buyers express strong interest, Angstadt said.
The building has been vacant since at least the mid-1990s. Before that, a string of retail tenants occupied the first floor, but the upper floors have been mostly vacant since framing-and-photography company Lyman Brothers Inc. left in 1981.
The McQuat is one of several buildings on the north side of Washington Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets that sit mostly vacant and in need of work. The Victoria Centre, at 22 E. Washington St., and the Symphony Centre, at 32 E. Washington St., have been renovated and are fully occupied, but the redevelopment that has taken over so much of downtown in the past two decades has missed most of the buildings along that stretch.
The area lies north of the boundaries of the historic Wholesale District, although several of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. City officials last year began discussions on creating a historic commercial district along Washington Street, but progress has stalled for the time being while Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission staff works on other districts around the city, said city spokesman Justin Ohlemiller.
Tax records list the McQuat’s construction date as 1912, but IHPC records date the building to 1901, when it was home to Badger Furniture Co. The building is named after the family of original owners Eugenia B. and Robert L. McQuat, prominent landowners in early Indianapolis.



Oct 16, 2004, 3:04 PM
Homewood Suites coming to downtown Indy

Developers of a 91-room Homewood Suites extended-stay hotel are moving forward with plans to renovate two long-vacant buildings at 209 and 211 S. Meridian St.
The preliminary design stage is nearly complete, which will pave the way for developers to seek necessary approvals from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission and other government agencies, said Jeffrey J. Good, president of Valparaiso-based Good Hospitality Services.
Good’s company and principals of locally based Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. formed a partnership called Downtown Indy LLC to buy and renovate the buildings for the Hilton concept. Mansur had previously owned the buildings on Meridian Row in the Wholesale District.
Downtown Indy LLC paid about $2 million for the buildings this summer and plans to put an additional $9 million into the renovations.

Oct 16, 2004, 3:09 PM
Here are the 25 largest employers in Indiana, just incase someone is interested:


Oct 19, 2004, 2:41 AM
Could someone just write a quick compilation on everything going on in Indy ... I am thinking about moving there from Louisville. I just wanted to know a quick rundown of new developments. If its inhabitants see growth and prosperity for the future, what there is to do and whatever I should know :). I dont mean to cut down anyones town, but Louisville just isnt my bag. Thanks For Your Help!

Oct 19, 2004, 4:21 AM
Two sites of interest:

Downtown development - http://www.indydt.com

Economic development - http://www,indygov.org/ed

Oct 23, 2004, 8:28 AM
300 demonstrate against state plan for extending I-69
Opponents vow not to disappear after election

By Rob Schneider
October 23, 2004

Nearly 300 people crowded quietly outside the governor's office until their petition was delivered.

Then the cheering started -- their message of continuing opposition to the extension of I-69 through southwestern Indiana.

The crowd, ranging in age from 2 to 80, had gathered for a pep rally at the Indiana Statehouse, waving a variety of signs -- "Save It, Don't Pave It," "Save Our Farms, Protect Our Woods," "Honor Indiana, Don't Split Our Communities."

The state plans to build a direct I-69 route from Indianapolis to Evansville. Opponents suggest using an existing route of I-70 and U.S. 41.

Opponents think their views have just been "blown off," said Jeff Stant, an Indianapolis activist with the Green Party and one of the rally's organizers.

"This is about counting us," Stant said of the rally.

Regardless of who is elected as the state's next governor -- Democratic incumbent Joe Kernan or Republican challenger Mitch Daniels -- opponents want him to know "we are not going away," Stant added.

"We are in this until the last dog dies and beyond."

The Libertarian candidate for governor, Kenn Gividen, told the crowd the proposed extension is nothing but a boondoggle.

State officials defended their proposal for the extension.

"I respect the feelings of those who do not agree with the project and encourage these individuals to help us as we complete the final alignment work for I-69," said J. Bryan Nicol, the Indiana Department of Transportation commissioner, in a prepared statement.

Before marching inside the Statehouse, a series of speakers spoke of concerns ranging from urban sprawl to questions about how a state with an $800 million deficit will pay for the road.

Sandra Tokarski, a Monroe County landowner and a leader of Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads, said people want politicians to understand the potential destruction of homes, businesses and the environment.

"More is not always better," Tokarski said. "It's going too far."

Call Star reporter Rob Schneider at (317) 444-6278.

Oct 30, 2004, 12:37 AM
Ground has been broken!!

Ground broken on Simon headquarters

Star report
October 29, 2004

City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for Simon Property Group's new headquarters today at Capitol Commons, across from the Statehouse.

The company's corporate headquarters will be at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Capitol Avenue. The 15-story, 350,000-square-foot building will be constructed of Indiana limestone and glass.

Indianapolis-based developer Duke Realty Corp. is the general contractor. Construction is scheduled to finish by 2006.

The building has generated some criticism because the site now is a public plaza. Simon has said its building will take up only about 16 percent of the plaza.

Oct 30, 2004, 4:37 AM
Yeah, it's about time they get this project moving forward. I wonder if Simon already had changes made to the design yet.

Nov 1, 2004, 7:33 PM
Northwest to expand Indy flight plan
Airline says it will add Phoenix, beef up schedule to other cities over the next several months.

Northwest Airlines announced today it plans to expand its flight schedule at Indianapolis International Airport.

The flights include new, seasonal service to Phoenix, and additional flights to Philadelphia, Fort Myers, Tampa and Las Vegas, said Fay Beauchine, Vice President of Sales. Beauchine said the new service would be in place by February, giving Northwest 44 daily flights to 16 cities from Indianapolis. All the news flights are non-stop.

The Phoenix flights will be offered between Feb. 16 and April 30, 2005, she said.

Beauchine said the airline would announce another expansion sometime in the near future.

Last week, Indianapolis-based ATA announced it had filed for bankruptcy.


Nov 7, 2004, 5:25 AM

Media Contact:

Steve Campbell, [317] 327-3622
Dennis Rosebrough, BAA, [317] 487-5064

Mayor Peterson, airport officials to welcome another new tenant to former United facility

INDIANAPOLIS - Mayor Bart Peterson and officials from the Indianapolis Airport Authority will hold a press conference today to welcome another new tenant to the Indianapolis Maintenance Center (IMC), formerly operated by United Airlines.

WHEN: TODAY - Thursday, November 4
3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Indianapolis Maintenance Center lobby
2825 W. Perimeter Rd., Indianapolis International Airport

Earlier this year, the airport announced that a portion of the IMC will be leased to AAR Aircraft Services, Inc., a leading supplier of products and services to the worldwide aviation and aerospace industry. AAR could employ as many as 800 employees by the end of 2009 in 10 of the IMC's hangar bays.

Nov 7, 2004, 5:25 AM
Planners hope retail hub helps airport take off
Some say design putting shopping area before the security checkpoints is risky.

Officials plan to feature national retailers and local businesses, such as Brickyard Authentics, in the civic plaza at the new terminal, the centerpiece for the more-than-$1 billion overhaul. -- Robert Scheer / The Star

By Theodore Kim
November 6, 2004

Airport travelers are notoriously fickle shoppers, pinched by the pressure of getting through security and scurrying to their departure gate.

Capturing their business is the challenge facing planners here as they design a new $275 million midfield terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, one of the nation's first major airport expansions to be built after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Officials see a once-in-a-generation chance to build an airport complex from scratch that they hope will rival a full-scale shopping mall. But the question of how best to increase airport retail business in this age of heightened security and longer waiting times remains open for discussion, even among industry experts.

Indianapolis officials plan to locate many of the new terminal's shops before security checkpoints, unlike the retail layout at many other major airports.

"For the last 10 years, airport planners have been concerned about configuring terminals to suit food and beverage and other retail," said Pauline Armbrust, publisher of Airport Revenue News, an industry magazine based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. "But all the logistics changed after 9/11: wait times, security, routines."

The glass-wrapped midfield terminal, the centerpiece of a more than $1 billion airport overhaul to be finished in 2008, is slated to include 90,000 square feet of retail -- or about double the shopping space of the airport's existing terminal. A large circular plaza will serve as the terminal's main shopping district.

Indianapolis' ambitious plans are part of a broader movement by airports to beef up retail as record numbers of air travelers, drawn by rock-bottom air fares, flock to terminals here and elsewhere. The Indianapolis airport is on pace to draw about 8 million passengers this year, eclipsing the airport's best year in 2000.

With the airline industry facing an uncertain future, retail revenues also have become increasingly important to airport budgets. The Indianapolis airport is projected to gross about $29 million in retail sales this year, up 8.6 percent from 2003. Of those sales, about $3.7 million will go to the airport.

At the same time, longer wait times and the rise of bare-bones, no-meal flights on airlines like Southwest have fueled demand for more sophisticated shops and other amenities, such as full-service spas and wireless Internet access, retail experts say.

"We're talking about a more convenient experience, enlivened with art and light and space," said John J. Kish, the midfield project director. "We want to make it enjoyable to come here."

Shopping vs. security

Configuring retail around the new terminal's two main security checkpoints is perhaps the most pressing obstacle.

Under the current plan, the plaza will be located outside security. The layout will allow the terminal to cater to departing travelers, as well as those not cleared to pass security, such as many airport employees and people who come to pick up and drop off passengers.

In addition, the pre-security arrangement makes it easier for the airport to keep shops open in the event of a sudden security lockdown.

Businesses in the existing airport terminal suffered from such a predicament Thursday when security officials evacuated the bustling B and C concourses after screeners spotted a suspicious item in a carry-on bag. Authorities did not say what the item was, but the bag's owner and a second person were released a short time later.

However, industry observers say the airport's future retail plan is risky, given that the foremost instinct of most departing air travelers is to rush to their gate, largely out of concern over long security lines.

The "rush" mentality has grown as many airlines have moved from offering assigned seats to first-come, first-served seating.

What's more, shops outside security are not accessible to passengers on connecting flights.

"People tend not to shop pre-security," said Sonya Buckman, a spokeswoman for the Hudson Group, a New Jersey-based airport retail management company best known for its chain of newsstands.

"They're very anxious to get through the checkpoints," she said. "Once they're through, they say, 'OK, I can now get a magazine, a book or a gift for my kids.' "

Gregg Paradies, president and chief executive of Atlanta-based Paradies Group, one of the nation's largest airport retail management companies, said the Sept. 11 attacks have led to fundamental changes in air travelers' routines.

As evidence, he pointed to his company's cadre of shops at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona. Before the attacks, Paradies said, 60 percent of all the company's sales in Phoenix came outside security. That figure dropped to 30 percent after the attacks and has not recovered.

"The real business these days is post-security," Paradies said.

But Kish, the Indianapolis midfield project director, said the terminal's design -- highlighted by the spacious, light-filled central plaza -- is meant to diminish passenger anxiety and encourage them to linger and shop. The plaza also is guaranteed to be bustling, as it will serve as a necessary passageway between the new terminal's ticket counters and security.

Moreover, officials say the pre-security shopping plan fits Indianapolis because the airport has few connecting flights and, thus, few connecting passengers confined to areas within security.

Only 4 percent of the passenger traffic at Indianapolis comes from connecting traffic. In contrast, more than half of the passengers in hub cities like Chicago and Dallas are from connecting flights.

Rising retail

Whatever the final configuration, the terminal's design promises an impressive spread of shops and restaurants, reflecting a movement toward mall-style airport layouts.

The push began in the mid-1980s when brand-name retailers and eateries, such as McDonalds, saw airports as a vast untapped market, Paradies said.

Many airports, including Indianapolis, meanwhile, took a more aggressive approach toward retail by trimming space rental fees and actively recruiting specialty shops, such as perfume, luggage and jewelry stores, he said.

In recent years, new or renovated airports in cities like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and Denver have been built to resemble full-service shopping malls, with tall glass ceilings, food courts and high-end chain stores.

Planners here have similar visions for Indianapolis' new midfield terminal, though specific details -- such as which shops and restaurants might come and where they might be located -- will likely not be known until at least 2006.

While officials plan to attract a large stable of national chains, they also hope to install some stores and restaurants, perhaps locally owned, that offer the airport and its passengers a flavor of Indiana.

"Air travelers don't want just another generic-looking airport. They want to see airports that reflect their location," said Buckman, of the Hudson Group.

Case in point: Brickyard Authentics, a store maintained by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that sells racing knickknacks, is among the current terminal's most successful shops.

Retailers like Paradies, though, are ever mindful of their primary function: serving air travelers.

"We have a captive audience, but they don't have to buy anything," he said. "They're not coming to the airport to shop but to travel."

Call Star reporter Theodore Kim at (317) 444-6247.

Nov 7, 2004, 9:54 AM
DeHaan expands holdings
Lockerbie Market sold in low-key property deal

A high-profile parcel of downtown property has sold to a high-profile Indianapolis businesswoman in a deal that can only be described as low-key.
Christel DeHaan’s DH Realty LLC bought Lockerbie Marketplace and a parking lot near the retail/office center for an undisclosed sum in July. All parties involved agreed to keep details of the deal confidential, said Harold Garrison, a longtime local developer who had an ownership interest in the property.
Lockerbie Marketplace, anchored for nearly two decades by O’Malia’s Food Store, went on the block earlier this year. It was listed for $15 million.
Garrison said the owners were pleased with the selling price, but declined to be more specific.
“We got a lot of good bids on the property,” he said. “It really has been a seller’s market for the last year or so, and we wanted to take advantage of that.”
Lockerbie Marketplace spans an entire block downtown. The deal also included a parking lot at the northeast corner of Vermont and New Jersey streets.
The agreement with DH Realty was finalized July 30, about six weeks after the company registered to do business in Indiana.
DH shares office space in Market Tower with other DeHaan ventures—CD Realty, Christel House Academy, Christel House International, Project E and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.
The breadth of DeHaan’s holdings is proof of her considerable influence.
Since selling Resort Condominiums International for nearly $825 million in 1997, she’s made a concerted effort to share her wealth. The winner of IBJ’s 2001 Michael A. Carroll Award for community service, DeHaan has given away more than $100 million to support a number of causes, primarily in arts and education.
In 2002, DeHaan bought the former St. Maur Monastery in the city’s northwest side and is building an estate behind an enormous wall that sprawls alongside Michigan Road. The 176-acre property eventually will house a small gated community.
How DH Realty fits into the mix remains to be seen. Executive Steven Miller could not be reached before IBJ’s deadline, and DeHaan was out of the country.
For the short term, at least, expect smooth sailing at Lockerbie Marketplace.
“The buyer doesn’t intend to change anything with respect to the use of the property,” said Jon Owens, a principal in the Indianapolis office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, which manages and leases the center. “It was purchased as an investment.”
The property already has undergone some basic repairs and more improvements are slated for 2005.
“They’re pretty well on it, I’d say,” observed Steve Fusek, who opened Fusek’s True Value Hardware in Lockerbie Marketplace in June. “I hope they keep it up.”
Fusek hasn’t noticed much of a difference since the change in ownership, but he is encouraged that someone of DeHaan’s stature is involved with the center—which boasts 180,000 square feet of retail and office space on almost 4 acres.
“It’s good that someone interested in the overall well-being of Indianapolis would buy a key piece of property like this,” he said. “She’s not going to let it go down the tubes.”
Other observers agree.
“It’s good to have local ownership, especially someone who can come to the table with some resources,” said Terry Sweeney, vice president of real estate development at Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
So far, DH Realty has shown a commitment to the center and its tenants, he said, and the benefits of that extend far past its property lines.
“Having a hardware store and grocery store in a location people can walk to is something downtown needs,” Sweeney said, especially as the urban housing market continues to grow.
Garrison, who co-founded the company that developed Lockerbie Marketplace in the 1980s, said he doesn’t know much about the future of the property—just that the new owner is interested in what is happening in that part of downtown.
“They didn’t share their long-term plans,” he said.
He and his partners in Lockerbie Marketplace LLC based their decision on more immediate matters.
“We responded to the bids: Who had the best offer, how they were going to pay for the property,” Garrison said, verbally shrugging off the possibilities that come with a buyer with pockets as deep as DeHaan’s. “That wasn’t something that made a difference to us.”


Nov 8, 2004, 10:33 AM
Public buildings may go wireless
City negotiating with SBC, others to make Wi-Fi Internet service available next year.

By John Fritze
November 8, 2004

Wireless Internet access, already pervasive in other cities, could debut at top Indianapolis locations such as the airport and the Convention Center as early as next year.

Mayor Bart Peterson confirmed the city is negotiating with SBC Communications and others to provide the wireless service, known as Wi-Fi, in public buildings.

An agreement, which could come this spring, would move Indianapolis a step closer to joining the Wi-Fi frenzy hitting other cities from New York to Seattle.

Officials said they don't know which buildings and sites would be covered and what, if anything, the service would cost computer users.

But the Peterson administration acknowledged SBC has aggressively pushed its FreedomLink network, a subscriber-based service that costs $19.95 a month and is already in place elsewhere in Indiana.

Some computer users who link up with the city's hodgepodge of wireless Internet access points, known as "hot spots," said they would welcome a Wi-Fi expansion into public places. Some said they are wary of letting a single company dominate the market.

"Wireless just makes it that much easier," said Steven Kent Murphy, a 39-year-old musician who was surfing recently at Corner Coffee on 11th Street. "I'm not tied down to my home computer. I can work anywhere."

Wi-Fi already is a feature at many coffeehouses and college campuses and on Monument Circle. Antennas in laptop computers and personal digital assistants pick up the Wi-Fi signal, and the user can connect to the Internet to browse the World Wide Web or check e-mail without having to hook up a cable.

The city wants to expand Wi-Fi to municipal sites such as Indianapolis International Airport, which draws more than 7 million passengers a year, and City Market, a popular Downtown Indianapolis lunch spot.

"Once you have access to Wi-Fi, you want it everywhere you can get it," said SBC spokesman Mike Marker.

A report by Massachusetts-based Forrester Research found that only 9 percent of households in North America using the Internet have tried Wi-Fi.

Another firm, Gartner, expects 31 million Wi-Fi users by 2007, up from 4 million last year.

Parks are already "lit up" with access in New York and Austin. Libraries are wireless in Seattle, Memphis, Tenn., and Houston. Philadelphia is considering a $10 million project to spread wireless access throughout the city.

In most of those instances, access is free and equipment is maintained by nonprofit groups or private businesses. Large telecommunications companies such as SBC and T-Mobile also provide Wi-Fi, usually for a fee.

In some cities, users can access a patchwork of services and payment options at any given time.

"Nobody knows what the public hot spot business model is -- or if there is one," said Christian Sandvig, an assistant professor of speech communication at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "This area is very chaotic."

This summer, Evansville became the first Indiana city to bring Wi-Fi to large portions of its downtown after it made a deal with SBC that appears to be similar to what city officials are discussing here.

The agreement, like a cable franchise, allows SBC to install its antennas and network. The company charges users $19.95 a month, and a portion of that is spent on improving publ

Nov 8, 2004, 10:33 AM
Public buildings may go wireless
City negotiating with SBC, others to make Wi-Fi Internet service available next year.

By John Fritze
November 8, 2004

Wireless Internet access, already pervasive in other cities, could debut at top Indianapolis locations such as the airport and the Convention Center as early as next year.

Mayor Bart Peterson confirmed the city is negotiating with SBC Communications and others to provide the wireless service, known as Wi-Fi, in public buildings.

An agreement, which could come this spring, would move Indianapolis a step closer to joining the Wi-Fi frenzy hitting other cities from New York to Seattle.

Officials said they don't know which buildings and sites would be covered and what, if anything, the service would cost computer users.

But the Peterson administration acknowledged SBC has aggressively pushed its FreedomLink network, a subscriber-based service that costs $19.95 a month and is already in place elsewhere in Indiana.

Some computer users who link up with the city's hodgepodge of wireless Internet access points, known as "hot spots," said they would welcome a Wi-Fi expansion into public places. Some said they are wary of letting a single company dominate the market.

"Wireless just makes it that much easier," said Steven Kent Murphy, a 39-year-old musician who was surfing recently at Corner Coffee on 11th Street. "I'm not tied down to my home computer. I can work anywhere."

Wi-Fi already is a feature at many coffeehouses and college campuses and on Monument Circle. Antennas in laptop computers and personal digital assistants pick up the Wi-Fi signal, and the user can connect to the Internet to browse the World Wide Web or check e-mail without having to hook up a cable.

The city wants to expand Wi-Fi to municipal sites such as Indianapolis International Airport, which draws more than 7 million passengers a year, and City Market, a popular Downtown Indianapolis lunch spot.

"Once you have access to Wi-Fi, you want it everywhere you can get it," said SBC spokesman Mike Marker.

A report by Massachusetts-based Forrester Research found that only 9 percent of households in North America using the Internet have tried Wi-Fi.

Another firm, Gartner, expects 31 million Wi-Fi users by 2007, up from 4 million last year.

Parks are already "lit up" with access in New York and Austin. Libraries are wireless in Seattle, Memphis, Tenn., and Houston. Philadelphia is considering a $10 million project to spread wireless access throughout the city.

In most of those instances, access is free and equipment is maintained by nonprofit groups or private businesses. Large telecommunications companies such as SBC and T-Mobile also provide Wi-Fi, usually for a fee.

In some cities, users can access a patchwork of services and payment options at any given time.

"Nobody knows what the public hot spot business model is -- or if there is one," said Christian Sandvig, an assistant professor of speech communication at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "This area is very chaotic."

This summer, Evansville became the first Indiana city to bring Wi-Fi to large portions of its downtown after it made a deal with SBC that appears to be similar to what city officials are discussing here.

The agreement, like a cable franchise, allows SBC to install its antennas and network. The company charges users $19.95 a month, and a portion of that is spent on improving public technology. Monthly access fees are reduced to $1.99 if users purchase the company's DSL Internet service at home.

As part of the arrangement, though, the company attempts to secure exclusive rights with cities to offer Wi-Fi within reach of its antennas.

Dave Mockert, with the city's Information Services Agency, said Indianapolis would not agree to an exclusive arrangement.

Patrick Kiley, a French professor in Indianapolis who was using Wi-Fi at Corner Coffee to develop lesson plans, said he preferred wireless Internet in small doses.

"I have to put limits on how much I use it," said Kiley, 38. "I think it can make for workaholics."

Call Star reporter John Fritze at (317) 444-2752.

Nov 9, 2004, 1:56 PM
Land for new IndyGo hub closer to being obtained

The Capital Improvement Board on Monday moved a step closer to building a multimillion dollar IndyGo bus hub in Downtown Indianapolis.

The nine-member board agreed to partner with IndyGo to buy a 2.3-acre plot near the RCA Dome and develop the transit hub there. It likely will include stores and restaurants and would provide access to rapid transit lines in the future.

The board also authorized its lawyers to invoke eminent domain should the city and the property's owner fail to agree on a price. The property is registered under the Anthony M. Maio Trust, county tax records show. A lawyer for the owner has declined to identify his client.

So far, the city has offered about $2 million for the property, the estimated appraised value; the property owner wants about $7 million, board officials say.

Board Vice President Patrick J. Early abstained from Monday's votes, saying he has a personal relationship with the property owner, whom he did not identify.

Design, costs and a construction schedule have not been set.


Nov 9, 2004, 5:00 PM
It likely will include stores and restaurants and would provide access to rapid transit lines in the future.

Rapid transit lines....yes, like the sound of that. That's great news :)

Nov 15, 2004, 5:14 AM
Peterson can waltz into top spot

November 14, 2004

A statewide setback for Indiana Democrats could be a door-opening career opportunity for Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

Democrats lost the governor's race, the state House of Representatives and a seat in Congress. Sen. Evan Bayh won an overwhelming election victory against Republican Marvin Scott and is now a potential candidate for president or vice president in 2008.

That leaves Peterson as the top Democrat in the state. He would be the first person the party would look to in a race for the U.S. Senate or governor.

"He's the obvious leader at this point," says Batesville businessman John Hillenbrand, the 1980 Democratic nominee for governor. "Who else is there? I don't see anyone at this point that would have the attractiveness of Bart."

Peterson also offers more than the last Democrat standing after the Republican sweep on Election Day. As Democrats won three Marion County offices that day, the mayor gets credit for his party's increasing strength in the state's largest city. He's won two elections as mayor and gained a majority on the City-County Council in the 2003 election.

He also has projected a moderate-conservative image politically. He led an effort to keep violent video games away from schools, losing in the courts. He has embraced charter schools and gives out character awards on a regular basis. He understands the faith and values issues that hurt his party so badly at the national level this year.

Some Republicans speak well of him. Carmel developer Paul Estridge Jr. compares him favorably to Evan Bayh. Peterson was Bayh's chief of staff when Bayh was governor. "Bart runs like a moderate, conservative trustworthy guy," Estridge says. "He's a nice person. A lot of Republicans like Bart on a personal level."

Estridge suggests that being mayor could help Peterson, even though the office has been a handicap for his predecessors in seeking statewide office. "As mayor things don't break down along party lines totally," Estridge says. "He's executive officer of a city. Party line doesn't bleed through that much."

Traditionally an Indianapolis-based candidate has faced some stigma in statewide elections. Mayor Steve Goldsmith ran for governor in 1996 and lost to Democrat Frank O'Bannon in part because of controversies he faced as mayor. Mayor Bill Hudnut faced a similar problem in running for secretary of state in 1990, losing to Joe Hogsett in what Hudnut had hoped would be a launch into the 1992 governor's race.

But the Indianapolis stigma may be receding. It did not seem to hurt Mitch Daniels in his race for governor, but he ran a disciplined campaign of visiting all 92 Indiana counties at least twice in his RV.

Peterson's standing as a statewide candidate could be hindered by the city's budget problems, the cost of a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts and the success of his Indianapolis Works proposals for local government consolidation.

Peterson keeps track of the political calendar. He knows that every two years either a U.S. Senate election comes up, in 2006 and 2010, or the race for governor, in 2008.

He also doesn't want to overstay his welcome in the mayor's office. "I know I can't do it forever, and I know it wouldn't be good for the city if I did it forever," he says. "There's a history that the longer an administration is in office, the harder it is to keep an all-star team."

He won't rule out statewide races, but his primary focus is running for another term as mayor in 2007.

That focus keeps plenty of options open for him, as his party tries to figure out how to recover from the dominant Republican victory on Election Day.

Pulliam is associate editor of The Star. Contact him at (317) 444-6001 or via e-mail at russell.pulliam@indystar.com.

Nov 17, 2004, 9:54 AM
Indianapolis Lands New Food Distribution Center

INDIANAPOLIS - A new food product distribution center is coming to Indianapolis, providing evidence again of the city’s strength as a prime location for the logistics industry.

11/16/2004 2:29:58 PM

City leaders and business development officials today announced that Sataria Distribution & Packaging Inc. will occupy a new 600,000 square foot facility that will be built at 202 South Belmont St., an investment of $15 million. Site work has begun and the facility is expected to be operational by June, 2005. The company’s decision to locate in the city means 81 area jobs will be retained and 19 new jobs will be created, a 25 percent increase in the company’s local workforce.

“We’re very pleased that Sataria has chosen to expand its operations in our city. It just shows that in the shipping business, like real estate, location is everything,” said Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, noting that four major highways - Interstates 65, 69, 70 and 74 - intersect in Indianapolis.

The distribution center will be constructed and owned by Fitzgerald Financial LLC, a holding company for Sataria. The building will be dedicated to Ramona Fitzgerald Bober, the mother of one of the company owners.

Sataria is owned by John Jacobs, an Indianapolis resident for more than 32 years and a former teacher in the Indianapolis Public School system. Jacobs worked for 25 years for a large Indianapolis manufacturing company before starting Sataria in the summer of 2001.

“The definition of Sataria is it’s the Greek goddess of safety. Everything at Sataria is centered around our three core values which are safety, customer and team. That’s what has led Sataria to be successful in Indianapolis,” said Jacobs.

To assist the project, the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission approved an eight-year tax abatement on $14 million worth of real property for Sataria, providing a tax savings to the company of slightly more than $1 million.

Indianapolis Economic Development, a private, not-for-profit group that works to help local businesses expand their operations in Marion County, assisted in the site selection process and in getting the economic incentives for the company. IED is a part of The Indy Partnership, which serves as a catalyst for increased capital investment and job growth in the nine-county Indianapolis Region.

“The jobs retained and created by this expansion are a great example of how cooperation between the public and private sectors pays off for the community,” said IED Executive Director Jeb Conrad.

Also working on the project were Don Treibic and Fritz Kauffman of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker. CTMT helped Sataria find and purchase the 41-acre site on which the distribution center will be built.

“The site is rail accessible. It’s one of the few in-fill sites that’s rail accessible,” said Treibic, explaining that an in-fill site is one that is surrounded by existing structures – an urban location – unlike a site in an open rural setting.

When the new facility is up and running, food product will be shipped there, stored for a time, prepared for shipment and then sent to customers within the U.S. and overseas. Greenfield Builders is the contractor hired to construct the building and Huntington Bank provided financing for the project.

The new distribution center will be a headquarters for Sataria, which has operations now in Hendricks County and elsewhere in Indianapolis. Most of those facilities will be consolidated into the new 600,000 square foot location, which will be expandable by up to approximately 150,000 square feet.

For more information on Indianapolis Economic Development or The Indy Partnership, visit their websites: www.indianapoliseconomicdevelopment.com or www.indypartnershp.com.


Nov 17, 2004, 9:56 AM
Indianapolis Athletic Club to Become All Condos

Indianapolis, Indiana - The future of a downtown Indianapolis landmark has been secured. Principals of Hearthview Residential LLC today formally closed the acquisition of the Indianapolis Athletic Club, a nine-story, 200,000-square-foot structure located at 350 North Meridian Street. The purchase price agreed to last month by IAC membership is $3.2 million. National Bank of Indianapolis funded the acquisition.

11/16/2004 1:15:11 PM

According to Hearthview partner, Jim Thomas, “Our group has diligently pursued this project for more than a year. As a locally-based firm, we appreciated the historical significance of the IAC building. When the opportunity to give it an internal makeover and make it once again an essential fabric of downtown, we knew we had to pursue it. Much of the credit should go to the former membership of the IAC, who made a difficult decision for the greater good of the community.” IAC members voted October 4 to approve the sale and dissolve the club.

Originally envisioned as a 44-unit condominium project that would share the building with the IAC, Hearthview’s redevelopment, known simply as “Athletic Club,” has now expanded to include as many as 78 luxury condominiums, priced from $169,900 to more than $1 million. According to Thomas, 30 units have already been reserved. Construction on the project, provided by Carmel-based Hoosier Contracting, will begin within 30 days. The first units will be completed by fall of 2005. Hearthview expects to sell all units within 24 months.

Chris Reid, also a Hearthview partner, calls the project, “the future summit of urban living. Our residents will enjoy great views, a beautiful park just across Meridian Street, and superb on-site amenities including underground parking, a basketball court, weight and exercise room, and squash and racquetball courts.”

Hearthview principal Thomas adds that the discussions regarding affiliation with the Columbia Club have ended. Thomas says Hearthview will immediately begin marketing part of the first floor to upscale restaurateurs desiring visibility on North Meridian Street, easy access to thousands of downtown workers during the lunch hour, and more frequent diners who will reside within the building.

For additional buyer information visit the Hearthview website www.hearthview.com, or call Pamela Cook or Katie Smith at (317) 513.8478. All media calls should be directed to Ernie Reno at the number listed at the top of the first page of this release.

Nov 17, 2004, 11:58 AM
Expansion dooms Dome
Convention Center officials tout plan that would replace stadium

Billilynne Keller has been in the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome hundreds of times. For a week each September, she practically lives there.

But these days, she's seeing it differently.

More than a year after the Keller-led Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association decided to move its annual trade show out of tight quarters in Indianapolis, it's planning a comeback.

The massive CEDIA Expo will return to roomier digs in 2010 if city leaders succeed in adding 275,000 square feet to the convention center, razing the RCA dome to nearly double exhibit space. Association leaders were set to sign a multiyear commitment to Indianapolis midmonth, pledging to stay put through 2013.

"We're looking forward to leaving so we can come back," Keller told IBJ with a laugh. "We didn't want to leave, but we had no choice. We've been turning exhibitors away."

The Indianapolis-based organization is moving its expo to Denver for three years beginning in 2006 and will spend a year in Atlanta before coming home. But officials can reconsider if the project isn't on track in 2008.

Keller has high hopes.

"We've given our commitment. Now we're looking forward to Indianapolis giving theirs," she said.

She was scheduled to visit the convention center complex again Nov. 15, and expected to tour the RCA Dome to take a fresh look--and assess how the space will work when the stadium is gone.

"It will be interesting," she mused, "to get an idea of how much better it will be."

Arranging the walk-through for CEDIA leaders made sense, said Fred Glass, president of the county's Capital Improvement Board, which owns the convention center and dome, and has been studying an expansion for years.

Final designs are still a long way off, but the location is a foregone conclusion.

"I think the dome is it," Glass said, citing the likely cost of an alternative site.

So why not give a sneak peek to one of the center's biggest customers?

"I'm not sure they'll be able to pick out booth space yet, but they will get a feel for how connected it will be," he said. "It will help cement our relationship."

The CEDIA show is one of the city's largest annual events, attracting 24,000 attendees who spend $22 million. It was the first major event to announce plans to leave because of the space crunch, and the second to say it will return.

Last month, Laguna Beach, Calif.-based Performance Racing Industry agreed to return for four years beginning in December 2010 as long as the convention center is expanded. Luring PRI back means recapturing the $26 million its 40,000 attendees spend in the Circle City each year.

More important, Glass said, it sends a message to other groups.

"They become ambassadors for Indianapolis," he said. "CEDIA and PRI are actually demonstrating in the marketplace that if we build it, they will come."

Building a case

Together, the two trade shows could generate nearly $200 million in visitor spending during their four-year commitments. And the new business that is expected to flock to a larger center could spur another $165 million each year, according to estimates included in a 2004 feasibility study.

That's all ammunition CIB can use to rally support for the project, which includes a replacement for the RCA Dome.

With costs expected to exceed $700 million, some of the funding likely will come from higher hospitality taxes. That would require legislative approval, and CIB may seek other public support, too.

Before rate increases, a larger convention center would produce $8.6 million in newstate tax revenue each year, the feasibility study said. Glass told CIB members Nov. 8 that any request would be less than that.

Proponents have been building the case for years, warning of the potential for lost convention business even as they studied ways to expand the landlocked facility.

As the need became more obvious, so did the site of the expansion.

After months of study, CIB settled on two possibilities: the RCA Dome parcel and property to the northwest now occupied by a state parking garage and, across West Street, a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant.

Glass said the northwest option has lost appeal. Among the biggest hurdles: the price. Expanding on the site of the dome is expected to cost $250 million; Plan B was more than twice that.

"With that kind of difference, I'm not sure the numbers work," Glass said.

Making it work

Tearing down the dome would mean finding another home for the events held there now, but a new venue may have been in the cards anyway given the city's talks with the Indianapolis Colts and the NCAA's dissatisfaction with the 21-year-old facility as a site for its Final Four.

Still, the case for support of a $450 million retractable-roof stadium--officially a "multi-use venue"--is still coming together.

Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is studying the Colts' impact on the city and state, comparing the status quo to a scenario that includes a new venue. Results are expected later this month.

Glass expects to see numbers "well north" of the $72 million different consultants estimated in 1996, due in part to the team's success.

A new venue can't hurt, he said, and may help the Colts--and the city.

Under terms of a 1998 contract, the Colts could leave Indianapolis after the 2006 season if the team's revenue has not matched the league median for two of the past three years. Unless the city makes up the eight-figure difference.

City and team leaders have been working on an agreement behind closed doors, but Glass told CIB members a new venue would boost revenue.

"It may be the single tool in the toolbox," he said. "It's where you generate revenue the NFL lets you keep."

Twenty-three of the 31 NFL cities have built or substantially remodeled their stadiums since the dome was erected in 1983, Glass said, which is raising the bar.

"That median revenue just keeps going up," he said.

Then there's the potential--if not likelihood--of an Indianapolis Super Bowl that would follow a stadium project, a one-time boost of $150 million or more.

And let's not let football overshadow basketball. This is Indiana, after all.

Indianapolis-based NCAA has agreed to stay put for the long haul and keep its hometown in a regular rotation for college basketball tournaments, as long as the dome is replaced or improved. Having the NCAA here has an economic impact of $65 million a year, Glass said, not counting the $30 million fans attending the Final Four spend.

Glass is an attorney, not an accountant, but the steady stream of numbers he spouts when talking about the project isn't surprising. Proponents have work ahead of them before legislators convene in January.

"Those kind of numbers are important in two ways," he said. "First, they help us make a decision about whether the cost/benefit makes sense. We are talking about a huge investment, and we need to really understand what we're buying for that.

"And it certainly will be part of the case we make."

Hospitality consultant Rob Hunden approves of the approach.

"They have to make the case; they should put it all together," said Hunden, of Chicago-based Johnson Consulting. "But it needs to be bulletproof, because there are always people out there ready to pick it apart."

He should know.

Before joining Johnson in 2000, Hunden worked for the Indianapolis Bond Bank, managing projects that included a previous convention center expansion and RCA Dome renovation.

Hunden has little doubt the proposed project will be successful.

"Indianapolis has had a great track record," he said. "They always have known what they need and then go after it. Somehow, it always gets done."


Nov 21, 2004, 10:37 PM
I was going into Circle Centre, and I noticed this (sorry for the poor quality).


Any idea what this is?

Nov 22, 2004, 2:27 AM
I was going into Circle Centre, and I noticed this (sorry for the poor quality).

Any idea what this is?

looks like a parking garage

Amazing Indy
Nov 22, 2004, 7:43 AM
^ A very ugly looking one at that.

Amazing Indy
Nov 28, 2004, 1:50 PM
Indiana Avenue revival planned
Group is hoping to showcase district's black history, draw new clubs, businesses.

By Eunice Trotter
November 28, 2004

In its glory days, Indiana Avenue was a hot spot for live jazz and blues, good food and black-owned businesses.

A group headed by the nine-member Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission wants to re-create those days.

The commission recently approved a plan to make the area on the north side of Downtown Indianapolis a tourist attraction that will showcase black history and culture.

The plan details the district's assets, strengths, challenges, priorities and key strategies and calls for people to live and work in the area but does not identify funding. The area is one of six cultural districts in Indianapolis.

"We want to make it a destination, not only for visitors, but for the community," said Dorothy J. Jones, president of BOS Community Development Corp. (formerly Business Opportunities Systems), which is working with about 50 people to collect ideas about the plan.

Among the assets to be tapped is Madame Walker Theatre Center, with its 900-seat theater originally built for vaudeville and silent movies. Under the plan, it will receive a face-lift.

The group intends to attract soul food restaurants and nightclubs back to the area, but that could be difficult because there's little property available.

Most of the open land, now used as parking lots, belongs to One America, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the state, said Jones and Owen Brant, owner of Bourbon Street Distillery at 361 Indiana Ave. Brant owns the property formerly known as Scotty's Lounge, a black-owned business until the 1970s.

"We're kind of lonesome here, and we certainly welcome more business here," Brant said.

The plan calls for tours to take visitors to the area's 31 historical sites, including Crispus Attucks Museum, Bethel AME Church, Lockefield Gardens and Ransom Place -- the first black neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The goal is to breathe life into the area to attract people there. Events, including festivals and concerts, will help, according to the plan. Officials also are discussing strategies that will encourage businesses to relocate there.

Another of the plan's features is an elevated walkway that will allow increased pedestrian traffic along West Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

The district recently received a $63,750 grant to continue planning improvements, but because the Indiana Avenue district was created recently, Jones said, it has to catch up quickly with work already taking place in the city's other cultural districts. All six districts will roll out their final plans early next year.

Other cultural districts are Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, Historic Canal Walk/White River State Park, Massachusetts Avenue and The Wholesale District, which includes Monument Circle.

Creation of the Indiana Avenue cultural district is part of a $10 million, five-year effort to support culture while spiking the Indianapolis economy. Funding sources include the city's Capital Improvement Board and Lilly Endowment.

Planning meeting
The planning group's next meeting is at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Center Township Healthplex on West 11th Street. The public is welcome. For more information, go to www.culturalindy.org.

Amazing Indy
Dec 1, 2004, 6:17 AM
A high-rise condominium tower proposed for the former Market Square Arena site may be put on hold because of lagging sales, officials involved with the project said today.

Developers responsible for the 29-story, $140 million project have asked for more time to sell the first 100 units -- a threshold they must meet before breaking ground. So far, 41 condos have been sold.

Market Square Partners was not expected to meet the Dec. 11 deadline to sell those units, so the group of developers asked for an indefinite extension. The completed project would have 400 units.

Mayor Bart Peterson dismissed concerns that the delay is a bad sign for the project, which is among the most expensive planned for Downtown Indianapolis.

"I'm impressed with their commitment to getting it done, which I think is very strong," Peterson said. "I feel good about this thing getting done."

An extension has not yet been granted, only requested, and neither Peterson nor developers would guess at a new timeline.

Mike Comparato, who as project director was the public face of the proposal, is no longer directly involved. Comparato did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Sales began Sept. 1 and have slowed in recent weeks. Selling the remaining 59 units in December would be difficult because of the holidays, said Don Currise, with Market Square Partners.

Developers are now redesigning units -- adding floor space and balconies -- to spur sales. Most units cost from $300,000 to $400,000, and potential buyers must pay a 10 percent nonrefundable deposit.

"As we retool the building, it's just taking us a longer period of time," Currise said. "We just want to make sure that we do it right."

Market Square Partners includes Smoot Construction and William Shrewsberry, a former deputy mayor under Peterson.

Peterson has said taxpayers are protected, even if the project doesn't come to fruition. Developers received no financial incentives and made a $1 million payment to the city for low-income housing.

That nonrefundable investment, Peterson said, is one reason the developers are determined to see the project through.

"They've put a huge commitment into this," the mayor said. "They've committed to doing what it takes to deliver what was promised to the city."

The plan ultimately calls for two towers and several thousand square feet of retail space.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:12 AM
ATA will add three Indiana cities

Star report
November 30, 2004

ATA Airlines today announced new service between Indianapolis and three other Indiana cities.

Tickets go on sale today for the services scheduled to start on Jan. 11, the Indianapolis-based airline said in a press release.

ATA is introducing nonstop service between Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Indianapolis.

Additionally, ATA will also offer new nonstop service between Dayton, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. ATA will be adding a total of five new nonstop markets to/from Indianapolis via its ATA Connection subsidiary, featuring 34-seat SAAB turboprop aircraft.

ATA will also offer additional nonstop service from Indianapolis to Orlando and Las Vegas.

ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 26 after losing $120.9 million through September. ATA plans to regroup as a regional carrier focused on Indianapolis.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:15 AM
Celadon now positioned for road ahead

Thriving truck firm may benefit from U.S. border rules change

Celadon Group

• Business: A truck carrier transporting cargo through the United States, Canada and Mexico. Has about 2,700 tractors and 7,100 trailers.
• Headquarters: 9503 E. 33rd St., Indianapolis
• Net sales for fiscal 2004: $398 million
• Net loss for fiscal 2004: $280,000
• Net profit for quarter ended Sept. 30: $2.75 million, up from a loss of $5.54 million during the same period a year ago.
• Subsidiaries: Celadon Canada, Kitchener, Ontario; Jaguar, Mexico City; TruckersB2B; Celadon Dedicated Services (formerly Zipp Logistics); Celadon East, a joint venture providing truckload service into Iraq from Kuwait.
• Employees: 3,200 (463 based in Indiana)
Source: Celadon, Bloomberg News

Steve Russell
• Age: 64.
• Position: Founder, chairman and chief executive officer of truckload carrier Celadon.
• Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Residence: Carmel.
• Education: Bachelor's degree in mathematics and MBA in finance and marketing, Cornell University.
• Board memberships: Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Eiteljorg Museum, American Heart Association, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Truckload Carriers Association, American Trucking Associations.
• Personal: Married; three children; 10 grandchildren.
• Hobbies: Collecting art, jogging.

By David Woods
November 29, 2004

As a high school chess player in New York City, Steve Russell learned a strategy that has helped him in business.

"I have always had an ability to look three or four moves ahead," said Russell. "And that's the trucking industry."

Forward thinking has allowed Celadon Group Inc., the Indianapolis-based truckload carrier Russell founded nearly two decades ago, to grow, innovate -- and survive. Recent moves have enabled the nonunion trucking company to thrive after a series of missteps in the late 1990s cost the firm by reducing its share price and profits.

A new management team, an improved safety record, key acquisitions and diversified client list are credited for the turnaround.

Celadon has become one of the nation's 15 largest truckload carriers and calls itself the largest international carrier in North America. It has subsidiaries in Kitchener, Ontario, and Mexico City.

Forty percent of Celadon's business starts or finishes in Mexico. Since it was established in 1985, the company has transported automotive parts between the United States and Mexico for automaker DaimlerChrysler, which for years was its largest customer.

Indianapolis was chosen as a headquarters strictly because it is a crossroads and the only major U.S. city with four interstate highways (I-65, I-69, I-70 and I-74). Russell chose the name "Celadon" -- which is a green-glaze pottery -- because it once was identified as the most pleasant-sounding word in the English language.

Russell, 64, a native New Yorker, was never a trucker himself. Leadership roles in other companies provided a background in transportation and freight, and the lure of starting his own business was irresistible.

He said the turning point in his life came when he enrolled at Stuyvesant High School. He rode the subway from Brooklyn to the Manhattan public school, which admits about one in 20 applicants.

The Stuyvesant education laid a foundation for all that followed. He earned degrees from Cornell University in mathematics and finance, and he has served as an executive in firms such as Ford Motor Co. and RCA Corp.

With Celadon, he has looked ahead from the beginning.

"Steve is the idea guy. He is the finance guy," said company President Tom Glaser. "He has always thought outside of the box."

In 1991, Celadon was one of the first carriers to install a satellite-based tracking system in its trucks. To conserve fuel, trucks have throttles set so speeds cannot exceed 68 mph.

Celadon established its TruckersB2B division as a membership program providing pre-negotiated savings to small- and medium-sized trucking companies.

These innovations have helped boost the company's bottom line. But Celadon's rise has not been a steady one.

In 1999, the company received a conditional citation from the Department of Transportation for a poor safety record. That is "almost the death knell of a trucking company," conceded Glaser.

About four years ago, the company's stock fell nearly 90 percent, to below $3 a share. High fuel and maintenance costs, a failed management buyout and rejection of three low buyout offers contributed to the slide. Debts exceeded assets. If the company wasn't about to go under, it was close, said Glaser, who joined Celadon in May 2001.

"I think they've done a very good job of turning the company around," said Michael LaTronica of Excalibur Research. "The No. 1 factor is they've really beefed up their management team."

The management team features Glaser, 54, and Chief Financial Officer Paul Will, 38. Russell, the chairman and CEO, handed over the title of president to Glaser on Oct. 28. And he acknowledged Glaser and Will are more attentive to day-to-day details.

Celadon's share price has risen to $22, as of Friday's close of Nasdaq trading. That's a 54 percent increase from a year ago. Celadon posted a $2.75 million profit in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared with a $5.54 million loss a year earlier.

Analysts expect the company's growth to continue. A Thomson First Call survey of analysts projected Celadon's fiscal 2005 earnings to rise 38 percent to $1.09 a share. They see profit gaining 23 percent to $1.34 a share in fiscal 2006.

The dominant force remains Russell, who roams the main building of a 30-acre Eastside complex to speak to employees. He earned a 2003 salary of $568,264 and received a bonus of $270,000. He owns 6.6 percent of Celadon's shares, a stake worth more than $13 million.

Russell's interest in art extends to the paintings and sculptures that decorate the grounds.

"The charisma he has is the culture that permeates the building," Glaser said.

Russell's mother died when he was 6, contributing to his view of the world.

"All God gave you in life was time. And the worst thing you can do is waste it," Russell said. "Be passionate about what you do, and use every minute God gave you."

Under his leadership, Celadon has changed not only in management but also in safety, acquisitions and customers.

Safety improvements resulted in a series of awards, including one in 2001 for carriers exceeding 100 million miles. Celadon was the first U.S.-based carrier running in Mexico to receive a satisfactory rating from the DOT.

Celadon's driver turnover rate is 70 percent, compared with an annual industry average of 115 percent, according to LaTronica. Celadon's rate is low because it gets the driver home quickly and provides good equipment, he said.

"The key in the industry is he who has the drivers will win," Russell said in a recent televised interview on CNBC.

Another winning strategy has been acquisitions.

The action that jump-started the company, according to Glaser, was the 2002 purchase of Burlington Motor Carriers of Daleville, Ind. That gave Celadon new customers such as Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble. A 2003 acquisition, Highway Express of Richmond, Va., added Philip Morris.

In its early years, Celadon depended on Chrysler and General Electric for more than half its business. That client list has widened to include 3M, IBM, Honda and Bridgestone/Firestone.

Jim McFadden, a distribution manager for Bridgestone/Firestone, said a tire company is a demanding customer because late deliveries can shut down an automaking plant. Celadon "understands that segment of the business," he said.

Russell said business would be better if Indiana adopts daylight-saving time.

He said businesses outside the state are confused about what time it is in Indiana. Citing a study from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, Russell said that has caused Indiana to fall behind neighboring states in transportation.

Russell favors year-round alignment with the Central time zone

Another development that could boost Celadon is the opening of the Mexican border to cross-border trucking, expected early next year.

"That's enormous for them, in my opinion," said analyst LaTronica.

The policy would permit Mexican trucks, which since 1982 have been limited to 20 miles north of the border, to transport freight across the United States.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1992, was supposed to liberalize access for cross-border truck services. Industry analysts said certification of Mexican drivers and trucks was put off so the policy would not be an election issue.

Such a change could give Celadon an advantage over unionized competitors such as Yellow Roadway Corp., based in Overland Park, Kan. Celadon could profit by hiring lower-paid Mexican drivers on U.S. roads.

Unions fear the move will take jobs away from Americans.

"This is another example of the (Bush) administration taking jobs and exporting them overseas," said Teamsters spokesman Galen Munroe.

Celadon countered that there is such a driver shortage that no U.S. jobs would be affected.

"We'd hire every qualified American driver we could if we had them right now," Russell said.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:20 AM
Expo looking for new leader

Group searching nationwide to find a successor to the Rev. Charles Williams.

By Diana Penner
November 30, 2004

Indiana Black Expo has launched what might be its most ambitious endeavor yet in its 35-year history: hiring a successor to its longtime president, the Rev. Charles Williams, who died in July and whose name was synonymous with the organization.

Williams, 56 when he died after a two-year battle with prostate cancer, became Expo's president in 1983. In his 21 years as the head of Expo, he moved the organization from debt-ridden to national prominence. He parlayed a lifetime of political, social, religious, sport, business and social contacts into a network that allowed Expo to draw upon local and national celebrities -- and made Williams one himself.

No one immediately can replace Williams, said Carolyn Mosby-Williams, chairwoman of Indiana Black Expo's board of directors. But the organization needs a president.

It launched a nationwide search Nov. 15 and will accept applications through Dec. 17. Five applications already have been received -- not all of them local -- but Mosby-Williams said the names of all applicants will be kept confidential. She declined to say whether interim President Joyce Rogers, who was tapped by Williams, is among those candidates.

Mosby-Williams, who is not related to Williams, said the board hopes to have a new president in place by about mid-January, when a strategic planning retreat is scheduled.

"People have asked me, 'How are we going to replace Rev. Williams,' " she said. "Well, we would be stupid to try."

What Expo needs, she said, is someone who is a proven leader, who can motivate others, who will be the organization's chief fund-raiser and who can mingle with and command the attention of community leaders as well as regular folks.

That, said the Rev. Thomas Brown, pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and a longtime friend and colleague of Williams, is a tough job description.

The president of Expo must have a blend of managerial skills and charisma, he said. Williams, who Brown described as "a Don King -- in a positive way, in social programming and motivation," had that mix.

Because Williams left such an indelible mark on Expo, the organization and the community must give his successor a fair chance.

"Oh, definitely so. There's no question about it," he said.

Mosby-Williams said the decision to have a national search grew out of the impact Expo has developed. The two major events with which it is associated -- Summer Celebration in July and the Circle City Classic football showdown -- draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to Indianapolis.

"Our influence is national," she noted, "and we wanted to do a search of our full audience."

A nine-member search committee will recommend a candidate to the full board, which makes the final decision.

She declined to cite a salary range being offered but said it is commensurate with the salaries of the top officers of nonprofit organizations the size of Expo. According to federal tax documents, Williams' salary in 2003 was about $93,000.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:22 AM
Indy Archdiocese back in the black

By Robert King
November 29, 2004

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been running in the red for so long that signs of financial hope are being greeted with caution.

But the indications are clear: The church is operating on a balanced budget for the first time since at least 1997.

"We're being modest right now," Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein said. "We don't want to celebrate until we see it recurring."

The church is emerging from a seven-year stretch that saw it run deficits of as much as $2 million a year, when it had to pull cash from a savings account used by parishes. In all, the archdiocese borrowed more than $6.7 million from the fund.

The savings account still has $27.5 million, said Jeff Stumpf, the church's chief financial officer, and local parishes were not adversely affected by the withdrawals. He said the archdiocese intends to pay that money back with interest.

Several dioceses around the country have seen their financial health imperiled by the clergy sex abuse scandal, but the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has never made an abuse-related settlement; nine lawsuits based on abuse claims are pending.

Instead, church leaders say, their money problems are a result of rising expenses.

Health care costs for church employees rose 25 percent or more for several years in a row.

Property insurance costs rose 80 percent in the year following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

And subsidizing the 10 parishes -- out of 150 in the archdiocese -- that lose money continues to cost the archdiocese $1 million a year.

In response, the church moved the 1,500 employees on its health plan to an HMO -- and saved $2 million a year. Leaders raised the deductible on property insurance from $50,000 per event to $500,000, and saved $1.1 million a year in premiums.

And, more painfully, the church eliminated 50 of the 180 staff jobs in the archdiocesan office over a five-year period.

The staff cuts, in particular, forced local parishes and schools to get more creative in how they do business.

At Holy Cross Central School on the Near Eastside, Principal Terri Rodriguez has been forced to learn more about finances and lean more on volunteers since the archdiocese eliminated parish financial consultants.

Now, a new consortium of the seven "center city" Catholic schools are pooling resources, from bookkeepers to finance directors. They are even looking at sharing contracts for garbage service pickup.

The fast-growing Diocese of Lafayette -- which begins north of 96th Street and is home to a surging number of Catholics -- has stayed in the black in recent years without reductions in forces or other drastic measures.

But the Archdiocese of Indianapolis -- which covers 39 counties down to the Ohio River -- will continue to study ways to streamline operations and consolidate costs.

A report on that effort is due in January. But Buechlein said he expects more modest tips on improving efficiency are likelier than the elimination of parishes.

"We're not interested in closings," he said.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:23 AM
Romanians cast votes from Indy

Local business is certified as a polling place for the faraway election, thanks to its owner.

By Kevin O'Neal
November 29, 2004

Sunday motorists on Binford Boulevard didn't know they were passing a polling place for the second-hottest election in Eastern Europe this month.

Not as disputed as the Ukrainian election, but just as closely contested, was Sunday's balloting for president and the Senate in Romania. It was the third free election in the former communist-controlled country, and the first in which Romanian citizens living abroad could vote.

That's why John D. Serban, a first-generation American of Romanian descent -- and the honorary consul to Romania from Indiana -- set up the polling place in the lobby of his Northeastside business.

"I wanted to do anything I could do to help," Serban said, noting that he has more relatives in Romania than in the United States and adopted a son from that country.

That polling place, at Concrete Surgeons, 5767 Park Plaza Court, resembled a paper ballot precinct in an Indiana election, except the ballots and registration forms were in Romanian.

"It's an opportunity for all Romanians from abroad to cast their ballot," said Dorian Mihai, a political counselor from the Romanian Embassy in Washington who was sent to Indianapolis to run the polling place.

Had Serban's office not been declared a polling place, voters would have faced a trip to consulates in Chicago or Detroit. Indianapolis attracted voters from Louisville and Lexington, Ky., Cincinnati and Lafayette.

One of those voters was Ioana Moldovan, of Bucharest, a graduate student at Indiana University who traveled from Bloomington to spend the few minutes it took for her to cast her ballot. "It's important to vote," she said after filling out her ballot.

Before voting, she had to present her Romanian passport; that passport then was stamped to show she had cast a ballot. The ballot went into a box to be counted when the poll closed at 9 p.m. Sunday, at which time the totals would be faxed to the embassy in Washington.

In all, 55 voters cast ballots in Indianapolis on Sunday, but local results were not available.

The process looked like a U.S. election, but the objectives differed. While Hoosiers vote for individual candidates in the General Assembly, for example, Romanians have a parliamentary system. They voted for political parties in their Senate election, with the winning party slates awarded Senate seats in proportion to the overall party vote.

Romania's prime minister is selected by the president from a list of candidates submitted by the parliament. The Senate is one of two bodies that make up the Romanian parliament; the other is the Chamber of Deputies.

Indianapolis turnout was light as the polls opened at 7 a.m. Sunday; about 30 people had voted by 2 p.m. local time, when polls in Romania closed.

Sunday night, according to The Associated Press, there was no clear winner between Adrian Nastase, current prime minister and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, and Traian Basescu, mayor of Bucharest and candidate of the Justice and Truth Alliance. That will force a runoff Dec. 12

The polls also showed no party won a majority in the parliamentary election that would enable it to form a government by itself.

The Romanian constitution lets citizens anywhere in the world vote in national elections.

"You have the human factor -- you want to keep in touch with what's going on back home," Mihai said. "And this is a good way to meet Romanians we didn't know."

Involvement by Romanians overseas could have been considered a threat in the communist era under former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, but Romania has turned westward since Ceausescu was overthrown and killed in 1989. Romania has sent troops to support the U.S. effort in Iraq and wants to join the European Union.

"The Romanian people have always been very pro-American, more than anyone else in the area," Serban said.

Dec 1, 2004, 7:27 AM
Indy's city flag ranked 8th best in country

November 28, 2004

A new survey has ranked Indianapolis' city flag as eighth best in the country, while Fort Wayne's flag came in at No. 52.

The North American Vexillological Association, which studies flags, says the best city flags are distinctive, using meaningful symbolism and basic colors without writing or seals.

Ted Kaye, who organized the association's survey of 150 city flags, said Fort Wayne's flag could be in the top 20 with a few changes.

"Inside every bad flag is a good flag trying to get out," Kaye said.

The Indianapolis flag features a white cross with a circle at the intersection to symbolize the city's center and a red circle with a star in the center of the flag. It was ranked No. 8, right ahead of Louisville, Ky., and after Portland, Ore.

Fort Wayne's No. 52 ranking was ahead of Rochester, N.Y., and behind Salem, Ore.

The flag features a sideways white "Y" on a blue background to symbolize the confluence of three rivers. It includes an Indian head to represent the Miami Indians, who originally inhabited the area; a fleur-de-lis to represent the French trading post Fort Miami; and a lion to symbolize the British, who held the site briefly in the 1700s.

In the center is the image of part of an old fort, a symbol widely and clearly linked to the city, Kaye said.

He said the city should take advantage of the symbol by making the flag's fort larger and eliminating the phrase "Fort Wayne Indiana 1794."

Dec 1, 2004, 7:29 AM
Circle of lights
Spectacular sight
Thousands jam Circle for festivities

By Staci Hupp
November 27, 2004

Tens of thousands of spectators, some shivering in the cold, gasped and cheered as they watched Monument Circle take on a holiday glow -- the official sign that Santa Claus is comin' to town.

The annual Circle of Lights, with the thousands of colored light bulbs strung in the shape of a tree from the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, is an Indianapolis tradition.

The main thing that has changed in 42 years, some say, is the size of the crowd.

Downtown Indianapolis looked a bit like New York City's Times Square on New Year's Eve, with hordes of people who waited for a countdown to the lights.

"I think it's gotten much larger," said Liz Vance-Miller, who watched with her 18-month-old daughter, MacKenna. "It's just so awesome to see the world's largest Christmas tree."

Crowds from two other Downtown events set the stage for a traffic snarl, but up to 40 police officers kept traffic in check.

The Class 2A state football finals kicked off at the RCA Dome on Friday night, and basketball fans arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse for the Pacers' battle with Charlotte just minutes before the Monument Circle "tree" lit up.

Police reported occasional gridlocks, but traffic inched along, said Indianapolis Police Department Officer John Ferguson.

Lisa Steddenbenz's car inched along so slowly that the Plainfield mother and her son missed those precious few seconds when the lights flicker on and thousands of people cheer.

Steddenbenz's 5-year-old son, Justin, wasn't disappointed. After all, he pulled Santa Claus aside after the ceremony to share his Christmas list.

"I really like Santa," Justin told his mother after they bid St. Nick farewell.

The prelude to the holiday event looked like a winter version of the Indiana State Fair. Toddlers perched on their fathers' shoulders, vendors sold hot dogs and Hoosier musicians performed on stage, including Grammy award-winning gospel singer Sandi Patty.

A 9-year-old girl from Fortville claimed the best spot at Monument Circle.

With Santa Claus and Mayor Bart Peterson at her side, third-grader Haley Forth flipped the light switch.

Haley earned the coveted job with her win in the annual Circle of Lights ornament-coloring contest.

Her mother, Linda Forth, said her daughter was so excited that "she wants me to case her picture in glass so no one can touch it."

The girl's mother didn't warn her how important the job was -- Linda Forth didn't want to overwhelm her shy daughter -- but Haley wasn't fazed.

"I'm glad I did it," she said with a smile. "It was fun."

Quality Connection and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 481, two groups that represent area electrical workers, sponsored the Circle of Lights. The groups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the event, which they call their gift to the community.

The Circle of Lights takes on special significance for about 200 electrical workers who string up the lights each year. Many of them, including Sean Seyferth, remember watching their fathers set up the holiday event.

"What's neat about it is, it's turned into a family tradition for our members," said Seyferth, 35, a business representative for Local 481. "For our members, you know that the holidays are here when you're down on the Circle."


Dec 1, 2004, 7:34 AM
Anthem finishes WellPoint deal

By Jeff Swiatek
November 30, 2004

Anthem Inc. announced the completion of its $18 billion acquisition of WellPoint Health Networks today after winning regulatory approval of the merger from Georgia earlier in the day.

The companies moved quickly to finalize their merger, which was 13 months in the making. Indianapolis-based Anthem said it has changed its name to WellPoint Inc., as planned, and its stock will start trading under the WLP ticker on Wednesday morning.

"This merger creates the nation's leading health benefits company and provides us the opportunity to offer more value to our members, employers, physicians and hospitals," said Larry C. Glasscock, who was president and chief executive officer of Anthem and assumes the same titles in the new WellPoint.

The merged WellPoint Inc. now serves approximately 28 million medical members through its Blue Cross or Blue Cross and Blue Shield operations in 13 states and its non-Blue branded operations in other states. The company, which will be based on Monument Circle in Indianapolis, has over 38,000 employees nationwide.

"This merger is a great strategic and geographic fit," said Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman of WellPoint Inc.'s board of directors. "It will benefit our members and bring together unmatched resources to drive innovation in health care."

Under the terms of the agreement, WellPoint Health Networks stockholders will receive $23.80 in cash and one share of Anthem common stock for each WellPoint share.

In order to win Georgia's re-approval of its acquisition of WellPoint Health Networks, Anthem Inc. has agreed to spend $126 million on health care for the poor in Georgia.

Georgia's insurance commissioner, John Oxendine, announced the deal today in a news conference at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The deal, signed Monday night, is the second financial incentives package that Indianapolis-based Anthem has fashioned with a state to land regulatory approvals of its $18 billion takeover of WellPoint. The merger, which will create the nation's largest health benefits firm, now appears close to being finalized.

Oxendine insisted on re-approving the merger after California's insurance commissioner negotiated a $265 million package from Anthem earlier this month that will benefit California. Oxendine gave initial approval to the merger on June 8, but later said the California incentives changed the conditions of the merger and required him to review it again.

The Georgia package includes $11.5 million in cash, $15 million in health claims reimbursements over three years and $100 million in investments over 20 years, Oxendine said.

The money will go to build, maintain and expand a network of health clinics in Georgia to serve the rural poor. The clinics will be linked to 40 hospitals in the state that will provide diagnostic and other services, Oxendine said.

"It's the largest rollout of a telemedicine network in the United States," Oxendine said.

The money from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Georgia, which Anthem will own when it buys WellPoint, will pay for 36 clinics and medical equipment.

About 3.1 million Georgians are enrolled in a WellPoint health benefits plan. Georgia will have the second largest enrollment among the 13 states where the combined Anthem-WellPoint system sells Blue Cross and Blue Shield policies. California, where WellPoint is based, has the largest membership, with about 7 million people covered by a WellPoint health plan.

Dec 1, 2004, 10:12 PM
ATA is introducing nonstop service between Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Indianapolis.

About damn time. Hopefully it will get cars off of 31, although probably not enough to make too much of a difference. But definatley good news for the South Bend airport, since it's lost two airlines just recently.

Amazing Indy
Dec 2, 2004, 3:55 PM
Northwest Airlines taxied deeper into struggling ATA Airlines' turf Wednesday, announcing plans to add nonstop flights from Indianapolis to Dallas/Fort Worth and Kansas City and some weekend service to Florida.

The additions mark the fourth time in five months that Northwest has expanded service from Indianapolis as the airline seeks to add Midwestern routes and solidify its new title as the busiest airline in Indianapolis.

Northwest's announcement also comes just a day after Indianapolis-based ATA, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection, declared its intention to add flights to several cities in Indiana and the Midwest.

Northwest's latest expansion will add two flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and three to Kansas City starting in mid-February. It also will add weekend flights to Sarasota and West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Florida service will run from February through May.

With the added flights, Northwest will have 51 departures to 20 destinations out of Indianapolis International Airport -- more flights or stops than any other carrier. The airline supplanted ATA as the airport's largest carrier in late October.

Analysts say Northwest has gained a reputation within industry circles of fiercely defending its routes and pursuing the markets of ailing airlines. The Minneapolis-based airline raised eyebrows among some earlier this year when it aggressively added flights in Wisconsin and Grand Rapids, Mich., partly as a response to the lingering financial troubles of Milwaukee-based Midwest Express.

Experts have said a similar skirmish may be developing between Northwest and ATA, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October and is seeking to shed assets to avoid insolvency.

In July, Northwest announced the addition of 19 Indianapolis flights a day after ATA officials said they would add six flights. Both airlines' extra flights marked the airport's largest service expansion in more than a decade.

Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch dismissed talk of an escalating route war between Northwest and ATA, saying the added flights are part of a broader plan by the airline developed in 2001 to marshal its resources and bolster service in the Midwest.

He added that none of the Northwest routes announced Wednesday overlaps with the ATA's flights unveiled this week.

"The timing is purely coincidental," Ebenhoch said. "This is a market that we have identified as important to us. This has been in the works for some time."

Amazing Indy
Dec 2, 2004, 3:57 PM
City officials across the country say they are struggling with reductions in federal funding that once paid for after-school programs, police officers and homeless shelters.

And if more money does not flow from Washington, services will be cut or taxes could rise for the roughly 174 million people who live in cities and towns, the nation's mayors will argue today at the opening of the National League of Cities conference in Indianapolis.

According to a league survey of 200 municipalities, federal funding to cities increased by $400 million from 2002 to 2004, reaching $3.9 billion. But Charles Lyons, the group's president, said federal support has not kept pace with cities' costs.

League officials estimate federal taxes pay for about 5 percent of city services, compared with 15 percent two decades ago.

"They significantly cut back on promises made to cities and towns before the election," Lyons said of recent congressional spending. "All we're asking for is . . . to have their deeds match their words."

Lyons is a selectman -- which is like a councilman -- from Arlington, Mass., west of Boston.

The League of Cities conference, which is taking place at the Indiana Convention Center through Saturday, is expected to draw 5,000 city officials -- from the first black mayor of Daytona Beach, Fla., to the council president in Los Angeles.

Several city leaders, including Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, have scheduled a news conference this morning on federal support for cities.

In addition to addressing critical problems in cities such as juvenile delinquency and the homeless, federal money is depended upon to deal with problems that affect almost all urban residents, such as efforts to cut the amount of raw sewage dumped into rivers.

If federal grants are cut further, Lyons argued, those services may be reduced.

Not all city leaders, however, believe the Bush administration and Congress have been bad for local budgets.

"Our economy is very strong and our unemployment rates are pretty low," said St. Petersburg (Fla.) Mayor Rick Baker, a former Indianapolis resident. The mayor is a nonpartisan position in that city.

"I think the president has done pretty well by St. Pete," Baker said.

Federal funding is particularly important for Indianapolis, where some of the city's top accomplishments recently -- hiring 200 new police officers and revitalizing the Fall Creek Place neighborhood on the Near Northside -- have relied on federal tax dollars.

Indianapolis received roughly $47 million in federal funds last year -- up 27 percent from 2002. However, Mayor Bart Peterson argued that the increase is deceiving because cities do not have as much flexibility to use federal funds as they once did.

Peterson and former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith relied on Department of Justice grants to hire 200 new police. But now Indianapolis is anticipating a reduction in those grants, to $4.9 million in 2004 from $8.1 million in 2003.

Peterson is now faced with either laying off officers or raising taxes.

"There really isn't a free lunch," he said.

One bright spot for cities: Local governments are starting to receive homeland security grants following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Indianapolis expects $3 million in 2004 for homeland security -- up from about $400,000 the year before.

"When (terrorists) strike, they strike in cities," Lyons said. "The phones ring at City Hall and the police station. It doesn't ring in Washington."

Dec 2, 2004, 11:34 PM

Awesome site!

Dec 3, 2004, 4:11 AM
^ Good find! They list 66 projects worth $2,186,940,000. That's quite a bit of development! It's great to see Indianapolis having success, because when you guys are doing well, the whole state does well. So keep it up!

Dec 3, 2004, 7:51 AM
It's seems like the list has grown since I've last seen it. That's good sign for us.

Dec 3, 2004, 8:14 AM
Study: Walkers safer on Indianapolis streets

By Theodore Kim
December 2, 2004

Indianapolis-area streets are safer for pedestrians than they were a decade ago, a new study has found, though pedestrian safety is worse here than in other Midwestern cities like Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

Central Indiana ranked 26th most dangerous out of the nation's 50 largest urban regions, according to a study released today by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. The Washington-based group is made up of planning, government and civic groups across the country.

Nationally, the study rated the Boston area the most pedestrian-friendly and four Florida cities -- Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale -- the most dangerous.

In the Midwest, Detroit ranked 12th most dangerous, Louisville 24th, Chicago 34th, Columbus 41st and Cincinnati 46th.

Rankings are based on the average annual number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people, as well as the percentage of commuters who walk to work. The study's authors combined both sets of information to calculate a so-called "pedestrian danger index" for each metropolitan region. The two-year survey is based on data from 2002 and 2003.

Metropolitan Indianapolis, which includes Marion County and nine surrounding counties, has seen a 12 percent decline in its "danger index" since 1994 and 1995, the 12th best drop in the nation. Salt Lake City, Utah, registered the greatest decline in the index, down 44 percent from 1994-1995.

Downtown Indianapolis has benefited from wide and well-marked crosswalks, timed crosswalk signals and increased traffic measures by police during major events, such as Colts and Pacers games.

Meantime, planners said the popularity of the Monon Trail, the north-south hiker/biker route that bisects Indianapolis, has swelled the number of regular walkers here yet kept pedestrian fatalities to a minimum.

The Indianapolis area ranked 25th in spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects between fiscal 1998 and 2003, averaging about 64 cents per capita, the study showed. The Tampa area spent the most per capita on such projects ($1.66) and San Antonio, Texas, the least (8 cents).

"We've done some things in the city that have made things very convenient," said Mike Dearing, manager for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. "When motorists drive around places like Monument Circle and the Monon Trail, they know that they're high pedestrian areas."

Even so, the city is among many that has struggled with pedestrian safety in neighborhoods outside of the downtown core, where roads are wider, traffic travels faster and crosswalks are not as frequent, study officials said.

Indianapolis also remains one of the largest metropolitan areas without a mass transit system, making it difficult for pedestrians to travel long distances and increasing the need to drive.

"When there is a more developed transit system, it helps create a coordinated transportation system for pedestrians," Dearing said.

More broadly, 4,827 people across the nation died while walking along the street in the United States in 2003, a 2 percent decline from 2002, according to the study. However, Anne Canby, president of the project, said the decrease in fatalities has been driven by a decrease in the number of people who walk.

On the whole, she said poor urban and suburban planning and reckless walking and driving habits have contributed to make the nation's thoroughfares more dangerous for pedestrians.

"Our streets are already too mean and, in fact, they are growing meaner," Canby said.

Planners point out that many of the cities deemed the "most dangerous" for pedestrians -- such as Orlando, Atlanta and Phoenix -- have experienced explosive growth, particularly in car-friendly suburbs that leave little room for pedestrians.

"These communities, they were really designed with the automobile in mind," said David Siegel, an Oregon land-use expert and president-elect of the American Planning Association. "It took a while to get into this problem. It will take a while to fix it."

Call Star reporter Theodore Kim at (317) 444-6247.

Dec 4, 2004, 1:56 PM
Back to the Market Square article, I have a good feling they will build the first tower. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't mind seeing only one tower built, and have it surrounded by two or three four/five story buildings with retail/dining. It would have a Rockerfeller Center feel.

Let's face it, the eastside of downtown is problaby the last place people would move to out of the four quads.

Dec 4, 2004, 8:50 PM
Back to the Market Square article, I have a good feling they will build the first tower. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't mind seeing only one tower built, and have it surrounded by two or three four/five story buildings with retail/dining. It would have a Rockerfeller Center feel.

Let's face it, the eastside of downtown is problaby the last place people would move to out of the four quads.

i just dont understand the whole situation. at first they added 6 floors because of the high demand, but now construction cant even get started because of the low demand. They should just build one 35-40 story building with some office space located on the lower floors.

Dec 4, 2004, 9:59 PM
In response to Midwesterner's post - the "eastside" is not a downtown quad. The northeast quad is the most populous quad downtown, with the southeast number two.

Perhaps the developers added 6 floors to the first tower because they are not confident that a second tower will be built. With the demand for office space downtown weak and low demand for the MSA units, it doesn't make sense to build a 35-40 story building. Downtown developers have no clue about mixed-use development.

The low demand problem is due to the high prices. 190K-210K for a 900 s.f. unit! Most units are averaging 300K-400K. Which is why the developers are now reconfiguring the units. The economy is still weak and interest rates are starting to rise, which makes purchasing one of these overpriced units risky.

Dec 5, 2004, 6:08 AM
As a former highrise resident I think the prices are a bit on the high end. I could get me a nice unit right on the beach where I lived paying that amount.

Dec 6, 2004, 10:13 PM
Wellpoint joins Indy scene

Executives of the former Anthem Inc. today unveiled the company's new name on its headquarters six days after completing a $20.8 billion takeover of WellPoint Health Networks of California. The deal created the nation's largest health benefits firm.

About 100 company employees gathered on the sidewalk outside the building on Monument Circle to watch as Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson helped pull ropes that dropped a blue wrap from the new painted aluminum lettering on the side of the building.

"We're proud WellPoint is now part of Monument Circle," said David R. Frick, chief legal and administrative officer of WellPoint.

WellPoint President Larry C. Glasscock, who worked for 13 months to complete the merger, said the foggy, rainy morning didn't dampen his enthusiasm over unveiling the new name.

"It looks bright and sunny to me," he told the crowd.


Can anyone tell what building they are in?

Dec 6, 2004, 10:35 PM
Can anyone tell what building they are in?

the building where Anthem was.

Dec 9, 2004, 2:46 AM
I didn't see this anywhere else, so:


King Cole - McQuat Buildings

This downtown development proposal incorporated eighty three (83) condominiums, a parking facility, and street-front retail shops, into a renovation of a prominent downtown landmark.

Good to see things be revitalized on East Washington Street.

Dec 9, 2004, 2:58 AM


Dec 11, 2004, 4:54 AM
yeah, I'm finally glad to see this gap get the infill it needed. I like the balconies and bay windows. It let's everyone on the street know that people live in this building. It looks as though there will be brick on the facade.



Amazing Indy
Dec 11, 2004, 5:22 PM
Mayor Bart Peterson says he expects to strike a deal before the end of the year to keep the Colts in Indianapolis, though he continues to withhold details of any potential agreement.

The announcement of an agreement, which could come as early as next week, would include a funding proposal for a new stadium, details for an expanded Convention Center and -- if everything goes right for the city -- a chance to host a Super Bowl.

"I'm more confident than ever that will happen," Peterson said when asked recently whether an announcement would come before Jan. 1. "We're on the same page."

Colts owner Jim Irsay said this week that his organization's goal is to "get something done" and have a proposal for the next session of the Indiana General Assembly, which begins Jan. 4.

Irsay echoed Peterson's optimism, noting "tremendous progress" between the Colts and the city on lease negotiations.

The deal would be the culmination of two years of quiet negotiations, rumors that the team might leave for Los Angeles, a mayoral race in which the Colts' future became a prominent issue and, more recently, discussions over how much a new contract might cost taxpayers.

Peterson still will not acknowledge directly that a football stadium is part of the package, even though the city's Capital Improvement Board -- which will oversee any construction -- solicited designs and hired a construction contractor.

"I won't go any further than I've already gone because we don't have a deal done," Peterson said. "I'm not going to make the announcement ahead of time."

Timing the announcement is key, said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a sports consulting firm in Chicago.

Taxpayers throughout the country, while still largely opposed to public funding of stadiums, appear to have begun to accept tax dollars are a part "of being in the (National Football League)."

Ganis said a winning team is crucial to the selling of a publicly financed stadium deal -- and Indianapolis has that now with the Colts. The Colts are 9-3 going into Sunday's game against Houston.

"In a small market it makes a difference; it wouldn't matter as much in New York," he said. "The team is so much more important in a smaller town, (where) there is less to do."

The plan to pay for the stadium and Convention Center expansion almost certainly will have to be approved by the Indiana General Assembly.

To help cover the estimated $750 million cost of both projects, Peterson is expected to seek legislative approval next year for raising auto rental, hotel, restaurant and stadium admissions taxes.

Gov.-elect Mitch Daniels recently said "the Colts are going to stay," and that the state ought to help ensure that happens.

Negotiations are being driven by the current contract, signed in 1998, which requires the city to pay the team the difference between its own revenue and the median revenue of all teams in the NFL.

For the 2003 season, that payment would have amounted to $12.6 million, the league reported last month. The first payment could come due in 2006.

"We've got this looming payment in 2006 that's unfunded, and this is the last legislative session before that payment's due," said Fred Glass, the city's lead negotiator and president of the Capital Improvement Board. "Sometimes it takes a deadline to get it done."

Under the current deal, if those payments aren't made, the Colts can leave town -- though, if they did, they would have to pay the city $11 million a year through the 2013 season.

Indianapolis construction worker Randy Collins, president of the Blue Crew, a Colts fan club with 525 members, plans to help the mayor sell the benefits of a new stadium.

"Kids have grown up rooting for the Colts," he said. "Fans are just everywhere today. You can't go anywhere without seeing us. It's neat."

As for those worried about the cost of professional sports teams, Collins turns philosophical.

"You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, so anytime you can enjoy yourself, you should take advantage of the opportunity," he said. "And I'll enjoy myself a lot more in a new stadium."

Amazing Indy
Dec 11, 2004, 5:29 PM
Let me say, im glad as hell to see that space be filled up and all those buildings renovated in that area. It always looked a little awkward, but i think this is the perfect building to go inbetween and will contribute to a more canyon-like feel that you kinda get from Roy's picture.

Dec 11, 2004, 9:00 PM
Does anyone have a subscription to IBJ?

I can't get the full article:

Consolidated Building finally sold
Downtown's long-vacant Consolidated Building has been sold to an affiliate of the owner of next-door neighbor First Indiana Plaza, ending more than a decade of ownership struggles and failed deals.

Amazing Indy
Dec 11, 2004, 11:26 PM
^Probably means they are going to raze it and put a parking lot in its place.

Dec 12, 2004, 4:27 AM
Here's the article

Downtown Consolidated Building Finally Sold
(Indianapolis-December 6, 2004) -- Downtown's long-vacant Consolidated Building has been sold, ending more than a decade of ownership struggles and failed deals. New York-based Crown Consolidated closed on the purchase Nov. 24, paying just $2.7 million for the 15-story building.

Located at 115 N. Pennsylvania, the Consolidated has been vacant since the early 1990s, becoming an eyesore amid surrounding redevelopment. After the building's asbestos problems were abated, it was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2002 by a California company for $1.9 million.

The new owners, who also own First Indiana Plaza right next door, are exploring their options and should have a better idea of the building's future after the first of the year. Hotel operators have long expressed interest in the Consolidated, and real estate sources say a deal with one is still possible.

Courtesy of the Indianapolis Business Journal

Consolidated Building
115 North Pennsylania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
County: Marion

Primary Type: Multi-Family
No. Units: 110
Building Size: 186,500 SF
Lot Size: 0.43 Acres
Occupancy: 0.00%
Price: $3,500,000
Price/Unit: $31,818.18
Year Built: 1910
Date Last Verified: 11/26/2004


Amazing Indy
Dec 12, 2004, 4:36 AM
^Def. a prime location in the city, so hopefully a hotel or residential development will happen there. After seeing where the building actually is, i retract my statement that it will be razed. Again, glad to see that it was bought.

Dec 12, 2004, 3:28 PM
Thanks for the article Roy.

I love that building, and I can't wait for it to be renovated.

Dec 13, 2004, 4:38 AM
You're welcome, Mid. Yeah, I would like to see it come back to life just like the corner building in the photo when the Hilton Garden Inn opened.

Amazing Indy
Dec 13, 2004, 2:23 PM
The Indianapolis metropolitan area will be reshaped dramatically in the coming decades as new residential, industrial and commercial construction replaces much of what now makes up the area, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

Arthur C. Nelson, the author of the study, said the construction will be part of a nationwide trend to meet population growth and replace deteriorating buildings and homes.

"The surprise was the magnitude of how the next generation is going to basically reshape the built environment in this country," Nelson, a professor at Virginia Tech, said.

Although Indianapolis and much of the Midwest will not experience the building booms of the nation's West and South, there will be a large-scale change. The Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University predicts the metro area will grow from 1.5 million residents in 2000 to more than 2 million by 2030.

The new study, being released today, projects that more than four of every 10 homes standing in the metropolitan area in 2030 will have been built after 2000. The change will be even greater for industrial and commercial buildings, as roughly six out of every 10 square feet of such buildings in 2030 will have been developed between now and then.

"With all this development, what an opportunity to step back and decide how to shape the future landscape," said Nelson, who added that the 30-year period would be the "most active" building period in the country's history.

The study, from one of the nation's oldest nonpartisan think tanks, comes as Indianapolis and its surrounding counties look for ways to both encourage and manage development. This study, the first of its kind, analyzed projected population growth figures, the expected lifespan of buildings and surveys of existing housing, among other factors.

In Indianapolis, officials are putting the finishing touches on an updated plan to detail the types of development best suited for every parcel of land in the county.

"With a somewhat limited amount of developable land left, we have to make sure we make smart decisions," said Keith Holdsworth, the city's principal planner. "We want to make sure we have a good balance of land uses, so people can live and work and play and worship in a relative close distance to the homes."

Already, it is easy to get a sense of how different Indianapolis will look in the coming decades, as Downtown undergoes a growth spurt not seen since a series of towers went up in the late 1980s and early '90s.

Future landmarks abound.

Workers are building a 23-story hotel and residence project at Washington and Illinois streets, and plans are in the works for two condo towers at the former Market Square Arena site. The city hopes to build a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts, possibly tearing down the RCA Dome and replacing it with new Convention Center space.

Also under way in the city: massive expansion of the Downtown library and the airport.

Holdsworth said the city's goal is "smart growth," but he also stressed that the private sector drives most development decisions.

Marion County is seeing some residential development, mostly in the southern townships, where open space still can be found. But most of the new development on the way will occur in suburbs, where land can be developed more easily than in tightly packed cities, said Nelson, the study's author.

Even as new subdivisions sprout in former farmlands across Central Indiana, there are signs of change in the traditional suburban landscape. Nelson sees a trend away from large-lot suburban homes and toward more dense development -- town homes, condominiums, homes on smaller lots.

"When you get that cluster, you get the density that allows a Starbucks or commercial operation to survive," he said.

In Carmel, a city that saw a housing explosion as its population more than doubled to 37,733 between 1980 and 2000, Mayor Jim Brainard said leaders want more densely populated developments to support the city's core.

"We have designed our homes on such big lots that it's impossible to pretty much walk anywhere," he said. "It's always easier to cut up a clean field than it is to fix up a place that has fallen into disrepair."

But Brainard and others say replacing deteriorating structures is crucial to making sure all parts of a community can thrive.

As part of careful planning, experts argue, communities within metropolitan areas should work together to set planning goals. Such cooperation is not the norm when it comes to development, said John McIlwain, a housing expert at the Urban Land Institute.

But, he said, "what happens in one community does in fact impact what happens in other communities."

In Central Indiana, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson said, dealing with such matters across jurisdictional lines is tricky but valuable. Important, he said, is that all of the communities be on equal footing.

"The work we've done on transportation planning . . . could be a springboard to regional land-use discussions," he said. "But again, with a light hand, not a heavy hand."

It's not clear that will work. Even within Marion County, many worry about an overarching plan. Neighborhood activist Norman Pace, who deals with the city on land-use issues for a collection of neighborhood groups, has argued against creating a countywide development plan.

"Everyone felt that we want to maintain our township identity," he said, pointing to the nine townships within Marion County. "We didn't want to be mixed into a global Marion County concept."

Amazing Indy
Dec 13, 2004, 7:33 PM
Our position is: Assuring the success of Market Square development is more important than moving forward quickly .

The city made the right decision in allowing developers of the former Market Square Arena site more time to sell enough condos to begin the project. This is a development that shouldn't be rushed.

It is prime real estate. The proposed complex will define development on the east side of Downtown. Coupled with a proposed 25-story complex near Circle Centre mall, it could alter the character of Downtown.

When Market Square Partners announced it was taking orders on units in the first of two 29-story condominium towers it wants to build, interest was intense. But after an initial rush of sales, business waned. As of Friday, only 41 condos had been sold -- far fewer than the 100-unit threshold set for beginning construction of the first tower.

It is difficult to say why sales are lagging. Developers have proposed modifications of the design in hopes of making the condos more attractive. Prices of the units, averaging $312,000, could be a factor. Or it could be that Indianapolis isn't as much of a market for high-rise living as analysts projected.

It may be that the project needs to be more of a mix of high-rise and low-rise units. Or it simply may be that it needs to be marketed more effectively.

In any event, both the city and the developers now have the time to ensure the success of a project that is vital to building and sustaining a vibrant Downtown.

Amazing Indy
Dec 14, 2004, 5:59 AM
A new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts would pump an additional $30 million into the local economy, according to a study released by the city today.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, paid for by city officials, finds that the team now generates $75 million in Indianapolis in total sales each year that would increase to $104 million with a new stadium.

The report comes as city officials are negotiating with the Colts to extend the life of the team's contract. The two sides are expected to announce a deal -- which would likely include a new stadium -- later this month.

"Initial rounds of spending are generated by fans at home games on tickets, concessions, merchandise and parking as well as before and after games" at hotels and restaurants, the report says.

The games have an impact beyond the money spent by fans, said Tamara Zahn, president of Indianapolis Downtown Inc. Through live television coverage, they elevate the city's stature.

"Those intangibles don't typically get quantified in an economic impact study," said Zahn. "But sometimes those intangibles are as valuable and sometimes even more valuable."

Dec 14, 2004, 8:41 PM

Has anyone seen this site? Yeah, it's a bit dated, but still fun to look at.

Amazing Indy
Dec 15, 2004, 4:04 AM
An expansion by Northwest Airlines helped increase November traffic at Indianapolis International Airport by 15.2 percent from the same month last year, airport officials said today.

A total of 684,173 passengers passed through the airport in November as it saw its largest monthly traffic increase since 1992.

In November, Northwest increased the number of daily departures at the airport from 17 to 36.

ATA Airlines, which remains the airport's largest carrier despite filing for bankruptcy protection in October, had a 17 percent increase in traffic over November 2003, airport officials said.

Airport director Patrick Dooley said he believed the new flights and low fares combined to attract the additional passengers.

The airport is working with airlines to accommodate the new flights as it awaits construction of a new $275 million passenger terminal, scheduled to open in 2008 between the airport's main runways.

"Until we move into the new midfield terminal, we will need to maximize the use of all facilities in this building for our airline customers and the traveling public," Dooley said.

Several airlines recently moved to different gates or ticket counters.

Amazing Indy
Dec 15, 2004, 4:15 AM
Just for those who don't know what the new midfield terminal pics look like, here are some renderings:


http://www6.indygov.org/dmdplan/ed/images/why/airport/new_terminal1.jpg [/IMG]

I have natoriously bad luck with posting pics, so hopefully this works, if not...sorry

Amazing Indy
Dec 15, 2004, 4:17 AM
wohooo, it worked. effin' a. wicked sweet, oops, i guess Boston is getting to me.

Dec 15, 2004, 4:38 AM
Nice find Midwesterner

Our position is: Assuring the success of Market Square development is more important than moving forward quickly .

The city made the right decision in allowing developers of the former Market Square Arena site more time to sell enough condos to begin the project. This is a development that shouldn't be rushed.

It is prime real estate. The proposed complex will define development on the east side of Downtown. Coupled with a proposed 25-story complex near Circle Centre mall, it could alter the character of Downtown.

Are they refering to Conrad or is this another new highrise proposal? The Conrad is only 23 stories.

Amazing Indy
Dec 15, 2004, 5:55 AM
I think its just a reference to the Conrad, because there isn't really enough room for another development like that around the mall. I think its just a lack of research by the writer, but we know better.

Dec 15, 2004, 7:12 AM
I think its just a reference to the Conrad, because there isn't really enough room for another development like that around the mall. I think its just a lack of research by the writer, but we know better.

but the writer said proposed, meaning still up in the air. im sure he knows thats not the case with the conrad, so he might have some inside info.

Dec 15, 2004, 7:21 AM
KM, I've notice you're location says Indy. Are you not living in Bloomington anymore?

Dec 15, 2004, 4:21 PM
KM, I've notice you're location says Indy. Are you not living in Bloomington anymore?

nope. I actually graduated in 2003, but just got around to changing my location on here a little bit ago.:laugh:

Im up in Carmel now.

Dec 18, 2004, 2:16 PM
I think I'm going tomarrow:

City hall is best bet for best twinkling view
City-County Building's observation deck will be open until 10 p.m. today, Sunday.
By Terry Horne
December 18, 2004

Want to see the Downtown holiday lights this weekend? All the lights? Check out the view from the observation deck atop the City-County Building.

Although open just two evenings this holiday -- from 2 until 10 p.m. today and Sunday -- the 372-foot observation deck might just be one of the best-kept secrets in town.

It's free, and it's one of the few public spaces that high.

Law firms, investment companies, banks and a private club have grabbed most of the Downtown's other lofty views.

Sure, there's the 284-foot-tall Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Circle. It'll be open -- a sign promises -- from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this weekend.

But there's a $1 charge to ride the elevator to the top. And it's open only for an hour or so while dark. And the best holiday lights are twinkling directly underneath.

Revolving at 230 feet atop the Hyatt Regency Downtown, the Eagle's Nest restaurant is another possibility.

The view might be reserved for patrons, but the staff will treat you kindly. "We let them look," said manager Abdou Mandoudi.

Most gawkers will return for dinner someday, he said.

Crown Hill Cemetery on the Near Northside also offers a spectacular view of Downtown Indianapolis.

But the cemetery closes at 5 p.m. -- too early for good nighttime viewing.

This holiday, the cemetery has arranged special after-hour tours for three or four groups, but such bookings have to be made well in advance, said Crown Hill official Mark Gillespie.

That leaves the City-County Building as the best view in town.

Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, the observation deck would normally have extended hours for a week or more during the Christmas season.

This year, however, the extended hours had to be limited because of ongoing work to replace the building's cooling towers just beneath the observation deck, said attendant Deborah K. Williams.

That's good news in a way.

Exhaust from the old cooling equipment had glazed the north windows, obscuring the view of visitors.

New windows installed this year now offer a spectacular view extending to the Pyramids nearly 12 miles to the northwest, and beyond.

The view isn't the observation deck's only offering. It's really more of a mini-museum, with news clippings, photographs, maps, models and various memorabilia, including a Chamber of Commerce plaque proclaiming the observatory as the "Official Site for Indianapolis Through the Eyes of a Third-grader."

Call Star reporter Terry Horne at (317) 444-6082.
I'm glad they installed new windows, the old ones gave too much glare.

What you need to know
• What: City-County Building observation deck
• Where: 200 E. Washington St.
• When: The city will have extended hours from 2 to 10 p.m. today and Sunday to view the Christmas lights in Downtown Indianapolis. The observatory also is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays throughout the year.
• Cost: Free
• Directions: To get to the observation deck, enter the City-County Building from Market Street and clear security. Then take the service elevator, just east of the main elevators, to the 26th floor. Another elevator will complete the trip to the observation deck.
• Information: For more information, call (317) 327-4343 on weekdays or (317) 327-4347 on weekends.

Dec 19, 2004, 4:29 AM
I'll be up there Sunday evening

Dec 19, 2004, 1:14 PM
Hey me too, I don't know what time.

Do you think they'll allow tripods?

Amazing Indy
Dec 19, 2004, 3:31 PM
Eyewitness news has learned Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson and Colts owner Jim Irsay are in agreement on a plan to keep the team in Indianapolis.
Sources tell reporter Roger Harvey that an announcement will take place before the Colts game tonight against Baltimore.
The deal includes a new stadium with a state of the art retractable roof that will hold between 60 and 70,000 people.
The stadium would be located just South of the RCA Dome.
Sources tell Eyewitness News, Peterson and Irsay have reached an agreement in principle and it is a long-term partnership guaranteeing the Colts stay in Indianapolis for at least 30 years

Amazing Indy
Dec 20, 2004, 2:00 AM
Proclaiming, "We have a deal," Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, flanked by Colts owner Jim Irsay and other city officials, announced tonight that an agreement has been reached that will keep the Colts in Indianapolis.

Peterson told the crowd gathered at the RCA Dome for tonight's nationally televised game between the Colts and Baltimore Ravens that the agreement was the culmination of a long process. He said the announcement was pegged to the game to tell the team's "diehard fans" directly.

In brief comments, Irsay said he was "proud" to be staying in Indianapolis.

The plan calls for a 30-year lease and a retractable-roof stadium south of the RCA Dome. No details were available on how the estimated $450 million stadium will be funded but tax revenues are expected to play a part in the plan.

The deal also includes an expanded convention center that would bring the project's total cost to $750 million. City officials have said expanding the center is necessary to stem the loss of large conventions recently. Other details are expected to be announced during a news conference Monday.

Irsay and Peterson have negotiated for more than two years, looking for ways to keep the team in one of the NFL's smaller markets while boosting its bottom line. Without a new deal, the city could be forced to make a series of annual payments to the team topping $12 million beginning in 2006, and the team could leave for another market after the 2013 season -- if not before.

The end of the negotiating between the city and the Colts is just the first step. The General Assembly and the City-County Council will likely have to sign off on tax elements of the plan, while Peterson has also promised to sell the idea to a general public that polls have shown strongly disagree with spending tax dollars on professional sports teams.

Amazing Indy
Dec 20, 2004, 2:01 AM
An expanded Indiana Convention Center has the prospect of giving a bigger boost to the Indianapolis economy than a new stadium for the Colts, city officials said Sunday. But the center cannot expand unless the RCA Dome goes, which means the Colts will need a new home.

The proposed 465,000-square-foot addition, which would double the center's convention space, could lure as many as 28 new conventions , city officials said, and create 2,700 jobs.

While news of the stadium plan stole national attention, local officials tried to sell the expansion of the 32-year-old Convention Center as the most important economic component of Sunday's announcement.

"The return on investment is the most obvious and the most immediate," said Bob Schultz, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. "The pent-up demand for Indianapolis exceeds every other city our size and even some that are larger."

In the past, city officials have argued that expanding the Convention Center into the space occupied by the RCA Dome makes the most sense financially. They have said that, in turn, forces the city to build a new stadium.

In total, that project would cost $800 million, the city said Sunday.

A study commissioned by the city this year found that an expansion could generate $165 million annually for the local economy by luring new conventions and trade shows that are hungry for more space.

This year, one of the city's largest conventions -- Performance Racing Industry -- pulled out of Indianapolis, citing a lack of space, but vowed to return if the convention center was expanded.

An official from PRI could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Some have questioned how much should be spent on expanding the center in light of the convention industry's relatively soft market. After expanding their facilities, several other cities, including Baltimore, have seen their convention business stagnate.

But Casey Loughlin, general manager of Palomino restaurant, said an expansion is important for Downtown.

"It's going to generate additional business for not only hotels but also restaurants and retail," Loughlin said.

Dec 20, 2004, 2:33 AM
Well folks, anything you want me to say before I get back to Mr Moore about the Indiana Convention Center expansion? Please explain why it is important to expand this place.

Here's an e-mail I got from Moore earlier on Dec. 9th


My name is Neal Moore and I am working with the City of Indianapolis and the Capital Improvement Board on the proposed expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. Recently, I noted your positive comments about the project that appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal. We appreciate your support, and would like to know if:

You would be willing to write an additional testimonial about the importance of the project to Indianapolis
If you would grant permission for your IBJ comments, and any subsequent comments to be used in promotional materials, letters, etc. by those who are responsible for communication about the project.
Please let me know if you would like to proceed. Thanks again for your support.

Neal G. Moore

Neal G. Moore
Vice President
Sease, Gerig & Associates
101 W. Ohio St., Suite 1800
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dec 20, 2004, 2:51 AM
This is all great news.

Would everyone be so kind as to list the sources for their postings.

Amazing Indy
Dec 20, 2004, 3:05 AM
Sorry bout that IndyBob...I usually just use the Indianapolis Star. I used to site my sources and just stopped doing it. So my last four posts are from Starnews.com.

Dec 20, 2004, 3:21 AM
No problem Amazing. I'm just not able to find the articles sometimes.

Dec 20, 2004, 3:24 AM
Rendering of the new Colts stadium:


Amazing Indy
Dec 20, 2004, 3:27 AM
Are you fucking serious? Holy Crap! WOW. I think the new stadium deserves a new thread. Wowza thats amazing. It's true to Indiana...makes you think of a fieldhouse