Officials behind the planned, $175 million redevelopment of the downtown block that includes City Market say the project helps solve a puzzle that has been around for several years. Last week, the city announced it had selected a proposal from local developers Gershman Partners and Citimark for the City Market East project, which will include transforming the 20-story Gold Building into 350 apartments, as well as additional residential, retail and office space.
Scarlett Andrews, director of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, says the project aims to meet increasing demand for housing in downtown Indy.
On this week’s IBJ Podcast, Andrews told host Mason King the city has been looking for ways to revitalize the market for some time.
“It’s been a little tough for business there, and that’s for a variety of reasons. Part of it is the pandemic. Part of it is actual access to the building and the way it’s laid out,” said Andrews. “And so we were trying to understand what the market needed from an operational perspective, but what we also discovered in the process was that we need more customer base and that we have a clear opportunity to create more density on the block and more mixed-use that would drive that activity.”
The project includes a $90 million redevelopment of the Gold Building, the official name for which is Market Square Center, into an apartment building with 350 units and reskinned with a more neutral color.
Additionally, a $40 million, 11-story mixed-use building will be constructed where City Market’s east wing currently sits. It will include 60 apartment units with office and retail space.
Andrews says the city continues to see a need for more downtown residential space.
“We do have about a 97% occupancy rate of housing units of all types downtown right now, and so that’s incredibly high and kind of mirrors what’s happening all over the country in downtowns,” she said. “That is a clear opportunity and a huge part of the mayor’s downtown resiliency strategy is bringing more housing to downtown.”
The developers are also investing $30 million in ongoing improvements to the 11-story office building at 251 E. Ohio Street, which Gershman Partners principal Eric Gershman says is underway. About $12 million is also being invested for improvements to the 530-space parking garage on the block.
Gershman Partners currently owns the northern half of the block, including the Gold Building. Eric Gershman says with the Request for Proposals process that led to this project, the firm was attracted to the renewed prioritization and investment in the area from the city.
“We were a natural, I think, to respond to an RFP because we also were using the City Market as an amenity. We have a vested interest in working with them and making it the best it can be, and we were doing that prior to the RFP,” he said.
Gershman plans to begin work on the project in early 2023, with the entire project slated for completion by the end of 2025.
You can listen to the full IBJ podcast with Scarlett Andrews and Eric Gershman by clicking here.