The former General Motors Indianapolis Stamping Plant property is once again open for redevelopment proposals. RACER Trust, which is charged with clean-up and marketing efforts for dozens of old GM properties, says a plan from Carmel-based REI Investments that included a 10,000-seat outdoor entertainment venue has been nixed. The trust says the decision to terminate the contract was mutual and it is "prepared to move quickly" on new proposals.
RACER Trust Redevelopment Manager Bruce Rasher tells Inside INdiana Business he hopes to have the property back on the market by the end of the year. He adds "REI Investments and its principal, Mike Wells, have been terrific to work with, and while we are disappointed that we are not able to consummate this sale, we have great respect for Mike’s contributions to the community."
REI’s plans for half of the more than 100-acre site are not the only ones to have fallen through. A nearly $1.8 billion proposal championed by then-Mayor Greg Ballard to build a new criminal justice complex on the other half of the property died a year ago before it received a final vote from the City-County Council.
REI agreed in 2014 to buy the facility from the trust after a selection process that involved a total of five bidders.
The trust has successfully found new use for other vacant former GM acreage throughout the state. Early last year, Italy-based Sirmax announced plans to locate a new facility on another RACER Trust-owned property, the former GM Guide Lamp factory land in Anderson. A ball field complex is also being built by Ross Community Center Inc. on 60 acres of a former GM Manual Transmission operation in Muncie. RACER Trust continues to market additional land in Indianapolis, Anderson, Muncie, Bedford and Kokomo.
Rasher says "Indianapolis is a thriving city with amenities that are second to none, and the size, location and access to our property make it uniquely positioned to attract the type of transformative development that can benefit the community and state for generations to come. RACER Trust will continue to work with Mayor Joe Hogsett and his team, Councilor Vop Osili, chair of the Council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee, as well as with State of Indiana officials, to program the property for highest and best use and to attract investment that will create broad new opportunities. I am confident that we will achieve an outcome that aligns with the vision articulated by local stakeholders."
Mayor Joe Hogsett, who has been in office nearly seven months, calls the property offers "an almost unlimited range of possibilities" for a developer. "It is rare that a city gets the opportunity to re-imagine and participate in the transformation of such a large property so close to its downtown core and central business district," Hogsett said. “We are excited to engage the community in creating a new vision for this historic site. I appreciate RACER Trust’s commitment to continued collaboration with the City in order to achieve a bold development plan that our near-west side neighbors, and every citizen of Indianapolis, can be proud of for years to come."
RACER Trust acquired a total of 89 former GM properties after General Motors Corp.’s 2009 bankruptcy. It has held title on the Indianapolis property, which employed some 5,600 GM workers at its peak, since 2011. It elected to demolish the empty buildings and market the vacant land in 2013.
RACER Trust Redevelopment Manager Bruce Rasher tells Inside INdiana Business he hopes to have the property back on the market by the end of the year.