Crane Bay reinvents itself as part of downtown redevelopment


There are big hopes for an area of downtown Indianapolis now called Stadium Village. City developers are looking to expand housing, commercial and retail business in the industrial pocket of land surrounding Lucas Oil Stadium. Right in the middle is the Crane Bay, a warehouse event center with over 1,000 parking spots.

The Crane Bay as the downtown warehouse and site of the Rolling Stone Super Bowl party. When the red carpet rolled up, the next step was up to founder, leaseholder and former NFL player Gary Padjen.

"Super Bowl turned out great. We had the number one Super Bowl party in Indianapolis and it was all great. But then going forward that was a big question - 'uh oh, what do I do now?'" he said.

That's when Jack Bayt stepped in with capital and new concepts for the unique, urban and edgy space blocks west of Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It's really going to be weddings, business meetings, sit down dinners, fundraisers - because you have all the space to put your auction tables," said Bayt.

Bayt founded Crystal Catering and is now owner of facilities like the Indiana Roof, Riverwalk and Primo South.

"Having Jack come in and TK; it was like a little angel sent down from heaven," said Padjen.

Now they are adding an outdoor fenced-in space with a fireplace which is now just being framed. A stone patio is planned along with new lighting.

"We've got this cluster of chandeliers. We are going to try to hang right at the front entrance as you come in," said TK Nelson, Crystal Catering.

With all of the changes, the Crane Bay logo is staying the same. The stone carpet is going to remain in place right inside the front door. But everywhere else, they aiming for a clean canvas with unlimited potential.

"You will be able to build what you want to build in that white box," said Bayt.

They have already experimented with light effects on the walls and have images of the space transformed with carpet and furniture. Behind the scenes, a range hood is the start to the new kitchen space. It's a new home base for Crystal Catering.

"This is really the re-launch for us as a Crystal Catering entity," said Nelson.

Crystal was a $100 million company Bayt built. It was largely dismantled after Sun Capital took over owner Marsh. The catering company was Bayt's baby for 30 years. Crane Bay is key to bringing it back.

"It was devastation. I was in about a two-year funk. Finally rebounded and now to help somebody get it started back again. That's wonderful," said Bayt.

"We are already looking for additional culinary help, additional service staff, additional event planners," said Nelson.

The new team has a November deadline and new events are already booked.

Bayt says the space can be divided into three distinct sections. If all three were used, he estimates he could serve 750 for a sitdown dinner and 1,200 for drinks and appetizers. Look for a re-opening in November.