Market Square development plan gets OK from council committee

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A major development project received an important vote of confidence Monday night when a City-County Council committee voted to approve a $23-million incentives plan for an apartment tower to be built at the old Market Square Arena site.

There has been all kinds of talk and proposals about what to do with the area since the former home of the Indiana Pacers was demolished.  But, the winning proposal was a 28-story shining residential tower that will house 300 apartment units, a parking garage, grocery store and other retail. 

The $81-million development project by Flaherty and Collins was introduced by Mayor Greg Ballard as a way to inject new life and tax dollars into the downtown.  But the council was concerned about how much the construction would benefit local residents.  Monday night, they struck an agreement ensuring 30-percent of construction jobs would go to Marion County residents.

"The benefits are local hires," said Vop Osili, a member of the City-County Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee. "There are many people who are out of work.  Oftentimes, decisions are made to hire based on economics. And so one may be encouraged to go outside the county.  I just want to make sure, and our fellow councillors want to make sure, our first priority is to Marion County." 

The agreement now clears the way for a big boost to downtown.

"I think this will be a fantastic asset for the Indianapolis skyline," said Osili. "It's a very unique building. It's a very good-looking building, and so often, our cities are judged by our skylines.  Think about New York, Cincinnati. We don't have a number of signature buildings to make us memorable, and this will add to those assets that we have to make Indianapolis a memorable city even from afar."  

The proposal now goes from committee to the full council for consideration.