Officials said a final agreement is near for the redevelopment of the historic Bush Stadium site, which is wedged between 16th Street and the White River near Harding Street.
Developer John Watson will build 268 units around the stadium façade, which will be preserved, and near the baseball diamond where the Indianapolis Indians played until 1996. Rental rates for the units will range from $480 to $1,400 per month. The project is expected to be complete by August 2013.
The city is contributing about $5 million to the $23 million project, including tax dollars generated in the area and more that will be transferred from the consolidated downtown tax-increment financing district. Watson said he also is seeking a federal loan to help finance part of the project.
Indianapolis also will invest another $2.7 million in public money to renovate Indiana Avenue from roughly 10th Street to 16th Street with new landscaping, walking paths, bike lanes and other streetscape elements designed to brand the area. That funding will come from initial proceeds from the sale of the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.
More than $5 billion of assessed value in the city has been taken off the tax-producing rolls for other units of government and earmarked specifically for slush funds operated by the Mayor. This slush fund is supposed to be used exclusively on projects within the downtown TIF district, or so we're told when people wondered why Ballard could tap a downtown TIF fund to help fund the CIB's $33.5 million give-away last year to the billionaire Simon's Indiana Pacers but not share any of the money with IndyGo or the libraries. Now the CIB is flush with funds and is even picking up the cost of more capital improvement costs at Conseco Fieldhouse that are supposed to be paid by the Pacers than was included in last year's $33.5 million deal. That little detail seemed to slip the attention of reporters covering this week's CIB meeting. And Ballard has plans to add even more TIF districts throughout the city to further enlarge the size of the slush funds available to give away to fat cat contributors, while other taxing districts, including schools, are pressed for funds as more and more of the tax base is removed from their reach.