By: Katie Burrell
This summer, the Town of Fishers will be adding another notch to its redevelopment belt in an effort to bring more workers to the downtown area. In February, the town council and its other economic development counterparts unanimously approved construction of a mixed-use office building and parking garage on 116th Street and Lantern Road.
“The project is a key component of our Nickel Plate District development strategy,” said Scott Fadness, Town Manager. “It will bring jobs to downtown, resulting in an increased daytime population that supports other businesses in the area.”
The $18 million project will transform the vacant Kentucky Fried Chicken building into a 61,000 square foot office building. The project is designed to attract tenants bringing more than 200 jobs to the space and wages are expected to more than double that of the employees from the original tenant. Negotiations are currently underway with Community Health Network to lease 22,000 square feet on the third and part of the second floors for primary care, x-ray and laboratory office space. Although no names are being released yet, the remaining space is already attracting businesses such as retailers and ancillary medical professionals. Development partner Scott Baldwin said both the town and partners hope to attract an upscale restaurant on the first floor as well.
The project is a public/private collaboration between the Town of Fishers and Fishers Urban Development LLC, which is a partnership between Yeager Properties and Baldwin Companies. The town purchased the KFC building in 2013 with hopes of redeveloping the building. Yeager Properties owns the surface parking lot and an office building along Lantern Road. It has agreed to donate the lot. The space, along with a $6 million investment from the Town of Fishers will allow developers to complete a five-story attached parking garage serving both buildings. The garage will provide 330 spaces for employees during the day and provide free parking for Fishers residents after hours and on weekends. Additionally, there will be another 9,000 square feet of office space built onto the west side of the garage for more retail and business opportunities. The Town of Fishers will own the parking garage for 25 years, after which, it will be turned back over to Yeager Properties.
Fishers Urban Development will invest approximately $12 million in the project, with Yeager Properties completing construction on the parking garage and building. Yeager’s existing office will also receive a facelift to mirror the new building. The developers return is expected to be eight to ten percent. The town will benefit from an increase in property taxes, as the assessed value is estimated to go from $1,409,000 to $7,750,000. The Town of Fishers issued a tax increment funding bond to fund the construction of the garage.
Keeping in sync with other redevelopment projects such as The Depot and the Nickel Plate Amphitheater and Trail, the 116th building will contribute to the community’s goal of creating a vibrant, walkable and sustainable downtown. Fadness said the location is key.
“The focus (of this project) is on jobs so people will stay downtown during the day,” Fadness said. Office, living, retail, dining and arts and recreation all collide in a location no more than a couple blocks away from the next hot spot.
Additionally, Fadness realizes that the town still has obstacles to overcome with traffic in and out of the downtown area, but hopes that the building and parking garage will encourage people to pull off of 116th Street and go walk around. The town is investing $40 to $45 million in traffic improvements, including the 106th Street interchange which is expected to help mitigate traffic on 116th Street.
“We understand there are a lot of cars that travel downtown, but that is the reason this redevelopment project has the opportunity to be successful.”
It’s no secret that Fishers is growing and Baldwin noted that the town has positioned itself well. The new development is an economic tool that is expected to “spark additional growth in downtown Fishers.” And having experience working in other municipalities he said the leadership and focus in this community is unprecedented. During the council meeting, collaborators were able to pitch the project to the Town Council, Economic Development Council, Redevelopment Commission and the Town Hall Building Corporation. “They were all in sync and worked as one mind.”
Fishers residents can expect construction to begin this summer and finish up in the summer of 2015.
*Estimate: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012 **Estimate: CHN average wage, $84,000