The City of Indianapolis’ next unique design opportunity has the potential for a major impact on the way our community is positioned for the future.
The former General Motors (GM) Stamping Plant – a 103-acre parcel of land west of the downtown – is one of the last, large undeveloped parcels in downtown. With the White River as its eastern border, this land is an ideal location for a riverfront greenspace, transit route extension, new residential, retail and commercial uses, and the ability to reconnect nearby neighborhoods. The significance of this opportunity cannot be understated, and it’s reassuring that it appears be heading in the right direction.
Over the last 7 years, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf has had the privilege of working with a variety of municipal and development partners to establish a vision for this property. In 2010, we were part of a team through the Office of the Mayor that conducted a mapping study for several districts, including the GM Stamping Plant site, to develop an investment action plan. This process laid a framework and established the initial vision to extend South Street over the White River with an iconic bridge, complete with bike lanes, sidewalks and rain gardens leading to much desired open space. To the north, a new riverfront greenway was proposed to link the South Street corridor to White River State Park.
The vision for the comprehensive reclamation and redevelopment of the GM Stamping Plant site included a variety of mixed-use projects that would bring new residential, office, retail, technology, and light industrial developments within reach of the downtown core. This combination of uses was greater than the sum of its parts; it was to be the framework for an entirely new, destination neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis.
Since 2011, Michigan-based Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust has been cleaning up the former GM location, preparing it for future development. In the years that followed, a team of private investors proposed the addition of a large outdoor concert venue on the eastern half of the property. A new, billion-dollar criminal justice center was also proposed on the western half of the property. Although the vision was grand, budget and finance concerns ultimately overwhelmed the projects, both of which were eventually abandoned in 2016.
Fast forward to 2017; the City has a new vision for the property with six key themes: residential, transit, placemaking public spaces, recreation, economic development and connectivity. While keeping these themes in mind, suggestions for the property were collected from the public and stakeholders, which included the addition of a walkway over West Washington Street to the Indianapolis Zoo, a riverfront park that connects to White River State Park, a housing strategy that includes a variety of housing types and price points, various commercial, mixed-use, office, advanced manufacturing, entertainment/hotel, and the extension of South Street over the river. RACER is now in the process of looking for qualified buyers/developers who can bring their plans to life.
This year, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf is celebrating 50 years of award-winning planning, landscape architecture, architecture and interior design. Indianapolis has always been our home and we have a great, longstanding relationship with the City of Indianapolis. For more than 30 years, we have built a solid reputation for delivering projects for the City, working on iconic transformational projects such as Union Station, Victory Field, the downtown Canal, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Conseco Fieldhouse. We are also currently working on renovating the Indiana Repertory Theatre/Indiana Roof Ballroom. Watch for upcoming blog posts that paint a picture of past visionary thinking with the City and our rich history of talented professionals that has led to transformative places.
Congratulations to the City and their consultants for doing great work. We are excited for the potential of a new destination and the opportunity to see this potential development move forward!
Greg Jacoby is a Principal and the COO of Browning Day. Greg leads our mixed-used, residential and hotel and adaptive reuse practice. His leadership and problem solving skills are a great asset to owners and developers. Greg is recognized for his work with the St. Vincent Oncology Center, Circle Centre Mall, Conrad Hotel and Condominiums, and Pulliam Square. He has extensive experience with residential, preservation/adaptive reuse and commercial and healthcare projects across the Eastern United States.
Greg serves as advisory board governance chair of the Indiana Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization with focus on the use of land to enhance the total environment, and co-chair of Central Indiana Council of Elected Offices (CICEO).
Greg is a graduate of Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture and Environmental Science in 1982 and is a Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. He joined Browning Day in 1983.
Ryan P. Cambridge, PLA ASLA APA, is a practicing registered landscape architect who serves as the Planning Practice Leader at Browning Day; a multi-disciplinary planning and design firm in Indianapolis (www.bdmd.com). Since 2008, Ryan has helped lead the development of more than 20 system planning efforts for municipal governments across the United States, representing nearly $750 million in future “public realm” investment. Ryan is a self-professed “parks geek” and seeks to further the awareness of, and investment in, the public realm though his leadership on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association, the Advocacy Committee of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation (Ryan is also the event chair for the upcoming 2017 IPL Mayor’s Lunch for Parks), and the Programming Committee for the Indiana Urban Land Institute. Ryan is also privileged to be one of only a handful of professionals in Indiana currently serving on the Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Leadership Council.