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National group tours Irvington Plaza to evaluate redevelopment plans

Shopping center plagued with problems
Posted: 5:31 PM, Feb 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-12 14:10:33-05
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INDIANAPOLIS— A national group of experts is touring the east side of Indianapolis this week to help the city revitalize Irvington Plaza.

Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney has exposed problems with the shopping center, including empty storefronts, trash, crime, weeds, and homelessness.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Irvington residents concerned about shopping plaza's condition, future

On Monday, a panel with the Urban Land Institute, a nationally known land use and urban planning group, took a bus tour of Irvington and Irvington Plaza.

They’re working with the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development to come up with recommendations for redeveloping the area.

They stopped for lunch Monday at Jockamo’s Pizza, and spoke with RTV6.

“We got a nice bus tour, starting downtown and coming down the Washington Street corridor,” Alan Razak, chairman of the ULI panel, said. “We’re just in absorb mode, we look and we listen. We have mostly questions at this point, such as how does this area compare to other areas within Indianapolis.”

The city asked the Urban Land Institute to evaluate five square miles for its development potential.

Irvington Plaza has been a fixture on the east side since 1952.

"We don't necessarily build sites like that today,” Emily Mack, director of the Department of Metropolitan Development, said. “It was actually designed with 800 parking spaces."

Among the ideas that will likely be discussed include a park, condominiums, apartments, shops, and mixed use buildings.

"I think there are so many possibilities,” Mack said. “Definitely transit-oriented development. It is right on the blue line, it's actually a blue line stop so when we think of mixed use, mixed income, neighborhoods serving businesses, connectivity to downtown and the Pennsy trail, I think there are so many opportunities."

The group will present its findings to the public on Friday at 9 a.m. at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center, 5350 E University Ave.

They will also broadcast the reception on Facebook Live, and the Urban Land Institute’s report will be issued within the next few months.

Eric Becker, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., owns Irvington Plaza.

The city says he can sell the plaza, work with developers, or take another route with the land.