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Skating rink, performing arts center among ideas for Irvington Plaza

Shopping center plagued with problems
Posted: 9:40 AM, Feb 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-16 17:15:40Z
redesign plans for irvington plaza.JPG

INDIANAPOLIS — A group of national redevelopment experts unveiled its recommendations for Irvington Plaza at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center on Friday.

The Urban Land Institute’s ideas include creating a real plaza in Irvington with gathering places, community amenities, an ice skating rink, cottages, urban townhomes, a small grocer, residential loft units or a performing arts center.

Call 6 Investigates brought concerns about Irvington Plaza to city and state leaders including empty storefronts, trash, crime, weeds, and homelessness.

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

The Urban Land Institute presented a 61-page recommendation to Irvington residents and the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development after spending the week touring the east side community.

You can read the full report here.

You can watch the presentation here .

"When we look to redevelop these challenging sites, what should we really be looking at-- is that wiping it to a clean slate, or is that adapting and reusing those sites,” Emily Mack, director of Metropolitan Development for the city said. "I think this is a launching pad to help us understand what those opportunities are, the obstacles and challenges and what our next steps are. This is just the beginning."

The city will have to figure out how to fund the redevelopment of Irvington Plaza.

The Urban Land Institute offered several ideas in the report:

Joint Development
•$2M Federal Transit Administration
•$2M Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Fund through Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (only for affordable housing)

Local –Irvington Plaza Economic Development Area designation (pending)
•Unlocks tax increment financing to acquire land, clear sites, remediate, etc.

Local –Abatements
•Real property & personal property tax
•Vacant building

State –Corporate Income Tax Credits
•Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE)
•Hoosier Business Investment (HBI)

Federal
•New Markets Tax Credits

The Urban Land Institute is expected to create a more in-depth report for the city in the coming weeks.

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

"We don't necessarily build sites like that today,” Mack said. “It was actually designed with 800 parking spaces."

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

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