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Experts plan a future for blighted Indy shopping center

Posted: 3:52 PM, Feb 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 17:56:53-05
Irvington Plaza.png

INDIANAPOLIS — A nationally known urban planning group will evaluate an east side eyesore and come up with a plan to redevelop it.

Call 6 Investigates first told you about problems with Irvington Plaza in 2017, including numerous vacancies, crime, weeds and broken glass.

PREVIOUS: Irvington residents concerned about shopping plaza’s condition

The Urban Land Institute will visit the plaza at 6243 East Washington Street next week, February 10-15, and make recommendations to the City of Indianapolis and the Department of Metropolitan Development on how to best redevelop Irvington Plaza.

ULI is a real estate organization with 42,000 members across the country committed to building thriving, sustainable communities.

Irvington Plaza dates back to at least the 1950’s, and was anchored by a Marsh Supermarket which closed in 2017.

A panel will look at what types of redevelopment the east side could support, potential problems and actionable steps, as well as potential funding options.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the expertise of ULI members to Irvington,” said Alan Razak, chair of the panel. “Everyone gets something valuable from the panel experience – the panelists get the opportunity to give back to the greater community by donating their unique expertise to help solve a challenging real estate issue, and the host community gets unbiased expert advice that couldn’t be obtained in any other way. It will be stimulating to work with local stakeholders engaged in the future of the neighborhood, who can use the significant experience of the ULI team of panelists to get strategic recommendations on potential redevelopment and multimodal infrastructure at the new Blue Line station.”

The Blue Line is a planned IndyGo mass transit bus line that will serve the east side.

Call 6 Investigates did some checking and found Eric Becker, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida owns Irvington Plaza.

Records show the health department cited Becker for trash violations just this week, including scattered rubbish near dumpsters.

Records also show the city's code enforcement office has opened other investigations into the plaza’s condition.

In 2017, Becker said he was working with broker Midland Atlantic to bring in more tenants.

The plaza is 153,498 square feet and has 37,000 vehicles pass it each day, according to Midland Atlantic.

PREVIOUS: Irvington Plaza tenants fight blight

Irvington Development Organization’s Executive Director Margaret Banning said the sprawling shopping center is an outdated concept.

“There isn't enough lipstick in the world for that pig," said Banning in 2017. “That property is 18-acres of wonderful potential, but it's only potential as dirt and you build up from there. I know that sounds harsh."

Banning would like to see the plaza bulldozed and rebuilt as mixed use, with businesses, apartments and green space.

“Instead of one, big massive parking lot, bring the streets back into it,” said Banning in a previous interview. “Let’s bring in some recreational space.”

Throughout next week, the Urban Land Institute panel will tour Irvington Plaza and the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as interview stakeholders before developing a set of recommendations at the conclusion of the visit.

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