North Meridian Street Undergoes Urban Renewal

Grocery Store, Hardware Store Planned For Busy Corridor

A busy Indianapolis corridor showed new signs of life as urban developers discussed plans to build at least two retail stores to serve Hoosiers who live and work downtown.

Businessman Keith Payne said the North Meridian Hardware Store will open on North Meridian Street in just a few weeks and that he hopes the store will jump-start the economy.

Payne said he wants his hardware store at 16th and Meridian streets to be different than other big-box retailers by focusing on customer service, RTV6's Kara Kenney reported.

"It's downtown. It's right on Meridian. We tend to feel downtown's future is extremely bright, and it's a hardware store geared toward an urban setting," Payne said. "What we try to do is capitalize on the lighting and make the hardware even more personal.”

In January, the Near North Development Corporation plans to turn an old car dealership in the 2300 block of North Meridian into a grocery store.

Development group President Michael Osborne said his company used grant money to kick-start funding for the grocery store and to help pay for a new façade on the hardware store.

"It's more retail development in an area that doesn't always have a lot of retail development. It's going to create more pedestrian traffic,” Osborne said.

Mary Lee is one of the 4,500 people living in the near north area along Meridian Street and said she is looking forward to the changes in the neighborhood.

"I'm all for beefing up businesses in the neighborhood and making things more convenient so people don't have to go up north,” Lee said. "I’d like to see a really nice restaurant within walking distance, rather than just fast food places.

Payne said that he knows starting a business during a sluggish economy won’t be easy.

“This is the United States, and we're risk takers. That's how we got here. The minute we start letting go of that, we really start losing the essence, so that's really what drives me to push forward,” Payne said.

The Near North Development Corporation planned to put its offices on the second floor of the hardware building and plans to open around Christmas, while the grocery store is slated to open in January.

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