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Mar. 19, 2013

Mayor Greg Ballard Plans Redevelopment of Former Market Square Arena Site

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The City of Indianapolis is ready to take another shot at redeveloping the former Market Square Arena (MSA).

During his annual State of the City speech, Mayor Greg Ballard announced that his administration is now seeking plans and proposals to repurpose the northern half of the former MSA site into something better than surface parking.

IndyStar reports that the officials’ vision for the nearly two-acre parcel at the northeastern corner of Market and Alabama streets in downtown Indianapolis involves a high-rise building with apartments or condominiums on the upper floors, as well as a major retail component on the first floor. Officials also hope that the project would help spur development on the southern half of the city-owned site.

The announcement marks the city’s third attempt to repurpose the land. In 2004, a group of investors called Market Square Partners proposed a $140 million project that would have brought more than 400 condominiums, 175,000 square feet of retail and 700 parking spaces on both lots. Two years later however, the project crumbled after the developers could not to sell enough condos to meet financing requirements.

In 2007, the city was presented with another two development proposals. As recession hit, both projects eventually fell through.

Built in 1973 for $23 million, the arena was the Indiana Pacers’ home until it was imploded in 2001. The site hosted a multitude of important events, such as Michael Jordan’s first return from retirement in 1995, or Elvis Presley’s final concert in June 1977.

“It has been nearly 36 years since “Elvis left the building”. It is time for the MSA space to make its architectural mark again on our city, to bring new residents and retail to the near east side, and to put that prime piece of real estate back on the property tax rolls”, Ballard said.

Developers will be able to submit proposals until April 22.

Photo credits: Bob Hall via Wikimedia Commons

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