GM stamping plant site owner sets March 15 deadline for offers – Indianapolis Star
The owner of the mostly vacant General Motors stamping plant site in Indianapolis has given prospective buyers until next month to submit their offers.
RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust, a group formed in 2011 to clean up and sell 89 former GM plant locations, has invited more than 70 developers to bid on the Indianapolis site on an invitation-only basis. The deadline is March 15.
The former GM site includes 102 acres on the White River, south of Washington Street and the Indianapolis Zoo. Most of the factory was demolished in 2013, leaving a massive blank slate for redevelopment just outside Downtown.
RACER will evaluate bids based on offer price as well as several other criteria, including how well the proposed development fits the neighborhood’s wishes. The Valley, the neighborhood surrounding the site, has asked for a project that would include park space along the White River. Neighbors also have expressed interest in housing, retail and other businesses that would bring jobs to the area.
There is no timeline for completing a sale. RACER has not yet decided whether it will publicly name finalists for the site before selecting a buyer, said Bruce Rasher, redevelopment manager for the trust.
“I don’t know how the offers will be structured and whether buyers will require certain commitments prior to executing the contract or being selected,” Rasher said. “So it may be that some buyers want public affirmation of their proposal, in which case the city would involve the public.”
RACER and the city recently completed a six-month process in which they sought public input on the site. Based on that feedback, Rasher said he’s confident that RACER can select a proposal that matches the community’s desire.
“The public has already spoken about what it wants there,” Rasher said.
Plans for the site have changed dramatically in recent years. It was once slated for an amphitheater, as well as a new criminal justice center for Marion County.
Carmel developer REI Investments’ plan for a 15,000-seat concert venue fell through in 2015. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett last month shifted plans for a new jail to the former Citizens Energy coke factory at 2950 Prospect St.
The Valley has ambitious hopes for the former GM site, said Jeff Bennett, the city’s deputy mayor of community development.
“What we discovered is that many residents in the Valley worked (at the GM stamping plant) and what they wanted to see were jobs brought back to the site as well as an overall reconnection with the site to the neighborhood and to downtown,” Bennett said in January. “What was also neat that came out of those conversations was a strong desire to leverage the river as an asset.”
RACER plans to disclose the number of bids it receives once the March 15 deadline passes, Rasher said. The trust hopes to complete a sale this year, but it could take until 2018.
Call IndyStar reporter James Briggs at (317) 444-6307. Follow him on Twitter: @JamesEBriggs.