INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group met Wednesday with officials from the city of Indianapolis to discuss the future of the former GM Stamping Plant site, which until recently was being redeveloped as part of the $1.4 billion Waterside project. Chief Executive Officer Aasif Bade says the city offered to buy the downtown property for $6 million, which he claims is “far below its current fair market value.”
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Bade said the property is currently worth more than $65 million, based on written offers, conversations with potential buyers, and independent third-party appraisals. “If the City believes that $6 million is the true value of the property, the City should rescind its unlawful threat and compete with other buyers in the free market.”
The city’s Office of Corporation Counsel responded to the statement, saying, “Ambrose’s continued posturing, and its characterization of today’s meeting, are disappointing. We nevertheless remain optimistic that we can move forward with productive conversations about the future of this critical piece of property.”
The two sides have been at odds since late September, when the developer announced its intention to sell the property as part of a shift it its business focus. Shortly thereafter, the city announced its intention to take over the property via eminent domain, a move Ambrose says violates the city’s project agreement with the developer.
Earlier this week, Ambrose detailed the legal action it intends to pursue as a result of the eminent domain threat and what it claims is defamation against the developer.
You can read Bade’s full statement below:
If the point of the City threatening to take the former GM stamping plant site by eminent domain was to ensure that the property be developed quickly, the City’s unlawful threats are the worst way to go about it. For no good reason, the City’s illegal actions have brought Indianapolis’s largest and most promising redevelopment project to a screeching halt.
After meeting with City officials today to discuss the property, it is clear that in a rush to ensure that no other developers could buy the property, the City unlawfully threatened to take the property through eminent domain without knowing how much it would cost, without knowing how the City would pay for it, and having forgotten that the City had a binding contract promising not to take the property by eminent domain. Given the City’s reckless approach, it is no surprise that the City today offered to buy the property for $6 million, far below its current fair market value.
Today, we refreshed the City’s memory. We reminded the City that it made a binding promise to not use eminent domain because, in 2017, the City threatened to take the property and we needed reassurance that the City would not do so again. The City either forgot that it had made this agreement or intentionally breached its promise.
We also informed the City that, based on written offers, specific conversations with potential buyers, and independent third-party appraisals, the property is currently worth over $65 million—in line with what was previously discussed in 2017. If the City believes that $6 million is the true value of the property, the City should rescind its unlawful threat and compete with other buyers in the free market.
We continue to urge that the mayor and his chief of staff stop their disparagement of Ambrose and take immediate action so that the City’s liability can be minimized, as Ambrose’s damages increase by the day and the property will only go undeveloped longer as the City’s actions continue.