Bottleworks redevelopment temporarily taps sales of nearby businesses

Bottleworks construction hampering existing business

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Everything in Rooster’s Kitchen is based on a family recipe.

Ross Katz owns Rooster’s Kitchen. The name of the restaurant comes from his propensity to be an early riser, and he says this kitchen is his life.

“We will survive this. This is my lifeblood. This is my passion. The restaurant, the business is my life,” Katz said.

Just down the street is a project that is threatening his life’s work and, at the same time, providing hope. The Bottleworks construction project is, according to Katz, keeping paying customers away.

“You know, it is hard with the sales that are dwindling down because of these constructions and things to be able to justify some of these cost.”

The project is a $300 million redevelopment of the old Coca-Cola building. The Bottleworks District will serve as a culinary, arts and entertainment hub near the intersection of College and Massachusetts avenues. The redevelopment could be finished in 2020.

Across the street from Rooster’s, the owner of the Love Handle sandwich shop, Chris Benedyk, is feeling the pinch.

“We actually cut our store hours for a little bit, too, during that time. There was a lot of stuff to try to make up for what was basically a 30-40 percent drop in business initially,” Benedyk said.

The Bottleworks project has taken parking away from customers, plus there is a constant roar of cranes, earthmoving equipment and general commercial construction.

Once Bottleworks is redeveloped, hundreds of new people could come to the area daily.

For the existing businesses, surviving until then is the challenge.

Katz said, “And so, we are expecting sales to continue to be lower and really we are going to have to try a lot harder to stretch that rainy day fund as far as we can until this economic growth does come to fruition,” Katz said.

On Saturday night, several of the businesses in the 800 block of Massachusetts Avenue have organized a family-friendly block party to attract people to the area.