INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –The plan was to transform the old City Hall building into a boutique hotel. Now the project’s developers are backing off and city leaders are looking for a new plan.
21c Museum Hotels released a statement saying the city and the company “have been unable to reach business terms that make a 21c Museum Hotel project feasible at this site.”
Craig Greenberg, President of 21c Museum Hotels, won’t disclose the numbers but he says the project was a greater financial commitment than his company initially thought.
“While it’s a wonderful and gorgeous building, it’s also fairly inefficient for modern uses,” Greenberg said. “To make that transformation, it was going to be a larger and more complicated project than I think either the city or us realized.”
It’s been two years since then-Mayor Greg Ballard unveiled the idea to turn the 107-year-old building into a boutique hotel, a restaurant and an art museum.
Today, the only sounds of construction come from the other downtown developments near Alabama and Ohio Streets.
Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Chief of Staff, Thomas Cook, said the city is putting the property back up for bids with hopes to announce a new partner by the end of this year. The bid could be for a hotel project or something entirely different.
“If another great idea comes along that makes more sense for taxpayers and for that neighborhood, we’re obviously going to be excited about whatever that idea is,” Cook said.
Cook said he’s hoping 21c will reconsider, but Greenberg said the company has no plans to submit another request for proposal on the site.
City County Councillor Vop Osili says he wishes 21c’s project could stay alive, but he’s not discouraged.
“The bar has been raised pretty high now,” Osili said. “A few years ago, there wasn’t anything here. What we see right now and what we hear, the bustling and the construction in the background, is in anticipation of more vibrancy.”
City leaders said when they do find a developer, they’re open to providing incentives and partnering with the developer. The details would be worked out at a later date, according to Cook.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, has taken a position at the University of Indianapolis.
According to the release, he will be a Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Activities.
He will “bring a new dimension to the Mayoral Archives,” and make them available as a resource to local politicians.
He will also continue his work in the Institute for Civic Leadership by introducing leadership strategies.
“Former Mayor Ballard’s role continues a University of Indianapolis tradition of working closely with city leaders,” said University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel. “He’s been a vital partner in UIndy’s efforts to enhance the quality of life in our own neighborhood and throughout Indianapolis. I’m looking forward to seeing firsthand his contributions to UIndy’s intellectual life and student learning opportunities, and I believe our partnership can make a national impact.”
Ballard will continue to focus on the same themes as he did in office including: clean-energy solutions to public needs, new approaches to urban transportation and the value of global perspective and international collaboration.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the University of Indianapolis on the many issues of concern we share,” he said. “This new relationship, drawing on the resources of the university, will provide a platform for national conversations on the future of urban life in our country.” Ballard’s initial appointment begins Wednesday.
G. Thrapp Jewelers created history in 1999 when they designed the crown for the 500 Festival Queen. It is the same crowd that will be used this weekend when the 500 Festival Queen is crowned at Breakfast at the Brickyard. We go behind the scenes to find out about the history for the crown and get a look at the necklaces designed for this year’s Princesses.
Gary Thrapp, owner of G. Thrapp Jewelers is very very big on tradition and helping the community and really being an active participant in everything that goes on in Indianapolis.” Lauren Bauer, Marketing Director G. Thrapp Jewelers
For more information about G Thrapp Jewelers, visit their website at gthrapp.comTo learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter @500festival, or on Facebook.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Department of Public Safety and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana has announced a partnership to address hunger in the six neighborhoods said to be the city’s most dangerous.
They are located at the intersections of 16th Street and Tibbs Avenue, 29th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, 34th Streets and Illinois Street, 38th Street and Sherman Avenue, 42nd Street and Post Road, and New York Street and Sherman Avenue.
DPS director Troy Riggs said, “We’re talking about 42,000 of our closest neighbors and friends, fellow Hoosiers that live in these areas. 4.7 percent of the great population of this city. But yet 4.7 percent of our population reside in areas responsible for 27 percent of our homicides, 30 percent of our non-fatal shootings. If you live in these areas you have an over 200 percent greater likelihood to suffer from a mental illness. You have over a 100 percent to have an overdose in these areas.”
Mayor Greg Ballard said, “We didn’t pick out these areas. The data picked out these areas.”
DPS said data shows a common factor among the six neighborhoods is a lack of food.
Riggs said, “We had hundreds of young people gather together and they said they felt like that no one loved them, they felt like no one was mentoring them, and they said that they were hungry when school wasn’t in session. They said they were hungry on the weekends and they talked about the difficulties that caused.”
The city is hoping the new program CARE, Community Action Relief Effort, will not only reduce hunger but also reduce crime in the focus areas.
Cindy Hubert, president and CEO of Gleaners, said, “We know all too well an empty stomach can lead to panic and desperation. But fighting hunger, like fighting crime is a daunting task.”
The pilot program will begin the first week in June and go through the first week in September. Each week, a truck filled with nutritious food, including fresh produce and foods high in protein, will visit each of the six neighborhoods so families will have access to food.
The mobile pantry will be manned by community and DPS volunteers. Exact locations and times are being finalized and will be announced later, but Gleaners said their mobile pantries typically visit neighborhoods for two hours at a time.
The cost of the CARE program is unknown at this time due to it being a pilot program. Gleaners said once the program is complete in September, organizers will evaluate its success and then work towards finding investors to help continue the food program.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The future of Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan for a new justice center is up in the air after the City-County Council did not vote on it last night.
It would have taken 15 supporters on council to revive the plan Monday night after a council committee voted last month to not send the plan to full council. Republican Minority Leader Councillor Mike McQuillen said he didn’t call for a vote Monday because the support wasn’t there.
But a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, Jen Pittman, said the plan might come up again.
“It is possible for the discussion to continue at the committee level, and if that happens, we will remain engaged in working toward a solution to this decades-old problem.”
The mayor’s plan is build a $1.75 billion justice center that would combine the courts, the jail and associated agencies into one building on the site of the old GM stamping plant.
Councillor Zach Adamson said he thinks the mayor’s proposal is now dead. Adamson said he agrees a new justice center is needed, but he said the mayor’s plan leaves too many questions over how the center would be funded.
“I think it was just a little more responsible of us to say, ‘hey, let’s put the brakes on for a second’ and go into the next year and let the next administration, the next council, decide their priorities,” Adamson said.
Mayord Ballard has said his plan will pay for itself with savings and new revenue.
Sheriff John Layton said he supports the mayor’s plan but understands the need for debate and compromise. He said he’s confident that city leaders will eventually reach an agreement for a new center.
“It’s just when and how soon. That’s what we have to worry about because this place is, this particular jail, it’s in some sad shape,” Sheriff Layton said.
The property is owned by REI Investments, a Carmel-based company. Company President Mike Wells said REI is still under contract with the city, and isn’t seeking another buyer right now. He declined to say how long the company is under contract.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Lowe’s has a new call center on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
Thursday morning, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and Congresswoman Susan Brooks attended the ceremony celebrating the opening.
The call center is on Intech Commons Drive, just off Interstate 465 at 71st Street.
Last year, Indianapolis won the bid for the call center, bringing with it 1,000 new jobs. Lowe’s started out two years ago looking at 900 sites around the country. A Lowe’s executive said the company decided to expand operations in Indianapolis because of the people they encountered around the city in everyday circumstances.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The race for Indianapolis mayor is now set.
Democrat Joe Hogsett will face Republican Chuck Brewer in November.
Nobody knows what a campaign like that’s going to be like than current Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
The mayor was in studio Thursday morning and talked with Lauren Lowrey about the race.
Click play in the video box for his interview.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WISH) – A couple Indianapolis polling places had late starts Tuesday morning as the primary election was underway.
Marion County election officials confirmed at least two polls opened late, but as of 7:20 a.m., all polls were up and running.
One viewer told 24-Hour News 8 he wouldn’t be able to cast his ballot Tuesday because of a delay in a poll opening.
Indianapolis is one of 115 Indiana cities where voters will head to the polls to vote in mayoral primaries to decide who moves on to November. Indianapolis will elect a new mayor and voters throughout the state will select who will lead their cities the next four years.
One of the more watched races is in Carmel, where five-term Mayor Jim Brainard is being challenged in the Republican primary by City Council President Rick Sharp in a race where debt is a key issue.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, both seeking second terms, face challengers in Democratic primaries.
In Indianapolis, four Republicans and two Democrats are vying to replace Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, who decided against seeking a third term.
Polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Candidates running for mayor in Indianapolis say the biggest issue in the campaign is laying out steps to cut down on crime in the city.
Candidate front runners are Democrat Joe Hogsett and Republican Chuck Brewer.
Hogsett announced his run for mayor in November. During his official announcement at the Landmark for Peace Monument, he said in April 1968 Indianapolis was unified, and he asked voters to help him unite the city again.
24-Hour News 8 spoke to Hogsett about the race in January. At that time he had managed to get six months ahead of other incumbents, but the candidates in the race were not his concern.
“I filed my candidacy and frankly this is less about who’s running and more about what people expect from their next mayor,” Hogsett said.
Larry Vaughn is also running for the Democratic bid.
Brewer, an Indianapolis business man and Iraq War veteran, has Mayor Greg Ballard’s backing as the GOP candidate. However, Brewer has never run for office before.
“I’m not a politician, and I’ve never run for office before,” Brewer said. “But I bring a vast educational background and history in corporate America and the Marine Corps. to the table. Lots of leadership experience and this position does not intimidate me in the least.”
The GOP kept Brewer a secret at his request. They said Brewer was waiting to make his announcement so he could roll it out in his own way. News of his candidacy leaked out in January.
Brewer has three other challengers: Jocelyn-Tandy Adande, Terry Michael and Darrel Morris.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis City-County Council has voted to override Mayor Greg Ballard’s veto of Proposition 47, which would provide $4.7 million in upgrades and equipment for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
The City-County Council voted 28-1 to override the veto.
“When we work together, we can meet the needs of our city in a way that showcases our commitment to the issues that matter most. Tonight was the Council at its best, and I look forward to continuing my service to our great city,” said council member Pam Hickman.
Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth released this statement:
Tonight the Indianapolis City County Council voted to overturn the Mayor’s veto of Proposal 47 28-1. This is an important vote for our city and affirms the Council’s strong support for public safety. We look forward to seeing the $4.7 million dollars appropriated with the veto override to be used quickly for equipping and training our IMPD officers.
Jenn Pittman, communications director for Mayor Ballard, issued this statement:
The Mayor remains committed to safeguarding the city’s fiscal stability and meeting critical public safety needs as identified by our public safety agencies. One of the chief concerns about Prop. 47 is that none of the items it seeks to fund were requested by our public safety agencies. Neither DPS nor IMPD were included in the conversation. We hope to see lines of communication improve between the Council and our public safety agencies regarding operational needs and the use of tax dollars. With limited resources, it is absolutely necessary that we make wise spending decisions and live within our means.
Ballard chose to veto the bill on April 10, drawing the ire of councillors and the Fraternal Order of Police.
“Quite simply we believe the mayor’s veto is irresponsible,” FOP President Rick Snyder said at the time.
Ballard said earlier in April that the money should be used to pay back a debt when the city-council passed a measure to hire around 80 new officers last year.
“It’s out of budget, no one’s asked for it,” said Mayor Ballard. “It never came up with public safety leadership or IMPD leadership.”