Achievable Goal: No more giant surface parking lots in the Mile Square.

Massive surface parking lots have no place in an active and successful city’s downtown. Fortunately, they are increasingly seen as prime opportunities for development.  The North Of South Project is planned to replace a good portion of the giant swath of asphalt located at the southeast corner of this aerial:

Marked in green are the most likely targets for future development

Another crucial location is at the former Market Square Arena. There have been failed condominium proposals here, and with the Bank One Operations Center still planned next door, it will likely be a target for development if the economy gets back on track.

The lot at South and Meridian was also a slated project that fell victim to the economic downturn.  The lot at South and Missouri is next to Lucas Oil Stadium, so the potential is there, but I’d imagine the lot owners make a pretty penny off of game day parking, so perhaps it will continue on as a surface lot.

That leaves us with the worst offender: Northwest downtown.  The highest probability for development here is the ever-expanding campus of IUPUI.  The relatively new Cosmopolitan at Michigan and Senate is geared towards renters, but has yet to fully capitalize on its retail component.  I believe this is due in part to the vacant landscape between the downtown core and the Cosmo project.  Future proposals in this area risk the same fate.  It’s just a tough place to attract people at this point in time.  Hopefully we’ll get there.

In my line of work, I often view downtown through aerial photos, and the size of these beasts immediately jump out.  We often hear about the separation between the downtown core and the surrounding neighborhoods that is perpetuated by the interstate highways.  These surface lots are just as bad.  Fortunately for us, they are a much easier problem to fix.

Comments 9

  • Great post.
    I have looked from the top floor of the City County Building a few times. Each time I am amazed at the large portion of downtown that is paved. It’s shocking. I would love to see a property tax premium on each surface level parking spot phased in over the next ten years. Say $750.00 a year for each ground level parking space that is on private property. A similar tax for new above ground parking garages is sounds appealing as well. This provides an incentive to move parking underground.

  • I’m not 100% sure, but I think the CIB took the South & Missouri lot by eminent domain some time back. That would give them the distinction, with AUL/OneAmerica, of being the biggest surface parking owner in the Mile Square.

  • One major issue is the lack of on-street parking in the area. MLK (West), Michigan and New York could handle on-street parking during non-peak times. A fantasy – IUPUI makes millions off of parking fees.

  • I also think the amalgam of surface parking surrounding the Murat and Atheneaum should be shown. It is not a single lot but there are about 4 or 5 lots that are contiguous around there that add up to a lot of spaces and really effect the character of the area.

    • I thought about including the Murat lot, but I have no hope that it will be anything other than what it is now. The Atheneaum lot may be a bit more likely, but who knows. Good calls, regardless. Those blocks could be so much better than they are.

  • The lots surrounding the A are hardly ever occupied. My wife worked there for a while, so I had a pretty lengthy exposure. the lot to the east of there saw a lot of occupation, but the one south of the building, was never anywhere near full. It seems like a good place for a housing development of some sort.

    • This lot frustrates me as well. They use it for pay parking for the Murat. I drive down that alley every day to my house…it is amazing how many folks come in for shows like Wicked or Polka Boys and pay $10 to park there when there are obvious spots on the street.

      I also think the lot next to Chatterbox and next to MacNivens could be nicely filled in.

  • I have seen signs at the triangle lot across Michigan by the Cosmo indicating a sale for development. Not sure of its progress, but it would be good.

  • Downtown just needs that surge of residential population and it will be interesting to know when that will be. It’s both fun and frustrating dreaming up proper infill development within these lots. Bring on the light rail network to compliment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *