College Avenue Nodes: 54th Street Edition.

This is the first post in a weekly series focusing on each of the College Avenue Business Nodes.  On Saturday, February 25th, I met with Mary Owens, who is the head of the Land Use Committee for the Meridian Kessler neighborhood.  I would like to thank her for the helpful information that she was able to provide during our walk from 54th Street to 42nd Street.  First up: 54th and College.


The northwest corner has seen the most recent changes, so I thought I would start the feature there.  Mary Owens mentioned that the building has recently been purchased by a developer who has been helpful in restoring the exterior of the building.  She said that Twenty Tap even put some money towards the cause to make the facade more inviting.  In other news, a commenter on the Skyscraper Cities forum has mentioned that Fat Dan’s is moving from Broad Ripple to the former Bokay Florist spot.  However, I have not seen conformation of this fact, and Mary was unaware of this development.


The northeast is now dominated by Fresh Market.  The neighborhood attempted to get the store to locate closer to the corner, but Fresh Market demanded to have the parking up front.  It is an unfortunate decision in my eyes.  My neighbors and I have wondered about what could go in here if Fresh Market ever folded, and we agree that it reminds us of a CVS or Walgreens.  Regardless, we are generally happy to have the market at this location.


Mary mentioned that the neighborhood is trying to get Moe and Johnny’s to work with them on restoring the sidewalk along this stretch of College.  Failing that, they would like to at least see some paint striping that demarcates the pedestrian area.


This corner has seen the least amount of change in the past 5 years.  The Jazz Kitchen has recently opened a carry-out pizza place known as Bebop, and there’s a new hair salon along 54th Street.   This is also one of 2 corners at the intersection that have new bicycle racks at the bus stops.  I did not take any photos on Saturday, so I’ll simply rerun an old picture of Yat’s that I took back in 2008:

Comments 9

  • The Fresh Market will never fold, unless the whole company goes under. That particular store is by volume and revenue, number 3 out of around 150 stores now. after a year of work there, ive seen several days in there where we almost marked 30thousand. The whole store has raked in over 300thousand in one day, on several occasions, and its not often shocking to see people spend 800 to a thousand dollars on groceries in here. Maxwell shopped there, ive seen buddhist monks come to find specialty items there. and even with all that going for them, they went through 3 General Managers in less than a year not because of sales obviously, but because TFM is so suburban by nature, every GM, Human resources, or mngmnt folks that come through there didnt mesh well with the neighborhood kids working there. We tried to get more bike racks since they were full most the time… denied, We tried to get a patio in the front since so many customers always requested a place to sit down and eat, denied too. Go around and look how many people are just eating in their cars in the parking lot. It’s a crazy place and when you dont listen to common sense objections like those, on top of mediocre pay… it gets old. It’s still a great place to shop though, just dont go during evening rush hour,

  • An argument over whether the Fresh Market “building” is good or bad just highlights one of the fundamental conflicts in urban redevelopment. Architects and planners always talk about buildings, and residents always talk about uses. Fresh Market said, simply enough, that they wouldn’t come except in “this” building, and here, the use won over the building. I’m very, very, very happy its successful, and really, really, really hope the chain does well enough to stay in business for decades, because the building, without Fresh Market inside is perhaps best suited for some uses the neighborhood really, really, really didn’t want in the first place. It’s only an easy issue when there’s only a building, and no specific use being proposed, because unless you’ve lived a very, very, very long time, it’s awfully difficult to imagine that buildings, over time, need to be able to adapt to different uses.

  • Hear hear, neighbor.

    Like everyone else, I love having the Fresh Market there. I walk to that corner often and probably spend more money there than I would like to admit. If it were my decision, though, I would have told Fresh Marsket to take a hike and built the building we wanted with a Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods or some other specialty food store in its place.

    Aesthetically the building isn’t bad, but in practice it’s awful. For pedestrians it’s dangerous or at the very least uncomfortable along 54th because they pushed parking all the way up to the sidewalk, eliminating the possibility for a greenspace buffer between vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Not only that, but you have to bob and weave between cars once you reach the parking lot. There are marked crosswalks, at least.

    There is, however, no open window space, no interaction with the store from passers by. There’s only one facade, meaning it would be difficult or impossible to break into multipe smaller stores should the needs of the intersection change if/when Fresh Market is no longer there. They may be extremely successful now, but if the whole company goes belly up or is sold and the location is no longer deemed suitable by some new ownership we’re going to be stuck with a terrible building.

    • My two biggest gripes with TFM as a store is their lack of local produce, and that their bread is heavily processed. Fortunately, Locally Grown Gardens has better quality food in each of those categories. I also can get awesome Scholar’s Inn bread at the downtown Marsh or even the 56th and Illinois Safeway.

  • I must say “Locally Grown Gardens” is a really neat and unique place. We are lucky to have it in our neighborhood. At the same time, I can’t really complain about having TFM either. I shop there regularly, and they are better than average grocery store. I agree with some of the criticism, but overall I think we are better off with it (than without it). I live on the edge of Broad Ripple & Merdian Kessler neighborhoods, and I am pleased to say that we have several options to choose from when buying produce/meat/groceries (TFM, Marsh, Kroger, Safeway, Locally Grown Gadens, Kincaid’s, etc) Not all neighborhoods have so many options.
    In general, it’s kind of hard to complain about this corner, when this is much better than average (in terms of amount of small businesses, store fronts, daily foot traffic) for Indy.

    • You are correct, and my complaints are probably in the realm of “first world problems.” But I do believe in raising awareness about where our food originates, and TFM falls short on this issue. When they first opened, it was spring: the perfect time of year for local asparagus. Yet their asparagus was imported from Chile. I have yet to see them address this issue.

      Regardless, I still shop there a lot. They have food that I can’t otherwise get without going on a longer trip. I like their meat, dairy, cereals, beer, coffee, and chocolate.

      • I agree. Actually those are mostly the items I buy there as well (plus bread, I like their bread and I didn’t realized it was over-processed…I will have to check their labels more closely next time)

  • To add a little recent history, CATH coffeehouse and bakery used to occupy the spot where BeBop Pizza is now located from the mid-1980s to 1999. They renovated a gas station that used to sit on the southeast corner of the Atlas Super Market parking lot (where Fresh Market is now) in 1999 and were located there until late 2004 when they lost their lease (when the Atlas folks sold to Marsh).

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