Stall writes in part:
Not long ago, developers seemed to vie for every square inch of open ground in the vicinity of the just-completed Lucas Oil Stadium.While Hohmann puts the blame on the economy, Tim Dora, partner, in Dora Hotel Co., which owns several properties, including a parking garage and two new hotels, near Lucas Oil Stadium, offers a contrary view.
A gaggle of midsize hotels were in the planning stages. A Dallas-based firm investigated purchasing a section of South Meridian Street property (including
the lot upon which Shapiro’s Deli sits) for a retail and residential project.
Even more dramatically, a $480 million development called Legends District-SoDo was slated to pack some 500 hotel rooms, 200 condos, a 3,400-seat theater and 175,000 square feet of retail space into the shadow of the football stadium. For a while there, downtown’s far-south side seemed set to become a “destination” neighborhood.
What a difference a couple of years—and the worst economic downturn in decades—makes. These days, the entire neighborhood has been pushed, if not into a financial deep freeze, then at the very least to the back of the crisper drawer.
According to Abbe Hohmann, senior vice president and principal at the Indianapolis office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, the area suffers from the same triple whammy faced by most development “hot spots” these days: no available credit for projects, a terrible economic environment, and an excess of existing construction stock in practically every category.Also, there’s little demand for the retail, residential and entertainment envisioned for the area, Hohmann said.
Between Dora and Hohmann, it appears that Dora better understands the nature of professional sports stadiums. The fact it these stadiums are never the development tool the promoters claim they would be when sold to the public, with taxpayers and not the private sector, footing the bill.
“They thought they’d hit the lottery. I don’t think that was the case.”
[He] is somewhat more circumspect about the area’s prospects, economic recovery or no. He never thought Lucas Oil Stadium could be a reliable engine for a retail and residential renaissance.“
"Some of it had to do with comparable projects like United Center in Chicago. If you look at how it impacted the neighborhood around it, you really didn’t see anything like what was talked about here,” Dora said. “Even Conseco fieldhouse, if you look at how it impacted the surrounding neighborhood, it doesn’t seem like it was really the stimulus for any of that [development]. What’s around Conseco happened on its own.”
Indeed, he thinks the presence of a massive sports venue—and the massive crowds and traffic snarls it generates—hardly qualifies as an attraction.“
It’s almost more of a negative than an asset for most commercial uses,” Dora said. “Just because of the periodic traffic and noise and crowds. If you lived there, I don’t know if the tailgating is going to turn you on, or having people crawling all over your place 10 nights a year.”