City Leaders Shouldn’t Kneel For Anthem

A week or two back, there was a bit of fervor on SkyscraperCity’s Indianapolis Development sub-forum (a great arena for our city’s development nerds) over a proposed parking lot on Virginia Avenue adjacent to Anthem’s headquarters.

Yes, that verdant, lush meadow directly across from the world-class Cultural Trail and soon-to-be Red Line BRT. Yes, that wondrous, acute green just north of the nation’s best breakfast. 

This bad boy:

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.27.09 AM

With the lot representing one of the Mile Square’s most underutilized public spaces (let’s not talk about the north lot of the Statehouse), it was long speculated that a developer would come up with…something. Especially given the proximity to the soon-to-be-finished Red Line, and serving as a critical block connecting Fletcher Place with downtown. Another surface parking lot seems less like a surprise than a slap in the face.

SkyscraperCity commenter GarfieldPark sums it up completely:

So Indianapolis received approval from the people of Marion County to increase taxes on ourselves to help pay for improved bus rapid transit. The City – County Council voted to approve this increase in taxation and funding for the rapid transit improvements. The City planning staff spent a couple of years working on the Re-Zone Indy plan with much puplic input and participation – in coodination with IndyGo, the Indpls MPO and others to develop new planning and development strategies with one of the primary goals being to promote higher density, transit oriented development near BRT station locations – – – and then IndyGo and others start firming up plans for building one of the first BRT stops right in a prime development location, midway between the core central business district of Indianapolis and the growing, revitalizing neighborhoods of Fletcher Place, Holy Rosary and Fountain Square – – – and what does Anthem, our largest Fortune 500 company, think is an appropriate thing to put on that prime undeveloped piece of transit oriented, downtown property?? A nice mixed use, dense development with perhaps a mix of residential, a little office, some commercial, perhaps some hidden underground and/or interior parking?? No – not quite. Instead they think it makes sense to propose putting a 58 space surface parking lot on the prime piece of property!!

Disgusting. What a show of disrespect to downtown Indy. Terrible. If this still needs some type of approval (regional center, zoning variance, etc) this would be a good meeting to attend to remonstrate against this pathetic, proposed underuse of this prime piece of downtown property.

Well said.

There was recently a bit of worry regarding Anthem’s future in Indianapolis, especially with construction of a 21 story Atlanta office space. With Anthem’s insistence that it was in fact staying, I would hate to see city leaders bow to their intentions as a show of good faith.

In a recent IndyStar article, it was nice to see Andy Howard, president of the Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association, come forward and say this:

“There’s obviously some demand for food in that area,” Howard said. “It seems like if they were to put a parking garage wrapped with some kind of mixed-use construction, that would be a much better use.”

what a splendid and creative use of green space

Let’s hope that city leaders don’t kneel to Anthem, and instead force them to stand for better urban design principles.


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