City right to take cautious approach

Indianapolis-based developer Gershman Partners is planning a mammoth retail project in Greenwood that it says would cost $90 million and include 700,000 square feet of space, putting it on par with the city’s major shopping centers.

Greenwood Town Center is slated for the southeast quadrant of the interchange of Interstate 65 and County Line Road. Construction is expected to begin late next year and be completed about a year later.

Gershman has developed several major retail projects in central Indiana, including Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville and The Bridges in Carmel. The latter project just added a 120,000-square-foot Market District store. The Town Center project would include shopping, dining and entertainment tenants. Leasing already is under way, according to Gershman.

“With our proven track record of developments, we have the vision, expertise, and skill set to create this new retail and entertainment center,” Eric Gershman, principal of Gershman Partners, said in a news release. “The Greenwood Town Center will become a first-class destination for both the south side of Indianapolis and the surrounding region.”

Gershman touted favorable demographics for the project. Johnson County is the third-fastest-growing county in the state, putting the center within a 20-minute drive of 385,000 people and 150,000 households. More than 90,000 vehicles will be able to see the mall daily as they pass by on I-65, the developer said.

The project will benefit from several other major retailers at the interchange, including a Kroger Marketplace, a Super Walmart and a proposed Costco. The interchange was recently upgraded as part of $36 million Major Moves project that improved I-65 from Southport Road to Main Street in Greenwood.

Under a proposal the redevelopment commission would need to approve, the city would offer to pay up to $2 million in incentives. The money was approved when GoodSports planned to build its facility at the site in 2014. Mayor Mark Myers said the money likely will be used for drainage, sewer and stormwater modifications and additions that are needed at the site.

The location has been problematic for the city. Originally, sporting goods retailer Cabela’s planned a major store, with the city chipping in considerable assistance. Then the chain backed out. After that, GoodSports proposed an athletic complex and hotel. The city learned a valuable lesson from the Cabela’s debacle and toned down the incentives. But this proposal, too, came a cropper.

Let’s hope this third time is a charm. The possibilities are significant, but the city is taking an appropriately cautionary path, and the incentives appear more realistic.

At issue

A new, major commercial development is planned for a prominent Greenwood site.

Our point

The city learned valuable lessons from previous proposals for the land and is taking an appropriately cautionary path in offering incentives.