INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Public Schools is moving forward with a plan to sell the former Coca Cola bottling plant on Massachusetts Avenue, but City-County Council members say that movement was done without their approval.
“We were absolutely overlooked. We were overlooked by IPS because they did not involve us in that process at all and we were overlooked because nobody knew anything about the proposal until they asked us to sponsor it,” said Zach Adamson.
Council members say Indianapolis Public Schools struck a deal with the mayor’s office, giving the city control of the developer negotiations on the project that would bring apartments, a hotel, and shopping to the 11-acre site. But, many councilors tell us they are just learning about the deal.
The deal gives the city one year to come up with a project agreement with the developer. If they don’t come to terms, the city is on the hook for $13 million. Now, councilors want to know where that money is coming from.
“What do we do? Do we set money aside? Where do we find this money to get behind a multi-million dollar agreement, that they had no say in?”
Council members are also not sure if a one year time frame is long enough, for this big of a project. Historical preservation of the building may take a while. Pushing the deadline out and making it more likely the city will have to pay up.
“I know as a councilor that I do not want to tell somebody that I will pay them $12 million if something doesn’t happen if i do not have that money to back it up,” said Miller.
The council is working to stop the agreement. It wants the city to weigh in on the specifics of the project before getting behind the project. The proposal will be discussed next Monday when the metro development committee meets.
“The overall issue is not even the merits of the proposal. It very well could be a good proposal, but the point is that we really were not included in it. So we really do not know,” said Adamson.