(image courtesy of RACER Trust)
The old General Motors stamping plant will go to a local developer, which could turn part of it into a new outdoor concert venue.
The RACER Trust says REI Investment will buy the 102 acre property just west of Lucas Oil Stadium. REI was one of four companies to bid for the property, which went into the trust after GM closed the plant in 2012 - it opened in 1930. But before the sale is official, "we have to find a suitable use or uses, make sure those are approved by RACER, obtain the necessary financing and close on the sale with the RACER Trust in the future," said Mike Wells, President of REI.
REI already has an agreement in principle with Mayor Greg Ballard's for a new Indianapolis-Marion County justice center to be built on the west side of the complex. "That is more a process the city has to move forward on, such as obtaining the necessary approval of the City-County Council," Wells said.
The eastern part of the old plant is expected to be developed as an amphitheater, with seating for up to 15,000. Even though part of the property is next to White River State Park, which hosts outdoor concerts on its lawn during the summer, Wells says he doesn't consider the amphitheater a competitor to the park. It is aimed more, he says, at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville. "We believe a majority of the people who attend concerts would rather attend them in downtown Indianapolis, where it is centrally located and access is much better." Wells says the venue will bring more money to other downtown businesses, like hotels and restaurants.
Among the companies turned down for the site was the Keystone Group, owned by Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir, who wanted the stamping plant site for a new soccer stadium.