Indianapolis awarded grant to market former auto manufacturing sites


The city of Indianapolis was just awarded a $157,000 federal grant that city officials will match in an attempt to invest in four pieces of property that were once home to major auto manufacturers. The funds will pay for research that will be used to market the properties that are currently owned by private companies, trusts and LLC's.

"Sixty-five-hundred jobs lost since the year 2000, and almost 5 million square feet that is not being used," said John Bartholomew with the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development.

Chrysler shut down its plant on the west side of Indianapolis in September of 2005, dislocating 881 workers. The 46-acre site has since been cleared, but it is still vacant.

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Navistar dislocated 3,686 workers by July of 2012 when it shut down its operations on the east side.

General Motors' 100-acre site near downtown is also not being used efficiently. In all, 785 workers were dislocated by June of 2011.

Ford was the last to go in 2012 leaving hundreds of acres of land available.

The properties are not easy to sell considering their size, some of the aging buildings and possible environmental damage in years past, but city officials and Develop Indy are convinced they can do it.

They will use a total of $314,784 to figure out how to best help market the properties.

"A grant like this provides a great opportunity to help us get a leg up on marketing that property, additionally, and with a little extra effort across the country," said Molly Deuberry, a spokeswoman for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce that is merging with Develop Indy.

Some of the marketing will be done behind closed doors and online. The GM Stamping Plant has its own brochures on the Develop Indy website.

City officials had first laid out a plan to redevelop the property into a mixed use project, but it never moved forward. Fox59 has been told the longtime, preferred option for that property and the three others are manufacturers of any kind looking to hire plenty of Hoosiers.

"The whole end result of this is the opportunity for job creation," said Bartholomew.

The project is expected to take 18 months to complete.