New Plans as INDOT Takes Land for Project I-465/I-69

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Completion of a freeway widening project on the northeast portion of the I-465 loop is still years away, but the first signs of change are there.

Entire buildings next to the interchange with I-69 are gone, and the newly constructed building carvana the car vending machine tower is emptied as the business prepares to move a short distance away.

These buildings, along with portions of dozens of other properties in and around Castleton, stood in the way of the Indiana Department of Transportation. Clear Path Projecta $435 million venture to add lanes to I-465 and rebuild its interchange with I-69.

Indiana Department of Transportation has spent more than $10 million so far buying them from landowners, according to a request for IndyStar records of properties acquired by INDOT through fall 2021. That number will likely rise, as the Carvana case is still before the courts, even though construction is just around the corner this spring.

Chronology: How Project Clear Path will affect your journey

The taking of private land is an integral part of public works projects. Governments have the power to do this under the legal concept known as eminent domain – the power to force a landowner to sell their property for public use. State and local governments use the threat of eminent domain to agree with the landowner on a sale price for their property, based on an appraisal. If that doesn’t work, both parties take the matter to court.

Sometimes no land acquisition is needed to make a project work – as in the case of the North Split reconstruction project, whose footprint is shrinking – and sometimes a lot, as in the case of the sixth section of the project I- 69 from Martinsville to Indianapolis, where the acquisition of the right-of-way represents one tenth of the total cost of the project, according to the project’s financial documents.

The Clear Path project has attracted attention because it requires the taking of land in a dense commercial area, forcing the relocation of several companies, large and small.

On I-465, the project extends from White River to Fall Creek; on Binford Boulevard from 75th Street to I-465; on I-69 from the interchange to 86th Street.

The reconstruction requires the addition of lanes on the interchange ramps, including a new ramp directly connecting traffic from eastbound I-465 to northbound I-69.

The site of this new ramp – where several buildings once stood – is now a field of straw, grass and utility marking flags, prepared for possible construction.

The only building not yet cleared on this path is the Carvana Car Vending Machine.

What’s happening to Carvana?

The state’s first Carvana tower — a seven-story vending machine that mechanically brings cars to the waiting customer — appeared on I-69 in December 2018.

Less than two years later, INDOT announced its plan for the Clear Path expansion project. Project documents released in the fall of 2020 called for the demolition and relocation of four businesses, including a car dealership.

INDOT has yet to price Carvana, but this parcel on Summit Hill Drive was valued at $1.7 million in 2021, according to city property records.

The concessionaire plans to move about a quarter mile south to a property that has been vacant for 28 years and was originally considered for an amusement park, according to planners’ notes for a Sept. 9 Metropolitan Development Commission hearing.

The 18-acre section of land at the north corner of the I-465 I-69 interchange was wholly owned by real estate company 421 Realty, until INDOT purchased 8 of the easternmost acres in 2020 for $3.1 million.

Last summer, 421 Realty asked the city to remove the amusement park restriction on its remaining 10 acres, divide those acres into two lots, and grant a waiver to allow construction of a 75-acre building. feet tall.

Planners noted minimal issues with the height of the building, given that the land is surrounded by highways and other commercial uses. They also wrote that the architecture of the building “is unique and provides a prominent identity and brand image associated with the business”.

Site plans submitted by Carvana show a planned seven-storey car park and tower for one of the new subdivided lots off Castleton Road, on approximately 3 acres.

The Department of Metropolitan Development has approved these plans and applications; Carvana must now go to the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services for building permits. Carvana has not yet submitted a bid there, a city spokesperson said.

Demolished buildings

The vast majority of properties seized for Project Clear Path took place in 2020, according to IndyStar’s request for records. In these cases, INDOT reached a settlement directly with the owner and paid them their appraised value.

The vacant 8-acre lot was INDOT’s largest single acquisition by square footage; his biggest acquisition in terms of price, so far, was a hotel near I-69 that was demolished.

INDOT spent $6 million to acquire nearly 2 acres of the property where the Suburban Extended Stay Northeast was located. Its owner, Choice Hotel, did not respond to a request for comment.

The hotel and at least three other buildings were completely removed, all adjacent to each other along the north corner of the I-465 and I-69 interchange.

According to INDOT records and public property records, these buildings included the Hotel, Attaboy Plumbing, World Class Car Care and an office building housing several businesses.

Attaboy Plumbing’s location just off the busy I-69/I-465 interchange for the past 15 or so years has been helpful in growing the small business customer base.

“It was nice to be seen there, of course,” manager Beth Tooke said. “It really helps that we’ve been here for so long.”

The six-person team voluntarily moved out of the property they rented on Bash Street last February, one of two buildings on the street owned by Sexton Realty, LLC. Sexton Realty, LLC, was established in 1996 and dissolved by the state beginning in January, according to company filings. IndyStar’s attempts to contact registered owner Kevin Sexton were unsuccessful.

Rather than just a settlement, INDOT had to take the two Sexton Realty properties to a court of eminent domain. In this process, once INDOT has paid for the property based on the amount specified by a judicial appraisal, INDOT may use the property for construction, although the parties continue to determine the amount to be paid for the property before the tribunal. . These procedures are underway for the building which housed Attaboy Plumbing and completed for the other, which housed World Class Car Care.

Since Attaboy Plumbing has been able to build up a loyal clientele, the switch to an officeless system, where Tooke sends plumbers to their homes, has worked well. So far, she says, this is their permanent solution.

World Class Car Care is moving to a “nearby location,” owner Daniel Hamblin said in a Feb. 5 recorded voicemail on the old office’s phone number. He said on the recorded message that he would open in about two weeks.

Hamblin did not respond to a request for comment.

Who else is impacted?

Across from these demolished properties and inland away from the highway, where INDOT has purchased a fifth of an acre, Wheaton World Wide Movers has closed its visitor lobby. Trucks and employees are still in the back, but employees did not answer the door and company executive Mark Kirschner did not respond to a request for comment.

Across I-69, the impacts are much more minimal: a tenth or less of an acre of miscellaneous properties.

In the case of the Red Roof Inn on North Shadeland Avenue, INDOT spent $20,500 to take an 11-foot-wide strip of owner Akshay Patel’s parking lot for the duration of construction. This will, however, prevent guests from accessing any of the entrances to the hostel for that duration, which is approximately two and a half years.

“It will bother some guests, but it’s not life or death,” said Patel, whose Kuber of Indiana LLC owns the inn.

He’s also concerned that the planned noise barrier will cover his Red Roof Inn sign which is now visible from the freeway.

Moser Consulting on Castleway West Drive loses a bit more — a third of an acre — but it’s just an overflow parking lot they hardly ever use, said marketing manager Malinda Lowder.

These small acquisitions cost INDOT a range of approximately $3,000 to $54,000.

So far, Jeff Glass, director of the Indiana Lighting Center, has seen no impact since its owner, Leeper Electric Service, gave away a tenth of an acre for $12,000.

“When construction starts,” he said, “that could be a whole different matter.”

Contact IndyStar transportation reporter Kayla Dwyer at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @kayla_dwyer17.

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