Peyton Manning & The Colts Aren’t Going To The Big Game, But Indianapolis Is Still Reaping The Benefits Of Hosting Its First Super Bowl   Leave a comment

OK, the Colts season didn’t exactly go as planned. Peyton Manning didn’t play one snap, the team faltered right out of the gate and a promising road to a “home game” in the Super Bowl has turned out to be anything but that. Peyton was missing in action and it proved how he could actually be the MVP of the league without even stepping on the field. That’s how important he is/was to the team.

As disappointing as Colts fans are, there is still major upside to hosting a Super Bowl for the first time and local residents can take some consolation in the opportunities that have arisen to help develop, rebuild and renovate all types of infrastructure for the city and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

The major property that was developed specifically for the Super Bowl is the new J.W. Marriott Hotel that will serve as the media headquarters for the game. Clad in Colts-blue glass, the J.W. Marriott is a landmark connected to the convention center where the NFL will host its NFL Experience Fan Festival. And starting on January 27th, Tailgate Town will take over a three block radius downtown offering a variety of interactive games for fans including a zip line that will hover over Capital Avenue. Further east, almost $12MM is being spent on improving Georgia Street, a promenade open to the public that will offer all types of food and live entertainment as fans make their way from the convention center to Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.

Away from all the main action though is where the real opportunities begins with a major effort to invigorate the Near Eastside which is a 44-square block area east of downtown. When applying for the Super Bowl bid in 2008, the committee decided to make a strong effort to include this area as part of its plan to host the event.  This is an area that had high crime rates and poverty as well as a very high foreclosure rate.

The centerpiece of the plan for the neighborhood called for a community center to be built which coincided perfectly with the Super Bowl. Since 1993, the NFL pledges $1MM to the host city to build a community center. The grant must be matched in by local participants and the financing was met with a great effort from multiple sources. Including the NFL’s grant, the overall value of the center will total almost $8MM and be called the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center. It will be located on the grounds of the local high school and include fitness operations, a media studio, a mobile computer lab, an educational greenhouse and garden, an instructional kitchen and an art studio.

Over a dozen organizations will offer programs to 4,000-5,000 local students, as well as adults, in the 27,000 sf facility. In addition to this, plans are underway to rehabilitate housing, improve local infrastructure and add new retail components like grocery stores that will now be attracted to better locations.

Beyond the community center, plans to revitalize the Near Eastside include rehabilitating housing, improving the streetscape and diversifying the retail mix. By the time the Super Bowl has begun, 250 homes are expected to be renovated and ready for occupancy, a few new condos are in development and a senior living home has already opened. New stores, such as a 4,000 sf food coop, are opening up on streets with new sidewalks, lighting and storm sewers.

What started in 2008 as part of the Super Bowl bid has transformed into a major revival for a community that has hung tough and waited through a storm. So even though hosting the Super Bowl is a big deal, its only one game, and most of us won’t have any idea of what the short/long term benefits are for Indy, but the local residents will and that’s what matters.

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Posted January 20, 2012 by CBC REalta Group in CRE Trends

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