Massive surface parking lots have no place in an active and successful city’s downtown. Fortunately, they are increasingly seen as prime opportunities for development. The North Of South Project is planned to replace a good portion of the giant swath of asphalt located at the southeast corner of this aerial:
Another crucial location is at the former Market Square Arena. There have been failed condominium proposals here, and with the Bank One Operations Center still planned next door, it will likely be a target for development if the economy gets back on track.
The lot at South and Meridian was also a slated project that fell victim to the economic downturn. The lot at South and Missouri is next to Lucas Oil Stadium, so the potential is there, but I’d imagine the lot owners make a pretty penny off of game day parking, so perhaps it will continue on as a surface lot.
That leaves us with the worst offender: Northwest downtown. The highest probability for development here is the ever-expanding campus of IUPUI. The relatively new Cosmopolitan at Michigan and Senate is geared towards renters, but has yet to fully capitalize on its retail component. I believe this is due in part to the vacant landscape between the downtown core and the Cosmo project. Future proposals in this area risk the same fate. It’s just a tough place to attract people at this point in time. Hopefully we’ll get there.
In my line of work, I often view downtown through aerial photos, and the size of these beasts immediately jump out. We often hear about the separation between the downtown core and the surrounding neighborhoods that is perpetuated by the interstate highways. These surface lots are just as bad. Fortunately for us, they are a much easier problem to fix.