Mayor Scott Fadness, Economic Development Director Megan Baumgartner and Launch Fishers founder John Wechsler took part in one of several panel discussions conducted Sept. 26 by Indy REAL, which stands for real estate ascension leaders, at TopGolf.
The panel theme was “Building a Plane while in Flight.” Fadness, Baumgartner and Wechsler discussed several construction projects in the city and what it took to get Fishers where it is today. They also talked about the city’s vision, which is to be smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial.
Fadness said developments alone aren’t responsible for the city’s success.
“With TopGolf, The Yard, we have about $400 million in real estate development in our downtown urban core, but that in itself, if that is all we did, it would not be enough to sustain the community,” he said. “We had to build an entrepreneurial and vibrant economic environment in the City of Fishers, and honestly, I think that’s what truly sets us apart. Everybody and their uncle are building mixed-use developments. I mean, you can go to any community and they’re trying to build a mixed-use development with apartments on top and retail on the first floor.
“How you build a diverse economic base to support those is the true recipe for long-term sustainability of our city.”
Fadness said part of Fishers’ success is achieved by aligning what residents want with what the business community wants.
“In the industrial age, the things manufacturing facilities want are entirely different than the things somebody would want to live next to,” he said. “Today, living next to a technology company is fine. In places, we can double-down things, align with what residents would want and what businesses would want. That’s the thing we should focus on.”
Wechsler said the mayor and city council work more like a CEO and board than traditional local government.
“What I see in what the mayor has done, what the council has provided and what this community has done for Fishers is, they all believe obviously in this movement, but our chief executive here has a board behind him that believes in this vision and enables him and empowers him to move forward in decision making and policies to support this entrepreneurial environment,” Wechsler said. “I would say probably the most important thing, aside from getting the right person for the (mayor’s) job, (is) choosing the ‘smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial’ as the lenses with which we are going to look at our community. It’s been unbelievable. That allows our education system, that allows our nonprofit community, that allows the business community, everyone, to use the same lenses.”
Wechsler said creating an environment for entrepreneurs and innovators to flourish is they key to attracting businesses.
During the panel discussion, Fadness said his only regret is not issuing a bond for downtown development several years ago, when costs weren’t spiking.
“If we had had the foresight, we would’ve bought as much property as possible and then developed it,” Fadness said.
Wechsler, however, lauded the city’s approach to growth.
“One thing I’ll say we’ve done pretty well is, we have identified our swim lanes early and stayed in them,” he said.
Business construction projects under way in Fishers include:
Project: BW: A 45,000-square-foot office building.
Location: The northeast corner of the ellipse and Municipal Drive.
Project: Flexware Innovation: A 24,000-square-foot office building for Flexware Innovations and others for build-to-suit space.
Location: The northwest corner of the ellipse and Municipal Drive.
Project: CRG/Browning: A five-story apartment building and retail unit.
Location: Northwest of 116th Street and Moore Street.
Project: First Internet Bank headquarters, retail space, boutique hotel, parking garage
Location: Southeast of 116th Street and Municipal Drive.
Project: Hub & Spoke, a 94,000-square-foot mixed-use development with a design center, retail showrooms and more.
Location: Southwest of 106th Street and Crosspoint Boulevard
Project: Riverview Hospital, an urgent care and ER standalone building
Location: Northwest of 116th Street and Exit 5 Parkway
Project: The Yard at Fishers District, a variety of restaurants, businesses, apartments and more
Location: Southeast of 116th Street and IKEA Way
Project: Chipotle – by Bank of America
Location: Northwest of 116th Street and Cumberland Road