Cityscape: ‘Smart, vibrant’ Fishers comes to life through mixed-use developments 


Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness often calls Fishers a “smart, vibrant, entrepreneurial city,” and city leaders are working to further cultivate those qualities.

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Megan Baumgartner

“The type of development that we’ve found is great at creating a sense of place and providing amenities with housing is mixed use is the way to go,” said Megan Baumgartner, director of economic and community development for Fishers. 

One such development is Fishers District, south of 116th Street and west of Interstate 69. Fishers District has restaurants such as 1933 Lounge and Rize, amenities like outdoor games and multi-family housing. 

“You’re able to create density for retailers and businesses that people outside that development can come in and enjoy,” Baumgartner said. “In the evening, there’s a built-in population of people who can walk downstairs and go to Peace Water Winery or go across the street to 1933. We think that really is what people want and (is) a sustainable model for multi-family and retail.”

Baumgartner said the city is “very thoughtful” with developments and that Fishers District is a prime example. She said mixed-use developments have high rental rates, usually at 97 percent occupancy or above.
“You just can’t find anything (available to rent), and I think it’s because people want some place to walk to,” Baumgartner said. “More people are working from home, and they have the ability to live and work in an area without getting into a car.” 

Baumgartner said mixed-use properties aren’t just for millennials. She said working professionals and empty nesters are also drawn to the developments.

The Depot, which has apartments and retail at the northeast quadrant of Municipal Drive and 116th Street, was the city’s first mixed-use development. Baumgartner said Fishers first began pursuing the project 10 years ago. Similar developments include the Spark apartments on north street and Nickel Plate Station, which is under construction, on the north side of 116th Street. 

“We are creating vibrancy and amenities in areas they didn’t previously exist,” Baumgartner said. “I think Fishers District and Nickel Plate District have proven this model is effective and works and people want this for a place to go. As a city administration focusing on multi-family housing, this is really where we are looking at and putting efforts behind.” 

Thompson Thrift, a real estate company, is developing Slate, a multi-family initiative south of Fishers District. 

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A rendering of the Slate built-to-rent development. (Rendering courtesy of Eric Wojak)

“We are thrilled we can be connected to Fishers District and very thankful for all the continued success it has,” said Eric Wojak, the vice president of development for Luxury Leased Homes through Thompson Thrift. “We are extending the energy further south.”

Wojak said Slate residents will be able to connect to Fishers District through a linear park that features trails that connect to the northern property line of Slate, which borders the southern property line of Fishers District. 

“The community for Slate is unique. As far as we are aware, it’s the first of its kind in Indianapolis and potentially in the Midwest,” Wojak said. “It’s what we call a built-for-rent community. The national shift from owning to renting is taking place in every community we interact with.”

Slate offers two styles: a villa with one, two and three bedrooms constructed in a duplex manner, and a townhome, which has three or four bedrooms and an attached garage. 

Wojak said townhome rents begin at $3,000 a month and the villas start at $1,600.  

Slate broke ground in November 2021 and is expected to open the first quarter of 2023.

A new project

A recent example of Fishers pursuing mixed-use developments is the CRG Residential development at the northwest corner of Allisonville Road and 96th Street. 

The $98 million, 82-acre mixed-use project proposees 380 market-rate apartments, 66 for-sale townhomes, four retail out lots totaling 35,000 square feet and plans to replace the Michigan-left turn at Allisonville Road and 96th Street with a roundabout. CRG Residential also is donating 25 acres of the property to the City of Fishers to add to the White River Park proposed along the west side of the development. With the donation, the park now has 123 acres.

“A couple years ago, we were looking for the opportunity to redevelop that entire corner, and (the developer) had purchased the old Walgreens building down there and put together a really extensive and exciting new development with multi-family, for-rent housing, for-sale townhomes and new retail,” said Megan Baumgartner, the city’s director of economic and community development. “The two big selling points for us is they are contributing funds for us to be able to redo the intersection at 96th Street and Allisonville Road and they are also dedicating 25 additional acres to the city for White River Park. We will be able to expand the park there and completely redo an intersection.”