Twenty years ago, visitors and residents alike described Downtown Indianapolis as “India-No-Place,” with little to do, few restaurants and even fewer places to be entertained. Today, Downtown Indianapolis is vibrant, growing and recognized as a national model for urban revitalization. The reasons for Downtown’s success are many.
Since 1990, more than $8.1 billion dollars of private, public and not-for-profit funds have been invested in Downtown, and a committed public-private partnership consistently recognizes the value of a strong heart and works together to assure the area’s success. Though there were many turning points in its revitalization, the completion of Circle Centre Mall was among the most important, as it created an attractive and important destination for visitors and residents alike. This spurred additional growth that resulted in new restaurants, shops, galleries, nightclubs, theaters and housing and also bolstered important institutions, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre and many others.
The Regional Center encompasses 6.5 square miles and functions as the “Downtown” for the City of Indianapolis. It is a hub of activity, with key services provided to the City, the State and a host of businesses and organizations, serving local, regional and global clients. Examples of institutions and businesses anchoring Downtown include: federal courts and offices; state courts and offices; Indiana State Museum; Indiana Convention Center and hotels; sports and entertainment complexes; educational facilities; medical centers; national and international headquarters; and research facilities. More than 120,000 Hoosiers work each day at jobs located in the Regional Center.
The Indianapolis Regional Center has a significant reputation for well-designed urban spaces, beginning with Alexander Ralston’s original 1821 plan for the Mile Square and George E. Kessler’s 1909 Parks and Boulevards Plan. This tradition was continued with the Central Canal and White River State Park plans conceived during the 1980s. Much of the Regional Center development is mixed-use where historic sites, redevelopment projects, campuses, public functions and private sector projects are intermixed.
DOWNTOWN AT A GLANCE
- More than 120,000 people work in Downtown Indianapolis.
- Downtown’s 20,000+ residents make it the city’s largest neighborhood.
- The 2012 Super Bowl will be held in Downtown Indianapolis.
- An expanded Indiana Convention Center and new JW Marriott opened in early 2011, moving Indianapolis to the nation’s 16th largest convention market from 32nd.
- It is home to the state’s government.
- Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and IU School of Medicine dominate Downtown’s Northwest quadrant.
- The NBA Indiana Pacers, NFL Indianapolis Colts, WNBA Indiana Fever and Triple A Indianapolis Indians call Downtown home.
- Downtown is home to 300 restaurants and more than 200 retail businesses.