Carmel development would include nonprofit art groups, apartments, retail

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Ballet Theatre of Indiana artistic director Stirling Matheson envisioned a home not just for his organization but other nonprofit art organizations as well.

Matheson, who founded the Carmel-based ballet group with his wife, Sabrina, discovered that Northgate Redevelopment Group president/founder Sahar Montalvo embraced that vision.

Ballet Theatre of Indiana and Carmel-based Northgate Redevelopment Group announced at the ballet group’s benefit Aug. 16 at Prime 47 Carmel their plans to purchase  approximately four acres on the corner of Old Meridian and Main streets for a mixed-used development. The group has a purchase agreement for the land with Stout’s Footwear, whose owner Brad Stout plans to relocate in Carmel.

“Sahar has been an ideal partner. He’s really committed to proving this business model and using real estate as a way to build a better and more sustainable business model for nonprofits,” Matheson said.

The organization has been named the Central Indiana Performing Arts Center.

The building will be held as a real estate investment trust.

“That puts us in a situation that Ballet Theatre of Indiana can benefit from the proceeds of the building and a portion of every rent payment we get on the apartments, the retail and offices all of that is going to Central Indiana Performing Arts Center,” said Matheson, adding Ballet Theatre of Indiana is a division of Central Indiana Performing Arts Center. “That will give us a budget baseline that will keep us solid and sustainable and allow us to focus our fundraising on special projects instead of day-to-day expense. The other portion is going to Northgate Redevelopment Group and their investors.”

The building will include a dance rehearsal space and an art gallery, Matheson said.

“I’ll be soliciting donors and offering naming rights for individual studios as well as the Arts Center,” said Matheson, adding a name for the development has not been selected. “On the nonprofit side, I’m looking to raise at least $15 million. Then the rest of the expenses will be paid through Northgate Redevelopment Group’s investors and we’re also looking for TIF bonds through the city. We are partway through that process. We’re talking to the city but nothing is completely nailed down in terms of exactly of what percentage is TIF and what that bond is really going to look like.”

The arts area is 40,000 square feet.

“There will be cross training and recovery areas for the dancers, office space for us and potentially other organizations,” Matheson said. “There will be rehearsal space for us as well as others. The group floor will be modular space with an art gallery and will also have portions blocked off and turned into studio space if necessary.”

Matheson said the largest studio will have the ability to be converted into a small theater with approximately 130 seats.

However, he said his ballet organization will continue to perform in larger capacities, such as the 400-seat Basile Theatre at the Historic Atheneum in Indianapolis.

Matheson said he hopes the project will break ground in the spring of 2020. No projected opening has been forecasted yet.

“Most of it is four stories and the arts section is five stories,” Matheson said.

The building will include approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space, 40,000 square feet of office space and 60 apartments, Matheson said.

Matheson said he has talked with other arts nonprofits to gauge interest and see what kind of space those groups might need.

“I’ve talked to a number of nonprofits, and there has been at least some interest in everyone I talked to,” he said. “We’re figuring out who needs it. Now that it’s public I can reach out a bit more freely and tell more people about.

“We designed some of our spaces to be as modular as possible.” he said.

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