Looking ahead: Collier said Freije, government center remodel happening in 2020


The new year will be a busy one in the Geist area.

In Lawrence, for example, Mayor Steve Collier announced a remodel of the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St., as the police department moves out and into its new headquarters at 5150 N. Post Rd. Utility office personnel will move into the government center. Other remodels are scheduled, as well.

“We will begin demolition and building at (Lawrence Fire Dept.) Station 38 on McCoy Street,” Collier said. “It’s our oldest fire station, and that will start in late spring. It will be an easier building (to construct) than the police headquarters. If weather cooperates, it should be complete by the end of the year.”

In addition, real estate developer CityScape will begin building a 250-unit apartment complex on Lee Road. Construction for a Hilton hotel will begin just north of the Otis Avenue and 56th Street intersection. 

Collier said the city also will begin looking at providing more affordable housing.

“We mean $200,000 to $250,000 housing,” Collier said. “It will fulfill a need.”

CIG COVER 1231 Looking ahead3
Freije, a commercial refrigeration company, will begin construction of a facility in Lawrence in 2020. (Submitted rendering)

Freije, a commercial refrigeration company, will begin building a facility on Pendleton Pike. Williams Comfort Air will move into a building on 59th Street, and Koch Refrigeration also will come to town. Meyer Plastics opened in 2019. The four companies combined will create 700 new jobs with a yearly salary of $55,000 and higher to the city.

Collier said Freije will begin construction in the first quarter of 2020.

Moreover, Collier said the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township plans to move its bus depot from 59th Street to 56th Street and Poindexter Drive. Currently, the district parks 120 buses in 80 spots.

Outside of construction-related news, Collier said the Bodyworn by Utility’s Active Shooter Response Technology will roll out in MSDLT schools in January and February.

The technology is being tested, but Collier said it will be operational at Lawrence Central and Lawrence North high schools before the end of the second semester. The goal is to have the technology, which can detect when a gunshot is fired, installed in each elementary and middle school.

In the Fishers area, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the city will move forward on previously announced projects.

“I think next year will be a year for building on ideas already out there in the public, and

there will be a lot of that going on,” he said. “You’ll see a lot of construction in the downtown area on private developments like the First Internet Bank, the hotel (and) two multi-family developments being built. There’s a lot of construction going to happen in the downtown area.”

In December 2018, Browning Investments announced a $157 million development for downtown Fishers on 116th Street. The north side of the project will be built by Browning and CRG Residential and will feature a five-story apartment building with retail units, a public parking garage, a plaza gathering space and renovated downtown buildings. The south side will feature a 168,000-square-foot, six-story office building to be First Internet Bank’s new headquarters, along with a 110-room boutique hotel, the Hotel Nickel Plate, and a parking garage. The project is projected to be complete by fall 2021.

At the same time, construction on a tunnel for the Nickel Plate Trail under 116th Street will begin, as will construction on the first leg of a trail from 106th Street to 116th Street. The trail is expected to open in 2021. The first portions of Ind. 37 construction also will begin, starting on the 126th and 146th street interchanges in the spring.

Fadness said residents also can expect roadwork on 96th Street.

“We are excited about the ability to build it to four lanes from Lantern to Cumberland (roads) and do lane reconfiguration and beautification,” Fadness said. “It’ll be a significant year of construction for the city.”

A Fishers and Lawrence collaboration

Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier said he and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness often collaborate because the cities share a border. Collier said the municipalties have a few joint projects proposed with McCordsville and Indianapolis, such as changing the Carroll Road and 86th Street intersection in McCordsville into a roundabout.

“That’s a terrible intersection. It’s a four-way stop that has been dramatically outgrown. It’s too much traffic, so (Fadness) and I both talked about the possibility of getting McCordsville, Indianapolis, Lawrence and Fishers to come together to build roundabout there,” Collier said.

No roundabout plan has been established.