It takes a village: Zionsville plans to develop 160-acres for retail, residential use


Zionsville Mayor John Stehr has a vision to expand the town’s most popular asset.

Stehr announced plans to create South Village, 160-acres of mostly undeveloped land between the historic brick Main Street south to Old 106th Street, during a March 27 State of the Town meeting at Town Hall.

At an estimated cost of $250 million, South Village will be a town-led planned unit development improving on what Stehr said the town already is, rather than building something new. The PUD will consolidate three separate existing PUDs and incorporate a new mixed use development code for the areas south of the downtown.

“The task before us is not to create Zionsville 2.0, it’s about evolving into the place where our children and grandchildren will also be proud to call home,” Stehr said.

Zionsville south village 106th
South Village is expected to develop underutilized areas from downtown to Old 106th Street.

Separate from the new comprehensive plan, the South Village PUD is an investment to create retail and residential space, including restaurants, shops, single family and townhomes, senior housing and a minimum of 40 percent green space. The design will also include a plaza and trail connectivity to downtown. The plan would also realign Zionsville Road north of Eagle Creek via dual traffic circles to line up with First Street, opening up about 13 acres of property for development just south of downtown. The PUD is expected to include a tax increment financing district.

“If you are on Zionsville Road there will be a visual reminder into our storied history, a view into what makes our town unique,” Stehr said. “Also, a new civic plaza that will draw us together, celebrate holidays, special events, farmers markets, festivals, concerts and the simple joy of sharing an ice cream cone with our children and grandchildren.”

Stehr’s presentation included testimonials from business owners supporting the expansion.

“Having started my software business here in Zionsville, it’s been really interesting to look at where we might go as we grow,” said Jeff Wraley, owner of Groundworks. “The South Village project really seems like an opportunity for companies like mine to bring the right talent into Zionsville.”

Those voices included the younger generation as well.

“I’m really excited for the South Village project to hopefully bring a community location for both younger generations and older generations to meet and have a great community,” said Cooper Siegler, a Zionsville Community High School student who serves on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

Stehr acknowledged that development is a lofty goal, one with a significant amount of planning and collaboration ahead of it. But, he said, it’s an effort that Zionsville has been working toward for the past two decades.

Stehr said the town-led PUD has broad support from the land owners and businesses within the district, and the first step in the process will focus on the realignment of Zionsville Road with First Street.

“To those of you who say that this is happening too fast, I would remind you that this area of town has been studied and considered for more than 20 years,” Stehr said. “We have active engineering work going on right now (for) nearly $2 million to look at the efficient use of traffic and traffic flow and also where utilities will run in the area, all while protecting pedestrians and enhancing businesses and life in the village.”

Stehr said the process is expected to take at least five to six years from start to completion but said the town will create the PUD in a deliberate, thoughtful and phased way that won’t negatively impact the downtown business district.

“The South Village will support the brick Main Street business district by creating a new Zionsville neighborhood (where) current and new neighbors can live, work, play, shop and retire,” Stehr said. “It’s about what the town is going to be in 20 or 25 years. We want to have a town that’s vibrant. Standing still is not going to get us there.”

Stehr said the plan is part of an overall vision for responsible growth in Zionsville.

“We live in a great town. I wanted this job to try to help it be just a little bit better. Better with our finances, better with managing growth, and better at communicating with one another,” Stehr said. “To help envision a Zionsville that future generations will love as much as we do now. The people who came before us left a great foundation for us to build on, and they did it brick by brick, literally. It’s not just a metaphor — they actually used bricks. And that provides a direct connection to us today. Zionsville is not and has never been a fixer upper.”

Zionsville main street sign
The South Village development will add to, not take away from, the history of Zionsville, Mayor John Stehr said. (Photos by Marney Simon)

Creating South Village

Town leaders are working on branding to make sure the South Village development is an extension of Zionsville, rather than a separate area.

Project goals include:

  • Create a new development that complements the historic brick Main Street.
  • Create and protects areas for development
  • Ensure that designs meet the cultural and economic needs of the community
  • Stabilize the unused area between Sycamore Street and Old 106th Street
  • Combine retail shopping and entertainment to create a destination
  • Attract office and corporate development and corporate citizens to the community
  • Create new residential development near downtown

For more, including dates for upcoming Q&A sessions, visit