Carmel seeking grants to help fund proposed indoor food hall, gathering space along Monon


The Carmel City Council on April 15 voted 9-0 to approve a resolution to fully evaluate and consider funding sources for an indoor food hall and community gathering space east of the Monon Greenway north of City Center Drive.

The project, which would also include a parking garage, office space and 190 apartments, is estimated to cost $47 million and is contingent on the city receiving READI 2.0 grant funding from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and a grant from Hamilton County Tourism. Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Henry Mestetsky told the council he is aiming for $10 million from the IEDC and $7 million from Hamilton County Tourism and that grant totals should be known by the third quarter of this year.

“Without the help of the external outside funding sources, this project is not going to happen,” Mestetsky said.

The rest of the project is set to be funded through an $8 million construction loan and $22 million in tax increment financing proceeds.

The two-story food hall, known as The Union, is proposed to include approximately eight vendors selling hot food and six vendors selling specialty items – such as olive oils or gourmet sodas – to attract visitors throughout the day. It will also include an entertainment stage and video screen, artificial turf, children’s area, social stairway and event space. Mestetsky described it as if “the Monon veered indoors for a moment.”

“(We want to) create a place where people want to spend time whether they are hungry or not,” Mestetsky said. “That’s the difference between a food hall and a true civic space that benefits the entire city.”

Mestetsky said The Union would provide an additional amenity in the city’s central core for community members and guests to visit during cold weather months. The city plans to partner with developer Pedcor, which already owns part of the site, on the project.

The state has $45 million to distribute to municipalities in central Indiana, Mestetsky said, adding that other IEDC funds could also be allocated for the project. He acknowledged that many communities will be vying for the funds.

“This project is a completely unique thing and no one has proposed anything close to it,” Mestetsky said. “The hope is that the state sees the importance of a project like this and gives us as much money as possible.”

The food hall is proposed on the southern half of the former Monon Square retail center, which was demolished in late 2022 to make way for redevelopment. An unrelated mixed-use project on the northern half of Monon Square has already been approved by the city.