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Future plans could include complete transformation of City Market

The estimated price of a complete transformation would be somewhere between $22 million and $34 million.

INDIANAPOLIS — City leaders are working on a plan to breathe new life into the historic downtown City Market.

Earlier this year, the Department of Metropolitan Development hired an outside consultant group to look at the facility to find out what kind of shape it's in and how it might be used in the future.

That’s especially important, considering a lot of the regular lunch customers who come from the City-County Building every day will eventually be moving to a new criminal justice center on the other side of downtown.

The pandemic also hurt business for existing vendors inside.

Construction surrounding the city-owned building hasn’t helped and neither has increased competition from new lunch and dinner spots like The Garage in the Bottleworks District.

In its report to the city, the consultant group said it would cost between $4 million and $5 million to fix up City Market as is.

The estimated price of a complete transformation would be somewhere between $22 million and $34 million. That could include amenities like a new food hall, restaurant, retail and taproom.

“We are very excited about what the future holds,” said Rusty Carr, deputy director of Metropolitan Development. “Overall, City Market, structurally, is in sound condition. There are some things we know we need to do from a structural integrity and deferred maintenance standpoint.”

Carr said the city is prepared to spend up to $5 million now to do that.

“We know this is an anchor for the Market East district and we wanted to give them some options to consider,” said Carr, referring to the City Market board.

Carr said the city will continue to work with the board to decide what opportunities to pursue from the report.