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Evansville.

EVANSVILLE

Now that the bulldozers have moved off the new Interstate 164 around the east side of Evansville, developers are moving in.

The completion in early August of the new$200 million highway, which provides rapid access to the interstate transportation network, has opened up new areas for development. One of the most attractive sites is at the major intersection of 1-164 and the Lloyd Expressway, a relatively new six-lane highway that bisects the city.

One of the first developers out of the gate was Evansville-based Regency Associates, which is developing a multiuse business campus on the northwest corner of the Lloyd Expressway and I-164. To be called Cross Pointe Commercial Center, the development will include 183 acres of hotels, restaurants, office complexes and retail shops. Jim McKinney, managing partner of Regency Associates, says that the focus will remain on turning Cross Pointe into a business campus with lakes, green space and landscaped roads. The site , which will be readily visible from both of the transportation arteries, will be an oasis, McKinney says, at the corner of the two busy highways.

Ground was broken in August for the first tenant, a $5.4 million psychiatric hospital affiliated with Charter Medical Corp. of Macon, Ga. The 40,000-square-foot hospital, which is scheduled to open in spring 1991, should attract several medical-related office buildings to the complex.

But Cross Pointe won't be alone. Development plans also are moving on the other corners.

A 68-acre Eagle Crest Commerce Center is planned for the intersection and is expected to be anchored by a $5.5 million Hampton inn hotel. The hotel, to be under construction this fall, will be completed in March or April. The hotel-office complex is being developed by Evansville hotelier John Dunn and Bill Koester, an Evansville contractor.

Nearby, Metro Centre East is taking shape on land along the expressway near Green River Road. That 52-acre project is being developed by Premier Group Ltd. Plans for that site include restaurants, offices and retail shops.

Although growth in the office segment has been brisk on the east side, it is in the retail area that Evansville really has been on the move in the last year.

The city's Green River Road strip, arguably the most concentrated retail cluster in the Midwest, saw further expansion in 1990 with the opening of as and Shoppes, a development of The Skinner-Broadbent Company, Inc., of Indianapolis. The center is a twin for the already leased-up Eastland Place, the company's other development a block down the road. Both are near Eastland Mall, the region's largest shopping mall.

The strongest growth in retail, however, is on Evansville's far west side, near the University of Southern Indiana. Developers, trying to ride the tide of growth at the university, have turned several vacant tracts into sprawling strip malls. "There has been tremendous growth in retailing on that side of Evansville," McKinney says.

Downtown Evansville as well seems to be on the rebound from hard times. Vicki Burdick, director of the Center City Corp., says the off ice vacancy rate downtown is hovering around 1 5 percent, a figure that is comparable to the downtown vacancy rate in other cities of the same size.

Though some tenants have left the downtown area-Bristol-Myers Squibb moved some offices to new quarters on the west side, for example-others have moved in to take up the slack. Most of the tenants downtown are traditional users, such as banks, stockbrokers and lawyers.

There are several proposals on the board that could breathe new life into the area. The city has unveiled a proposal to build a cultural art scenter and an exhibition hall-hotel complex downtown, a move Burdick calls very important to the area. "That's obviously going to have an affect on our vacancy rates," she says.

The city also plans to scrap all parking meters downtown and has begun razing buildings to make way for the Third and Fifth Street realignment project, which will connect the downtown to the Lloyd Expressway. "Right now, I think you're seeing a lot of positive momentum," Burdick says.

James S. Derk
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Title Annotation:Real Estate Around the State
Author:Derk, James S.
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 1990
Words:682
Previous Article:Allison's 75th.
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