The Booming North

The Booming North

Saxony, IU Health and a proposed medical technology corridor keep things lively on the north side

The Booming North

Current in Fishers

By: Jordan Fischer

For all of the retail boom along the south end of I-69, it is Fisher's north side which developers and town officials say is ready to blossom.

Along with the 350 acres of Saxony that resides in the Fishers town limits, IU Health has chosen a 95-acre spot nestled beside I-69 to build the IU Health Saxony Hospital. And, since 2009, the Town has been conceptualizing a "medical technology corridor" which would begin at the existing St. Vincent Medical Center Northeast and spread eastward toward the county line.

"I think it demonstrates that we're a progressive community that's thinking about our future, and hopefully makes it an inviting place for business to come," said Town Manager Scott Fadness.

Saxony Then and Now

Approved in 2003, the Saxony development was intended to be a "new urban community," including diverse housing options, office ditricts and retail opportunities in a pedestrian friendly setting.  The original plan called for 1,900 housing units, 7,000 square-feet of retail, and 1 million available square-feet of office space.

The district attracted several big names, including the relocation of Ball State University's Fishers office to a new, 3,000 square-foot space in the heart of Saxony, the Wesleyen Church World Headquarters building, a three-story, 70,000 square-foot office building bringing 100 employees, and the Community Medical Pavilion at Saxony, a 55,000 square-foot medical office building.

Perhaps the largest addition to the development, however has been the estimated $180 million IU Health Saxony Campus. The first stage of construction is underway, and will include a 200,000 square-foot, 40-bed hospital and urgent care center, and a 100,000 square-foot medical office building.

"The addition of these commercial residents is important to the community," said Wes Bucher, director of development for the town, "because residential doesn't pay the freight."

The project has not been without its share of speed bumps, however. Slow growth due to the economic recession, and the contruction of Simon Malls' retail-oriented Hamilton Town center just across i-69 in Noblesvill, have required some rethinking on the part of developers. Among other changes, Saxony has shifted to have a more prominent entrance on the eastern Olio Road side, and centralized some of its planned retail to the Village Center at Saxony.

"In terms of Saxony, it's evolved over time in response to market demand, but also changes in thinking about how best we can bring uses together," said Rick Arnos, president of Saxony developer Republic Development.

"We like to use the analogy that Saxony is a child, and now it's in its teen years," Arnos added. "As it matures, and as different participants come in and reflect their personality, Saxony becomes a mosaic and really generates a life of its own."

Arenos said in 2001 Saxony will enter the "activation phase." Among other aspects, this will include the return of the Farmers' Market, which Arnos said was a "booming success" in 2010, the addition of an Oktoberfest and the Fishers Renaissance Faire, and the previously unannouced opening of the "Lake District," which will feature a beach, food vendors, paddle boats and kayaks, and a 5k run in conjunction with the Town of Fishers.

With nearly eight years under its belt, the "teenage" Saxony still has 1- more years of growth, according to Arnos.

"We've never been more excited about Saxony," he said. "At its full expression, we think it's going to be a place that 15- to 40-year-olds really favor."