Path of Progress in the Midwest - Your Thoughts?

33 Replies

Hi BP folks:

So, the definition of  the term "path of progress" is the direction in which an emerging market’s growth is occurring - because progress/growth is occurring in these areas, demand increases, rents rise and your property appreciates organically. I look to invest where there is infrastructure to support new job growth/opportunities (possibly private tech corps will grow in Indy) Next Big Challenge for Small Downtowns (7/2017) I don't see a lot of good transportation solutions (muni/light rail) & the roads are horrible, but I was happy to see bicycles and shared bikes (Pacers)/e-scooters(BIRD) in  downtown & Lyft/Uber and electric cars to get around but I am hoping Indy will attract more private tech businesses.

I am wondering your thoughts about Indy's new criminal justice center and the growing trend of prisons system as a lucrative business; Is this considered a "path to progress" for local property investors or is the new CJC not welcome? I think nobody would want a correctional facility in their backyard. But as as Grant Cardone has suggested in a podcast, we might want to consider buying property in locations that are open 24/7, such as hospitals, universities, etc. Is this new criminal center the newest biggest building project that's meant to stimulate Indiana's economy? I'm just curious what the thinking is... Thanks 

We are investing in Indy's Eastside, Christian Park. I'm hoping to BRRR and help change the area's negative profile by creating affordable housing & will be getting involved with community efforts.

I don’t think the criminal justice center is going to stimulate anything. It doesn’t need to. If you have been active in this market for the past 3 or 4 years you can see this is a drop in the bucket. Cultural and demographic shifts are happening in this market. Glad I’m here to see the city change and wish I had bought a lot more before 2014. :)

Someone will buy Angie’s list and move here in the next year or two. Plus our cheaper land, pro business government policies, and somewhat progressive (for the Midwest) attitude is attractive for new businesses.

We’ll never be California or the like, but we are full of singles and doubles. Just be careful of the oceanpointe slider.

@Josh C. Yes! I have been reading about Oceanpointe/Morris Investments. That's horrible.

I was amazed how trendy (and relatively expensive) Fountain Square is and established Broad Ripple areas are. Irvington has a growing strong sense of community which is very nice to see and as you mentioned,  there are cultural activities & dining options (plenty of nice brew pubs cropping up everywhere!) to make downtown a thriving small livable city. 

Indianapolis was on Amazon's HQ2 list & hopefully more private tech companies land in Indy as it transitions from manufacturing; Plenty of great colleges/university creating a talent pool which is attractive.   Still  I personally don't believe Indy has the infrastructure to support the big influx that AMZ would bring, but maybe satellite midwest offices (such as Salesforce) would be a good fit. 

Judicial Center: It seems they will have all the courthouses will bring  more shops, restaurants to the in the Twin Aire neighborhood. I wonder if they're seeing more small business loans coming up! 

Anyway, it's just great to see revitalization in a lot of these poor communities and as investors it would be great to be involved to make a difference. I'm starting to connect with folks on Facebook pages and it's really great insight!

@Lynne MacFarlane I'm surprised that you say that Indianapolis roads are "horrible". Indy is a major transportation hub for the country making distribution one of it's leading industries. Indy has 5 major highways intersecting the city which makes it extremely easy to get a round. This is just one of the reasons that Indianapolis is on Amazon's short list for the site of their 2nd headquarters. 

@Lynne MacFarlane, you seem to be focused on CJC. Is that the only place you're looking at the "path of progress"? I can think of a few areas in Indy that I've been researching the may lend itself to more of a path of progress scenario. I'm not sure I would consider one project as a path of progress.  It sounds more like redevelopment or gentrification, which make up many of the projects in bigger (older) cities nowadays.

To me, "path of progress" indicates growth in a new direction adding infrastructure, business, and residential. I'm sure there are better examples but Dallas, Plano, and McKinney TX come to mind for growth over the last 20 years.

That being said, after a brief read of a few of your articles linked, the "Promise Zone" sounds like a good place to be if you are thinking long term.  I get wholesale emails all the time advertising as "located in the Promis Zone" so it could be a good area if you're in it for the long haul. 

Hi @Mike D'Arrigo

Just my general opinion from driving around Indianapolis, there were so many potholes on my last visit there I thought that my rental car agent was insistent on me buying their insurance for their bad potholes and yes, one can file a claim as the article states. The pothole issue has become a meme and actually quite entertaining to read the comments in the IndyStar... And Indy Pothole even has it's own Twitter account

The infrastructure definitely needs improvement to attract AMZ but I bet they (& Jeff Bezo) will choose Virginia/Maryland/DC Area  because: 1) Bezo has a new home in DC  2) more talent and mass transit in DC. I do agree with you that Indy can be a major distribution center being central to midwest, but for their HQ2 they're looking for places to attract international software talent and culturally Indiana/Indianapolis is a bit conservative compared to Seattle.  But I hope I'm wrong, let's hope Indy can attract more private software companies; It would be great to see a huge influx of jobs & supporting industries to sustain them here in Indianapolis. Seattle has just exploded because of AMZ and the start-ups that branched from Microsoft oh! and the video gaming industry is big there too. Maybe Indy can develop more workspace entrepreneur thinktanks, that would be a great way to lure in the millennials (that and brew pubs, Indy has great pubs!)

Hi @Clay Sellers ! Thanks for teaching me a new word, "The Promise Zone!" I was looking at housing/lofts in Milwaukee, maybe that's the same, I'll research that. I was looking at Ft Worth and areas of gentrification and I find it fascinating. Indy seems a little more harder to predict as I'm driving street by street and see differences in microareas. 

Path of progress: I'm trying to figure that one out for Indy. The CJC was just something thats been on my mind.  I think of new transportation hubs, bike infrastructures, new zoning for commercial businesses. Anyway, thanks for discussing, this is interesting.

@Lynne MacFarlane  

Indianapolis is ranked 5th in the nation for creating technology jobs and #2 for software jobs as you can see from the articles below. Yes, they may have some potholes and no, they probably won't be Amazons final choice but there is no doubt that the city has a diverse, vibrant and growing economy making it an excellent investment market for cash flow. Kansas City is another often overlooked market. You'll be hard pressed to find other affordable markets with such favorable jobs ad economic development.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2017/03/16...

https://www.ibj.com/articles/65623-report-indiana-...

Just because a bunch of wholesalers who have a vested interested for you buy their property tell you there is a “promise land” doesn’t guarantee, or even mean anything. I’ve seen wholesaler say “in beautiful Brightwood.” Some locals do buy there, and they could be opportunity there, but it’s probably a long term play where a high quality tenant pool doesn’t exist at this point in time.

TIME OUT - Pot Holes / Roads.  They are an issue in Indianapolis right now.  They get this bad once every 10 years or so.  Some of the road maintenance has been deferred.  It happens.  The truth is that we always have xtra pot holes in Spring and early Summer.  It's the climate. Freezing, salt and snow plows tear up roads - warm weather hits and issues are addressed.  It's a cycle.  It's mainly the weather.  I've been here 47 years.  It's just how the cycle works.  Up until a few weeks ago it was also a major issue on the interstate system - that's not a city issue.  

The City of Indianapolis has done a great job to make the city attractive and worthwhile for investment.  Just had to throw that out there.  

Originally posted by @Mike D'Arrigo :

@Lynne MacFarlane 

Indianapolis is ranked 5th in the nation for creating technology jobs and #2 for software jobs as you can see from the articles below. Yes, they may have some potholes and no, they probably won't be Amazons final choice but there is no doubt that the city has a diverse, vibrant and growing economy making it an excellent investment market for cash flow. Kansas City is another often overlooked market. You'll be hard pressed to find other affordable markets with such favorable jobs ad economic development.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2017/03/16...

https://www.ibj.com/articles/65623-report-indiana-...

Great articles, thanks Mike! Let's hope Indy keeps attracting the talent and continues pushing the needle forward!

The best places to invest are distressed or undervalued with an upward trajectory. This is why Indy is a great place to invest. Indy has a great many positive and uplifting things going for it. However it's a great place to invest because there is still a lot of room for improvement. The roads are one example. Criminal Justice is another example. To me, a huge area of needed improvement is public schools. I don't even have kids but I know that the schools are bad.

So to answer your question @Lynne MacFarlane I think Indy has had a halting progression along the path of progress. It almost seems like it's a wanna be progressive city, but can't quite reconcile it's conservative roots with liberal ideology.  

Originally posted by @Clay Sellers :
Originally posted by @Lynne MacFarlane:

Hi @Mike D'Arrigo

 "Maybe Indy can develop more workspace entrepreneur thinktanks, that would be a great way to lure in the millennials (that and brew pubs, Indy has great pubs!)"

I'm just gonna leave this right here

https://www.16tech.com/

Updated 7 days ago

I understand what you're saying...(I'm having a tough time figuring out this Quote/UX on this forum!) Sorry, if I'm hacking this thread up! :P

Hi @Clay Sellers

Yeah, I saw that website too, but I never read the report (2015). Are they on track to attracting more businesses? Looks nice and the dream seems ambitious.


Updated 3 days ago

I'm really interested in seeing the push for education, not only for the youth, but all ages. It's difficult to find talent in U.S., here's an interesting article from Pew http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/03/the-future-of-jobs-and-jobs-training/

Indianapolis Public School System continues to struggle.  It is a changing district. (I taught in Central Indiana for 12 years.)  Many of the younger professionals buying homes in the downtown area are not sending their children into the public school system.  They are are going for private or charter schools.  

Homework will show there are a number of very positive alternatives.  I don't see this as Indianapolis not being a good platform or not being progressive.  I see it as a modelling of some other larger cities that have poor public schools and the local environment is coming up with better alternatives.  Many large cities have poor public schools, but great alternatives.  Indianapolis is getting there as well.  It is a progressive thing.  It's not detrimental.   Cities that don't have the infrastructure and private success can't provide a better alternative.  Private success breeds more success. 

There are many investors who have succeeded and they didn't "nay say" the market based on the public school system.  

So far the local public schools have not inhibited growth and have not deterred the millennial generation from investing large amounts of money in downtown Indianapolis.   

It's just not the case. Are there other areas that may be better for ROI - maybe. BUT the price points are higher in the township areas. Returns on that are more down the road.

Just depends on expectations and strategies.  I've had great success in the downtown area.  Indianapolis Public Schools have not hurt me at all. 

I found this thought-provoking article on how the robotics industry is powered by high-tech centers as well as manufacturing hubs—with a distinct “Robot Belt” in the #Midwest.: As robots increasingly become a part of our daily lives, a growing chorus of commentators warns that they may take away our jobs and further damage the once great Rust Belt cities that once powered the American economy and served as the backbone of the middle class. But which cities and regions will house the robot revolution? Will the rise of robotics correct or reinforce America’s growing spatial inequality?

https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/07/americas-new-robot-geography/564155/

@Ritch Bonisa be careful not to rationalize out common sense....yes there are alternative options....but what do you think happens to these kids that come out of these bad schools....

They become adults who can’t read, can’t hold a job, can’t educate their own kids. Most importantly, they dont have money to relocate. You know who does have money to relocate when too many dumb kids become dumb adults? That’s right private and charter kids. 

Good luck trying to rent to someone who can’t read the lease

Originally posted by @Lynne MacFarlane :

Hi @Clay Sellers

Yeah, I saw that website too, but I never read the report (2015). Are they on track to attracting more businesses? Looks nice and the dream seems ambitious.

There is plenty of information out there on this project and where they are at with it right now. "If you research it, you will find it."  à la Field of Dreams (I hope you get the reference.)

I'm surprised InfoSys or Salesforce haven't been mentioned - two IT related companies that have made big investments in Indianapolis.  

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2018/...

Salesforce went as far as to rebrand Bank One / Chase Tower, and move lots of their operations here. Chase's Indiana operations center is still housed in Salesforce Tower.  I don't know how many folks follow the growth of Salesforce over the past 20 years, but they're THE big player in the CRM industry. 

I'm really not trying to feed the trolls, but had to speak up.  As "The Crossroads of America", Indianapolis is doing just fine.  And if as expected the hyperloop comes to Chicago, Indianapolis could find itself a "bedroom community" for Chicago. 

Originally posted by @Bruce Lee :
"And if as expected the hyperloop comes to Chicago, Indianapolis could find itself a "bedroom community" for Chicago."

"The proposed Columbus-Chicago route would slash across the northern part of Indiana, including Fort Wayne, but since there are no stops on the trip, most Hoosiers won't have easy access to using the transportation."

https://www.wthr.com/article/hyperloop-transportation-may-be-coming-to-indiana-but-not-for-hoosiers

@Ali Hashemi Population of Indianapolis Public School system is shrinking, and there are many young professionals moving into Indianapolis.

I'm not rationalizing anything, nor do I have an axe to grind.  I think Indianapolis is more progressive today than I have ever seen it.  I think it's a good place to invest.  I think its a good place for business and I think it's attracting new talent.  Overall, I like it.  I think it will likely always keep a somewhat conservative midwestern sensibility, but there is room for improvement. 

There have been alot of positive changes in Indianapolis in the last 30 years.  I've been impressed and surprised with the progress.  15 years ago a company like Amazon would not have even mentioned Indianapolis. Now, they do.  I've just taken those types of things as a sign of progress and achievement for Indianapolis. We're not seeing the "same old thing".

As for dumb kids and dumb adults - I'm not sure about all of that.  I just know there are more kids attending private schools and there are more parents who can afford to send their kids to private schools.  These are homeowners not renters. A higher mix of home ownership usually translates to higher rents. Course, it depends on which neighborhoods one invests in. 

Overall, I'm very impressed with what has happened in Indianapolis. It's the best I've seen it in 47 years.  I think we can all continue to be successful in Central Indiana.  I certainly wish you continued success. 

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.