Fishers: Creating Culinary Destinations in the Back ‘Yard’

When Scott Fadness was running to be the first mayor of the city of Fishers, he met with residents in their living rooms to learn of their cares and concerns for the rapidly growing Indianapolis suburb. Time and again, he heard a similar refrain.  

“One of the things I hear the most from our Fishers residents is the desire for more local food and entertainment options,” said Fadness.

Employing an “If-you-build-it-they-will-come” strategy, the city is embarking on an estimated $40-million endeavor to establish a culinary and entertainment center in the city.  Called The Yard, the project is a private investment plotted for an approximately 17-acre section along the southeast corner of 116th Street and IKEA Way. An IKEA and Topgolf are slated to open near the site later this year.

According to plans submitted by Thompson Thrift Development, Inc., the existing property would be redeveloped into a culinary and entertainment center with 10-12 locations for individual restaurants and possibly a theater/dining establishment. The development is expected to provide a total of approximately 148,000 square feet of space for restaurants, entertainment, service and shops and green space, however the plans may shift due to demand.”

“We believe this site offers the opportunity to develop a truly unique project, said Ashlee Boyd, Managing Partner of Thompson Thrift, in a statement. “We are very excited to partner with the city to create an entertainment and culinary destination that will be a lasting asset to the City of Fishers and surrounding communities.

Mayor Scott Fadness

According to the current plan, the city will master lease two 1,500 square-feet buildings for use as a culinary and/or restaurant accelerator to encourage local “chefpreneurs.” Mayor Fadness is working with the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association to identify potential candidates and opportunities. The space would also be used as community space. 

“Recently Central Indiana has been prominently recognized, nationally and internationally, as a culinary destination. We are pleased that Mayor Fadness and the Fishers leadership have allowed the hospitality industry to play a key role in this creative collaboration,” said Patrick Tamm, President and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with the city in creating a unique venue that allows the continued growth and innovation in the culinary industry while building a destination that foodies, families, and all will enjoy.”

Added Mayor Fadness, “We have an opportunity to create something special for the residents and businesses of Fishers. An investment in a culinary hub of amenities is a crucial component to attracting top talent and retaining a thriving entrepreneurial culture. This development will serve the companies located in the budding corporate corridor as well as the residents of our community. The culinary accelerator concept demonstrates that our ecosystem cultivates innovation across different industries.”