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I-69 expansion could force relocation of 4 businesses, including Carvana tower

Ethan May
Indianapolis Star

Four businesses may be relocated as part of a planned expansion of Interstate 69 on Indianapolis' northeast side.

Carvana Indianapolis, Suburban Extended Stay Northeast, AttaBoy Plumbing Company and World Class Car Care may each be in the way of the project that will add lanes to I-69 and I-465 and rebuild the interchange of those interstates.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokesperson Mallory Duncan said the businesses have been told that they may be affected by the project, but she emphasized that it's too early to know exactly what the impact will be. That's because plans have not yet been finalized, so the state does not know exactly how much property it may need to acquire.

Plans are expected to be finalized within the next six months to a year, and construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2022.

What you need to know: Planned I-465 widening, I-69 interchange reconstruction

Carvana opened with much fanfare in December 2018, as the car dealership's seven-story glass vending machine lit up bright blue. Company spokespeople did not respond to multiple requests for comment. IndyStar's attempts to reach a local manager were unsuccessful.

The seven-story Carvana car vending machine opened in December 2018.

Suburban Extended Stay Northeast closed on May 1, according to a spokesperson for Choice Hotels. The spokesperson would not comment on why the business closed. The building appears vacant.

World Class Car Care and AttaBoy Plumbing rent their space from the same property owner, the plumbing company office manager Beth Tooke said.

Tooke said AttaBoy Plumbing had been at the location for about 15 years. She did not know when the business would need to close and said she hadn't heard from the property owner.

“It kind of sucks," Tooke said. "We’ve been here quite a while.” She hopes to keep the business in the Castleton area.

Jeremiah Mitchell with World Class Car Care said the business is searching for a new location. Mitchell said they also haven't been able to reach their current property owner.

Businesses along I-69 to the north of the I-69/I-465 interchange are pictured Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.

According to property records, the businesses sit on land owned by Sexton Realty, LLC, which was formed in 1996 and was dissolved by the state in 2019. IndyStar's attempts to reach the registered owner, Kevin Sexton, were unsuccessful. The property had a 2020 assessed value of $384,400.

A document released by INDOT in September estimated $14 million in right-of-way costs for the $337.8 million project.

According to that document, "a total of seven buildings will be acquired and demolished, and four businesses will be relocated" if the project moves forward as currently planned.

The document describes the businesses as "two commercial buildings supporting car care, auto glass, and plumbing services, a hotel, a small outbuilding used for storage, a gazebo, and a car dealership."

The Carvana Indianapolis car dealership, a gazebo and a storage building sit near I-69 on the northeast side of Indianapolis on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. All three buildings may be affected by an expansion of the interstate.

All four of the businesses are in Lawrence Township. Trustee Steve Talley did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday. No members of the township's five-member advisory board could be reached for comment on Thursday, either.

Under the current plan, about 14 acres of land would need to be permanently acquired in the entire project area, which spans from I-465's White River bridge on the west side to I-465's 56th Street/Shadeland Avenue exit on the east side. 61% of the land is undeveloped forest, INDOT documents say. Another 4 acres of temporary right-of-way would be needed during construction.

A tenth of an acre of land or less would come from Veridian Castleton apartments, Crown Senior Living, Miller's Senior Living Community and Skiles Test Elementary School.

Suburban Extended Stay Northeast sits along I-69 on the northeast side of Indianapolis on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. The hotel closed on May 1, but a spokesperson declined to answer questions about reasons for the closure. An upcoming expansion of I-69 may have threatened the business.

Dana Altemeyer, the director of communications for the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, said the district entered a land acquisition settlement for the property along the elementary school's fence line last year. She was not immediately able to provide the value of the settlement.

A local manager of the apartments was not aware of the project and deferred to corporate management, which did not respond to questions. Neither of the senior living communities responded to questions on Thursday.

The new land is making way for added lanes to I-465 and I-69 as well as a reconfigured interchange. The goal of the two-year project is to increase capacity of the interchange and improve safety.

Contact IndyStar digital producer Ethan May at emay@indystar.com or 317-402-1058. Follow him on Twitter: @EthanMayJ.