96th and Meridian development concerns business owners

The plan includes new apartments, a hotel, parking garage and other businesses.

INDIANAPOLIS — A new development could be coming to 96th and North Meridian streets, however, business owners and neighbors have real concerns.

It’s been all the talk inside Daddy Jack’s. 

“I found out through my customers, which I wasn’t too crazy about,” Jim Thompson said.

Thompson’s loyal customers told him his business of 32 years could be demolished. 

“There was seven people when we first started this, and now we have about 90 full-time employees. A lot of them have been here for a very long time, over 20 years. So, it’s my family,” Thompson said.

This week, the city voted to rezone the area. 

“Everyone knows what’s planned for this strip center,” Thompson said.

The plan includes new apartments, a hotel, parking garage and other businesses.

“Pretty much level everything that exists,” Thompson said.

That includes a new smoothie shop next door. 

“If they’re talking about destroying this center, I don’t know why they’re putting new tenants in,” Thompson said.

This is what really stings. 

“We bought this center in 1993 to ensure that it didn’t get torn down. So ironically, my partners who bought me out are talking about tearing it down,” Thompson said.

If it passes, the project would happen in stages. Thompson’s restaurants would not be knocked down for three to five years. 

“I’m not really that worried about it. I think my customers are more than I am,” Thompson said.

He’s confident he’ll figure it out because the reputation he’s built speaks for itself. 

“We will follow him wherever he goes,” said customer Sharon Steele.

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