New downtown Marsh could be magnet for growth

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Marsh Supermarket opened its doors Thursday morning and is ready to take advantage of a building boom downtown.

20,000 people already live there, and according to Indianapolis Downtown Inc., another 3,500 apartment units are being built or are in the planning stages.

The new Marsh is 43,000 square feet of the latest in grocery technology, designed as an open marketplace where you can buy groceries for later or buy food to eat there now.

“It’s really an important urban development project in addition to being what appears to be a wonderful store,” says Mike Huber, President of the Indy Chamber of Commerce.

Huber says the Marsh store is much more than groceries.

“Frankly a large high quality grocery store like this is going to be a magnet for hundreds, if not thousands, of new downtown residents,” says Huber.

It’s already showing that magnetic power. Trudy Wagoner is among the new shoppers.

“We work downtown, we enjoy it a lot. We walked over from the state office building to come and check it out,” she says.

Debra Barker also works downtown.

“I can stop here on my way to work. At lunch. On my way home. This is comparable to all the other Marsh locations. I’m tickled,” Barker says.

The new Marsh is part of the $85 million Axis apartment-retail complex. It could spark more retail in a part of downtown that’s been slow to attract new business. There’s empty retail space in the nearby Cosmopolitan on the Canal.

MoJo Coffee house right across from the Marsh has been in business for eight years, and it already sees hints Marsh could add to its customer base.

“We were going to have coffee over there, but we got to buy it downstairs, come upstairs, so I say, let’s just go over here. I think it’s good,” says Dot Hornback, who bought coffee at the small business across the street.

Back at the Marsh, Katy Osadetz, who lives downtown, likes what she sees.

“I think people shy away from downtown cities because they think it’s not liveable, but adding this shows you that you can get all the things that the suburbs have and less travel and more things to do on a regular basis. So that’s nice,” Osadetz says.

Parking can be a problem for downtown development, but Marsh has parking for free in the Axis lot. There’s a sign on Michigan that points you to the entrance.

While the store is busy now, it’s success won’t be measured for awhile. Mike Huber of the Indy Chamber says, check back in three to five years. That’s when its true impact of the grocery store on downtown growth will be seen.

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