Now that you’ve seen what used to be located on the site of Carmel City Center, you’re probably wondering how this all became a reality.
During Mayor Brainard’s first mayoral campaign in 1995, when he went door-to-door, he encountered a recurring question, which was “where’s downtown Carmel?” He also kept hearing from citizens that there wasn’t anywhere in Carmel to go to dinner and to see a show. People had to go all the way to downtown Indianapolis for that.
Numerous opinions existed on the topic of what was downtown Carmel. Some thought it was Main Street in Old Town (which was Carmel’s original downtown) and some even considered downtown to be Merchants Square or the Meridian Corridor.
Mayor Brainard made it his goal when he took office to build Carmel a true downtown—a place where citizens could gather together and enjoy a variety of entertainment and recreational opportunities. Since Carmel’s original downtown located on Main Street in Old Town wasn’t large enough to function as a downtown for the size of city Carmel had grown to become, the Old Town was transformed into the Arts & Design District.
The site for Carmel City Center, at Range Line Road and City Center Drive, was chosen due to its central location with the City Buildings to the south, the Carmel Arts & Design District to the north and the Monon Greenway running through it. The Carmel Redevelopment Commission purchased the land at that location and made it ready for redevelopment.
In 2004, the plans for Carmel City Center were unveiled and approved; and in 2005, the financing for The Center for The Performing Arts was approved by the Carmel City Council. Ground was broken for the construction of Carmel City Center in 2006.