The intersection of Interstate 69 and 116th street near downtown Fishers has been busy for the past several months due to the construction of three new facilities: Ikea Home Furnishings, Top Golf, and Portillo’s Hot Dogs. These new companies moving into Fishers continues a trend of economic growth in the city.
“I don’t see how it could hurt the economy at all,” Economics teacher Brenda Barrett said. “If anything, it’s shown progress and growth. It seems like they’re investing in tourism, so to speak. I like the vision of the mayor, I think it’s a good idea. I don’t see how it could hurt, the only thing I worry about is the traffic, as far as everybody who lives up here and is driving up here.”
First announced in late 2015, Ikea has been an anticipated arrival for residents of Indiana. The 290,000 square foot retail store had hired 250 employees and opened on Wednesday, but some had already lined up on Monday hoping to win free furniture as part of Ikea’s opening promotional giveaways. The first 45 in line won a couch, and the next 100 won a chair.
Friday will see the opening of Top Golf, the three-level golfing center across the street from Ikea. The 65,000 square foot facility hired 500 workers to accommodate the several food and drink areas as well as for maintenance and other positions. The location is marked for all to see by its massive netted golf range, which is visible for miles down Interstate 69.
Portillo’s Hot Dogs opened last week ahead of Top Golf and Ikea. The Italian style restaurant hired 150 workers and seats 200 customers indoors and outdoors, with drive-thru service also available.
These new projects aim to attract new customers and more big businesses to Fishers. Beyond the downtown area, notable recent businesses that have moved in include Cabela’s and Duluth Trading in Hamilton Town Center. On September 7th, online retailer Amazon announced that it was looking for a city to host its second headquarters building. The project will be a five billion dollar investment and bring in 50,000 jobs. Among many cities across North America, Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett is working with Fishers mayor Scott Fadness in hopes of bringing the headquarters and its promised economic growth to Central Indiana.
“I think [Amazon headquarters in Indianapolis] would be great,” Barrett said. “[The city already has] fulfillment centers now on the northwest side and the west side, and I know people who have worked for Amazon and they have to drive clear over there. It could provide jobs, it’d provide jobs with a little bit of freedom, I think it would be great [and] would balance everything out. I think we could sustain it, we already are considering the fulfillment centers on the other side of town.”
Fadness was elected mayor of Fishers in 2014. His economic aspirations have been key goals during his time in office. He has talked recently of even more new businesses coming to Fishers, but has not revealed any specifics yet.
“I would worry about growing too fast,” Barrett said, “there is such a thing. But I think it’s time to stop being this sleepy little suburb. Some people want that, some people don’t, we don’t want to necessarily be like Carmel. From somebody who has taught here for 15 years, it doesn’t seem like all of it has happened so quickly. I’ve lived in Indianapolis pretty much ever since I graduated college and I think it’s time, but I guess it just depends on what you want. If you want country and rural you can move further out to Lapel and Pendleton. I’m not going to be against progress, but I can see where people who have been here their whole life want it to be that sleepy little suburb. With urbanization comes other things. Crime can increase, and housing prices and more job competition. It’s job security for me if the city continues to grow, but if I was retired and had lived here my whole life I might have a different opinion.”