MIRANDA MARITATO | STAFF REPORTER
Butler University’s new parking garage, slated for completion in August 2015, will hold more than just cars.
Butler hired CBRE, named for the combination of companies Coldwell Banker and Richard Ellis. CBRE, a real estate and investment company, will help select retail tenants to fill 15,000 square feet of space in the new parking garage.
“We are excited to work with industry leaders at CBRE to find great tenants to occupy this new facility and provide our students and our neighbors with direct access to restaurants and businesses,” according to Butler University President James Danko in a press release on Sept. 22.
Gordon Hendry, former director of economic development for the city of Indianapolis, will represent CBRE’s public institutions and education group for Butler’s project. The group has assisted multiple universities, including George Washington University and Ohio State University.
“We have strong relationships with any major retailers that you can think of,” Hendry said. “They are either our client or we work with them on a daily basis.”
Donna Hovey, vice president of retail brokerage for CBRE, will lead the company’s retail leasing efforts in the parking garage.
“CBRE is going to tap into our resources to help Butler University find the best tenants that are consistent with the campus and what the vision is,” Hendry said.
When looking at retail tenants, viewers survey potential demographics. Number of households, household incomes, population, and levels of education are main categories of the survey.
The process also considers the neighboring area’s needs.
“While this is a Butler property, Butler is very thoughtful about understanding what the neighborhood wants in a location as well,” Hovey said. “The beauty of this location is it is very walkable.”
The parking garage will be located on the existing parking lot behind Clowes Memorial Hall and Lake Road by Sunset Avenue.
“This all very preliminary right now,” Hendry said. “We’re just starting to survey the opportunities of the tenants that might be interested in the property.”
It is the university’s responsibility to select the tenant mix that is the best fit for Butler and the surrounding neighborhood, Butler Tarkington.
Sophomore Abby Law said she would like more food options in the parking garage.
“Something like Panera or McAlister’s would be good,” Law said. “Something where you can sit down.”
Hovey said she imagines a full-service restaurant with patio seating in the northeast corner of the garage.
The restaurant would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will also be more food services options.
“You are going to see things like the full complements of sandwiches, soups, all of the ethnic offerings,” Hovey said.
More diverse options may include Indian, Greek or Mexican cuisine.
“I would look at a confectionery store, ice cream, frozen yogurt, popcorn, something like that,” Hovey said, “It is kind of an amenity to the campus.”
Some other possibilities include a florist, a small boutique and an optician.
“We’re looking at, strongly, some kind of a medical component,” Hovey said. “It is a good compliment to the pharmacy school and the physician assistant program. We’re working with a number of medical providers.”
Retailers will be open and operating once the parking garage is complete.
“We are very pleased to be working with a respected academic institution like Butler University,” Hendry said.