Thomas Bracken - Board of Trustees. Ball State University, Photo Courtesy
Bracken, Madjax lawsuit still undecided
After submitting closing arguments in late December, the Thomas Bracken vs. The City of Muncie lawsuit is still undecided.
Bracken first filed the lawsuit in September after Muncie City Council approved a $4.5 million loan for Madjax.
“I mean, this is a building that’s a clear tear down, there’s no return. It’s a money pit. I mean, the exterior, it’s the biggest eyesore in downtown Muncie, and quite honestly there’s no way to fix that for any reasonable amount of money,” Bracken said during the Nov. 29 hearing.
The loan, according to Ordinance 33-17, would pay off existing debt — $1.7 million — associated with the project and would allow improvements to be made to the building in order to host more events and tenants.
Instead of the makerspace, Bracken had the idea for a central park, which he said would create a green space that would give a front to historic buildings in downtown Muncie.
Despite the loan being approved in September, the money has yet to be put to use by Madjax. Todd Donati, director of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission, said this has put promises and projects behind.
Because of the delay, the Muncie Redevelopment Commission had to loan $500,000 to Sustainable Muncie to get through the lawsuit process, Donati said during the Nov. 29 hearing.
Future tenants, such as Purdue Polytechnic Institute, have yet to move into Madjax and won’t be able to until the loan goes into effect.
“We had everything ready to close in September, then this lawsuit happened," Donati said. "And so, therefore, there was commitments that were made once that bond was approved that we can’t comply with, so the [Muncie Redevelopment Commission] loaned the $500,000 for [Sustainable Muncie] to make final payment to the construction company for some bit of work that was completed [that] the bond was going to pay for.”
The loan also provided capital for the Purdue Polytechnic project.
Madjax is also receiving $180,000 from the Ball Brothers foundation, and Donati hopes it will keep the Purdue project on track. However, the project could still be delayed because Madjax still needs to install fire-rated corridors and bathrooms on the second level of the building in order to meet building codes.
Donati said if the bond doesn’t go through, the Madjax project won’t be able to go on.
Currently, there are seven tenants in the lab including:
- Two Town Theater Group
- The Guardian Brewing Company
- The CO:LAB
- Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP)
- Book Arts Collaborative
- Tribune Showprint
While there are seven main tenants, The CO:LAB hosts startups, developers, designers, writers and others who are looking for a workspace. This has brought more than 30 workers or business owners downtown.
As of now, the future of the makerspace and its vendors remain unknown until Hamilton County Court Judge Steven Nation makes his ruling later in January.