Indianapolis Downtown continues to grow and develop; but at what cost to other city neighborhoods deteriorating and neglected? Indianapolis Downtown, the organization dedicated to promoting downtown employment, entertainment and residential living, announced some $1.4 billion in new projects and development that will be completed between now and 2017. Since 1990, Indianapolis Downtown bragged, some $12 billion in development has occurred in downtown. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Circle Centre Mall. But there are trouble signs. Over 20% of all office downtown is vacant. Circle Centre Mall has vacancies, nearly lost anchor store Carsons and has numerous store vacancies. Appearing on Afternoons with Amos, Indy Downtown President Sherry Seiwert and Real Estate Development Director Catherine Esselman discussed downtown growth and problems. Seiwert did say that crime downtown, including Circle Centre is down. But most in the city don’t believe that and Indy Downtown hasn’t stressed that fact. Both agreed that downtown residential – rentals and ownership – is red hot. In answer to a specific question, both Seiwert and Esselman said that condos and townhomes downtown put up for sale stay for sale “not very long”. That flies in the face of the experience of Republican mayoral candidate Chuck Brewer who has ostensibly has had a downtown condo on the market for eleven months. Also in the Afternoons with Amos interview, Seiwert and Esselman talked about the downtown booming development. But neither were ready to say that after nearly $15 billion in development that downtown was ready to stand on its own; without subsidies and assistance from taxpayers. One disturbing sign about downtown are the extreme disparities between the income of whites and Blacks who live downtown. In January, Afternoons with Amos and the Indianapolis Recorder documented the size of the disparity. In some downtown neighborhoods, the gap in Black and white median household income ranges between $47,272 and $56,136. The largest income disparities between whites and Blacks anywhere in Indianapolis/Marion County exist in downtown residential neighborhoods. In the Afternoons with Amos interview Seiwert and Esselman were pressed on why developers of downtown housing haven’t done anything to encourage African-Americans of means to consider downtown living. Seiwert says that they don’t look at race in analyzing downtown residential trends. A sad fact that the huge income disparities document. Many Indianapolis residents resent the huge sums spent on downtown, while many Indy neighborhoods languish and suffer. This interview gives you an idea of the gap and gulf between downtown leaders and the rest of the city/county. It’s a revealing interview you’ll want to hear. Click the Media Player to hear the Afternoons with Amos Interview With Indy Downtown Leaders about Downtown Development. Runs 22 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One.