The fate of the old Indianapolis International Airport terminal could be made known by December.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority hopes to finalize a land-use plan for that property and all others that surround the new terminal, which opened in 2008,
Airport officials said they are about halfway done with their final plan, but they admit the situation is fluid and could still change.
The old terminal area is one of seven zones being studied for development. A map of its zone shows hospitality facilities at the south end, which would include existing hotels, assuming they want to stay.
Most of the zone is labeled industrial, which could entail non-aviation industry facilities, warehousing and distribution facilities that are linked to the FedEx hub, or direct aviation usage that would require it to be hooked into the airport's runway system.
"There's a level of aeronautical purposes that it would be used for, as well as commercial purposes," said John Clark, director of the airport authority. "We can't specifically define that today, but we believe we're on our way."
Part of the decision will hinge on whether to build a third main runway at the airport. If that happens, some of the land south of the FedEx terminal now targeted for shippers may have to be moved northward to the area of the old terminal.
The authority's consultants said the old terminal area has lots of possibilities.
"There's also opportunities, according to the market assessment, that within some time, to even build up some office-type development," said Berta Fernandez, an airport consultant.
Authority leaders said the airport must be a development magnet for the entire metro area, which means taking surface vehicles into account and allocating development to keep incompatible vehicles apart.
"If we do this right, we don't want big trucks and private vehicles to coexist," Clark said.
The plan will also involve railroad service to tie in with planes and trucks and could call for a high-speed passenger connection, though that appears to be a future possibility.
The authority is planning three open houses later this month at the airport, in Fishers and in Greenfield for public comment on the preliminary plans.
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