A grand entrance for the JW

August 23, 2007
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JW MarriottSomeone asked a while back what the JW Marriott convention hotel will look like along West Street. I had a chance today to ask Mike Wells of developer REI Investments. He said the hotel will feature a three-story "podium" level covered in glass along West Street. It will form the hotel's main entrance. The north end of the lobby will feature an exhibition kitchen with a two-story, glassed-in wine cellar. Another restaurant will occupy the south end of the lobby, with a check-in desk and a grand staircase in the middle. "It's going to be astounding," Wells said. Unfortunately, the developers don't yet have a rendering that shows the entrance up close. You'll have to use your imagination for now. They hope to begin construction in October. Other renderings are here.
  • Hopefully it is astounding in a difference sense than the black facade they plan to put along Maryland St.

    If there is one thing that would do wonders for Indianapolis design, it isn't necessarily hiring Pritzker-winning architects (though that wouldn't hurt), but rather designing buildings that are 360 degrees. So often buildings in Indianapolis are designed to look good if seen from one specific angle, usually the front. But the other sides of the buildings along the street are awful. The JW is a great example of this.
  • “It’s going to be astounding,” Wells said.

    it's astounding that mike wells even thinks this building looks good. i guess that why he's a businessman and not a designer. too bad the city is stuck with this corporate-designed block of poo. they must've hired the latest school of architecture flunky to design this thing. i know i'm being negative, but i can't help it. they truly missed every chance to make this project a showpiece, and they missed green-design as well. good point, urbanophile about the 360 degrees - couldn't agree more. glad there will be a nice interior hotel to help lure visitors, it's just unfortunate that we have to look at it. never cared (personally) about some of my taxes being spent on projects but this one irritates me...
  • It was me that asked. Thanks Cory!
  • I still like the design..... Have ever since the release of the revised rendering.

    Whan it comes down to it, its still just a freaking hotel people. Not ALL architecture has to make an awe-inspiring impact on our skyline. It will be functional. It is fairly impressive in size. Agian, it's a hotel. Not a museum of contemporary art, presidential library, Fortune 500 company headquarters, luxury apartment building or even very upscale , for that ,matter. Its just a hotel.... a convention hotel.... and thats fine because thats all it needs to be.
  • You know, the more I look at this, the more it looks like one of those trucks that's a billboard on wheels.

    If the bottom had lines and shapes more like the top, it might be less awkward-looking. Yes, it's a convention hotel. But so are the Westin and the Hyatt and the Omni Severin, and none of them has an ugly growth at the bottom.
  • Cool, you are correct, not all architecture has to make an awe-inspiring impact on our skyline. The thing is, Indy has NOTHING that makes an awe-inspiring impact. You expect awe-inspiring when you are giving away tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. This city doesn't expect it nor demand it. That is why we end up with the worst architecture for a city our size.
  • promises, promises,....
  • So I read this blog regularly and have to confess, I'm not an architecture junkie. I'm the type of person that drives down West street, sees a shoddy suburban hotel in a great location downtown, and thinks it would look so much better with a tower and a footprint that reaches the street. Seriously, construction and JOBS are good. Just because the building wouldn't win an award in some magazine that most people don't read doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Call me crazy, but development is good... stagnation is bad.

    Just my two cents. Get that building up. Get the people and the money downtown. And good things will follow.
  • There is actually a lot I like about this design, and some stuff I don't like.

    All that aside, corporate-designed block of poo is my favorite new architectural descriptor! Thank you, ryan!
  • when does construction start?
  • Construction is slated to begin in October. I agree with downtowner, construction is good and economic development is good. REI Investments is well known around Indy for getting the deals done (look at the Downtown Marriot for example, its awesome in my opinion). And White Lodging is a Marriot powerhouse around the country. While the design might not be the best it can be, at least it will get done and I have confidence that it will be done well.

    They're planning on leveling the current Courtyard (and TGIFridays) on the lot, right?
  • The Courtyard building is being retained. If you look at the renderings, you can see it sitting between the two new towers.
  • Thanks, I didn't notice that. I hope they update it a little bit; it looks rather dated. For some reason I had in my head that the original plans were to level it and start from scratch...but that was back when there was going to be a waterpark in the complex.
  • Yeah, I think that was the original plan. You're right, they really need to do something with the facade to bring it up to date with the rest of the development. Given the fact that they're spending $325M, I'd be surprised if they don't address that.
  • CorrND, given the fact that they're spending $325M you would have also thought they'd have half-decent architecture as well. I would never count on anything when it comes to development in Indy.
  • I love the JW Marroitt. I hope they do put a waterpark there. Such class those hotels are.
  • JW Marroitt is the best. A water park would be ideal. Such class those hotel are.
  • Still looks like Wags' Wii...
  • thanks, liberty bell - now let's hope we can get some solid buildings erected in this city and we won't have to use terms with poo in them!
  • I've heard that although the current rendering does not include an updated facade for the Marriott Courtyard, there will be updating... already taken into account for the interior of the hotel, and changes will most likely be made to the exterior facade as well--at least so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb!

    Latest I've heard is the water park was nixed... I haven't heard why.
  • Is one decent skyscraper in Indianapolis too much to ask for?
  • CorrND:

    The facade of the Courtyard will NOT be updated. The Courtyard is currently in an L shape; the part facing West street is in the footprint of the new tower and will be demolished but the Friday's and the smaller building at the back of the property will remain, as is. The plan calls for some minor cleanup and window replacement for the remaining portion of the but I repeat, the skin will not be changed. However, the inside will be completely gutted and rebuilt.

    What a shame...this campus of hotels is going to look like a hodge podge of mediocrity...it won't even look like it was all built at the same time, let alone at a cost of $325 ($48.5 million of which is City money!).

    And now the deal for Pan Am Plaza has fallen through...boy, oh boy, is that 44 story Intercontinental looking like an ever-bigger missed opportunity.

    Well so it goes, in Indiana-no-place...
  • Hey now... It could be MUCH worse! If pulled off right the glass would be really nice as Indy doesn't have too many all glass towers... Besides, the newer of the Ameritech buildings as well as the new redesign of 1 Indiana Square...

    One more thing, this BETTER have a green roof or else! X_X
  • We have gotten so used to saying it could be worse and its not that bad in Indy. Nothing has gone up in Indy that makes you say wow since the World War Memorial.
  • The ArtsGarden perhaps? That's pretty damn sweet to me anyway...
  • Tough love: the current plans do not call for an updating of the facade of the Courtyard; however, I have heard that the plans will probably change and I am fairly confident that REI Investments and White Lodging will update their design and thus update the facade of the building. While this isn't set in stone, I'd put my money on it.

    If people hate Indianapolis and its architecture, why don't they move? If they're not going to do anything about it besides complain, that doesn't do anything for the city. I think many of us have seen Indy at its worst (or near worst) and every new development is a step in the right direction. I'm proud to be an Indianapolis resident and I love showing off our downtown to my friends from other cities and states....and I frequently get comments from those people about how much they love our downtown! So yes, I'm excited for the addition of a new 5 star hotel, even though I will probably never stay there (unless I get invited to the opening for promoting it on propertylines, haha) but I think it makes our city one step closer to first class.
  • Um, indy fan, this will not be a five star hotel. The Conrad isn't even a five star hotel. And you know what, people do move. Its called the massive brain drain of the educated and creative class every year.

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