A new Cosmopolitan view

May 5, 2008
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Cosmopolitan on the CanalCheck out this new rendering of the $33 million Cosmopolitan on the Canal project. Locally based Flaherty & Collins Properties is building on a site bordered by the canal, Senate Avenue, Michigan Street and North Street. Plans call for 218 apartments, 18,000 square feet of retail space and a 338-space parking garage. You can see the planned coffee shop at right. Other targeted retail users include a restaurant and drycleaner.
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  • Impressive. Although I was hoping for more of a courtyard feel between the buildings. Still I like it.
  • This is a great example of good infill development. I know people are going to complain about the loss of green space, but it is much more attractive than a parking garage. The canal needs more restaurants and retail, so I think this is a good step in that direction. I'm also happy to see more apartment projects in the work for downtown.
  • Great. finally someone who understands how to build and fo infill development in an urban style that isn't all block buildings. I really hope this is a go and gets completed soon!
  • Mike, it is a go already. Construction has already begun and the foundation is starting to shape up. Spring 2009 is what the signs say. I wish it was this year...
  • Looks good. Question for anyone: If/When 'INB' tower gets refaced. It's becoming an eyesore. What's worse, was used as backdrop to CNN's election site. Now the whole world is privy to this blight. I know there are/have been insurance payout issues--but someone needs to step in and get this done. Let the insurance litigators battle it out in a courtroom later. Ugggleee.
  • Looks good to me, not great, but is definitely an improvement over previous canal developments. I'm very glad someone is finally going to risk canal-front food/retail development, but I wish they'd included the section on the left, as well.

    It's not my personal favorite style, but I agree, it's good infill. It looks classy and conservative. I like the brick color. I hope it's that dark and burgundy in reality.

    I also applaud the developer's inclusion of public parking for the canal, which is a no-brainer-of-an-idea that seems to have been lost on every other canal developer until now.
  • George, I don't know which side you're looking at, but from my view of the south face of the Regions/INB building, they're about 20-30% refaced, and working hard every day. It's already coming together to where you can sort of see what it'll look like when it's done.
  • Looks like a solid project, once again not inspiring architecture, but nothing overly pretentious and a well thought our plan that actually attempts to interact with traffic on the canal. Hopefully this opens the door for similar projects in the future.
  • For Indianapolis, this is a solid, good project. Thank you Flaherty & Collins!
  • I feel like I've stepped into a time warp. All these people talking about projects that are well underway as if they are barely even proposals.
  • Sounds like a rare agreement from almost everyone - this looks like a pretty solid project. It would be good to see F&C do more downtown Indy development. Don't they have a 50 story condo tower under construction in Charlotte? A pair of those might be a good fit for the MSA site.....Ok, I can dream, can't I?

    When is this project due for occupancy?
  • Urbanophile: Summer 2009
  • Urbanophile(Can we shorten that to UP or something?): I agree that it is odd to see such a high level of near unanimous optimism here. As far as the MSA site goes, I think two 50 story towers might be a tad bit much, and I'm a guy who wishes we could have big city density. Let's get a few 30-35 story towers, and save room in the market for high density infill elsewhere, like north of the OneAmerica Tower.
  • This project is the first real from the ground up dense mixed-use project in Indianapolis. Its importance cannot be overstated and its success or failure will have long-lasting implications for the market. If it succeeds, it will breed copycats just as the first successful downtown condo/townhome developments did.

    The basic configuration of residential and retail or commercial wrapping (and hiding) a central parking garage is an excellent model for the sort of 3-7 story urban infill that we need to replace all those surface parking lots downtown.
  • The residential component is a slam dunk. Given the 4 to 5 month waiting lists for apartments at Gardens of Canal Court and Canal Square, there is significantly more demand than there is supply for high-end apartments close to IUPUI.

    The retail side is slightly more up in the air, but I'm pretty confident that it will work. The residential density in a two block radius from this site is probably the highest in downtown and will only get higher if Paramount Tower gets off the ground. As long as the retail uses are geared toward the predominantly student and young professional population in the area, they shouldn't have any problems.
  • thunder, interestingly the Canal Square Apartment did a semi-decent job of this over a decade ago. I don't care for the architecture so much, but the site plan concept was pretty strong. Unfortunately, that did not inspire imitators. Until the Cosmopolitan, the quality of development has basically been in steady decline since it was created. So I think the jury is still out on the future.

    The fact that Canal lacks retail and sees only limited use (comparatively) is a direct result of the low quality development that basically saw much of the Canal turned into little more than a suburban office park amenity like those fountainty things you see in retaining ponds up north. I still can't get over that the parking lots are all off limits even on weekends, particularly when all of those buildings received big city subsidies. The newer apartments are likewise basically a suburban model plopped downtown. It should be no surprise what the end result was.
  • I’m pleasantly surprised with the overall look and design. The size is good for density but it’s not so tall as to overwhelm the canal. The architect also did a good job of manipulating the canal façade to make it seem more approachable. It’s hard to tell from this rendering, but I hope the three-dimensionality of the building skin is pronounced enough so that it doesn’t come off as being unnaturally flat once it is built.

    Two thoughts: First, the materials are going to be critical. If they can buck the canal apartment trend of using faux stucco (“EIFS”) and low-end masonry (homebuilder-grade brick and split-face concrete blocks), and instead use a commercial grade (maybe an “iron spot”) brick and ground/polished blocks or natural stone, this could be a slick model for other urban infill apartments. From the landlord’s perspective, I would expect low-maintenance and longevity from the materials to be mandatory, but this concept has eluded some of the early canal apartment builders.

    Second, the retail is great and sorely needed, but it seems a little minimized. I understand that the residents need access to the canal via the stair, but I wonder if more canal level retail could still be squeezed in on the north side. Some banners/flags and awnings could help create a sense of place around the storefronts and liven up the area. Creative lighting is also an option, and let’s all hope that the landlord controls the tenant signage as well as he/she controls the architectural look (no back-lit Plexiglas box signs or electronic variable message signs).

    Overall, I think this is one of the better schemes that have been proposed for the canal over the past few years.
  • Urbanophile, Cosmopolitan appears to be a full grade or two better than those suburban brick-EIFS-standing seam metal buildings that preceded it on the Canal. It is certainly more urban, in that it is far more permeable both at canal level and street level.

    That the Cosmopolitan is a considerably better development than Canal Square Apartments is evidence of progress.
  • Bland, bland, bland. When do we actually do something progressive? What was so good about the last century and a half that we want to repeat it?
  • Don Able - I agree with you from an architectural standpoint. But I believe everyone is positive because of the nature of the development and the thought that went into the plan. You can read my blog(click on my name above) and you can see that I hate faux historic projects or projects that dwell on a specific, outdated style that will only look dated in 10 years.
  • thunder, this is definitely a step up from the Canal Square design and materials. I'm only saying that Canal Square got the site plan concept mostly right, then follow-on development disregarded it.

    I also think this scale of development is mostly what is needed downtown. This isn't NYC, and high rises traditionally haven't worked well for a variety of reasons I don't have time to type now.

    I do think high rise development with very high density would be appropriate in select spots. The MSA site is one of them, since something major is needed to bridge the gap between the Warehouse District and Mass Ave. The Pan Am Plaza site might be another. A few of the vacant lots NW of the AUL Tower might also fit the bill.

    But for the most part, the Cosmopolitan is a good scale of development, along with mid-rise structures such as 707 E. North St.
  • it is hard to tell from the picture, but it appears that this building will look pretty good in that location and relates relatively well to the Historic Landmarks HQ next door. Nice urban infill.
  • Great Size project, i didnt realize how large this building actually was unitil seeing this rendering. The canal will deffinately benefit from some increased pedestrian traffic, and hopefully a good decisions are made as to which retailers and buisnesses will be moving into the street and canal level.
  • ^^^ That a does not need to be in between, hopefully and good, sorry, I changed my thought process half way through.
  • Are you serious Mike? Do you really have any expectations that the materials will be anything but veneer or jumbo brick, split face block, and EIFS? I don't. How about the way this building seems to literally slam down on the concrete path next to the canal. No buffer whatsoever. Do you think that was a creative decision or a desire to maximize the footprint? I'm guessing that was a financially motivated decision. I find it interesting to take a project like this and see how it stands up to the most rudimentary design explorations we all recall. Would be interesting to see a figure/ground study, a solid void study, a negative/positive space study. How about even a simple parti diagram. I'm sure none of these exist. I'm guessing this started with maximizing the layout of prototypical apartment units that could be altered to condos in the future. Obviously, and rightfully a programatic requirement, but maybe a little thought after that? Precious sites like this deserve that extra bit of thought.
  • Thundermutt: That the Cosmopolitan is a considerably better development than Canal Square Apartments is actually just evidence of 20 years passage of time, and rents going from $.65/sf to $1.40/sf. Market-rate buildings are a byproduct of their economic environment. Canal was pioneering when constructed and unfortunately the original developers (and Canal Overlook) lost huge money by investing too early. I'm sorry that some folks don't believe that this development meets some academic idealized design exploration. God forbid they make a financially motivated decision. F&C (and many other private developers downtown) are taking large risks by investing their private capital in Indianapolis and will hopefully earn good returns this time around. Success breeds success and additional investment by others.
  • RealBroker. We're not talking acedemic ideals. Any level of attempt would be nice, and that's not exclusive of financial motivation. Development can be successfull on multiple levels if you so choose. It won't be if you don't attempt.
  • I love this project and agree with those about it being solid infill that will hopefully be a catalyst for the maturation of the Canal. We all know that the Canal needs to grow-up and find itself and the success of this project will do wonders for a sorely underutilized urban gem. I like how the courtyard seems to pull the Canal into the project, instead of being tacked on.

    The City needs to really push restaurants and bars. The office space that is centered around the hotels, just north of Ohio Street where the Canal widens, has great opportunities for drinking places.

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