A smorgasbord of topics

February 8, 2008
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Flagstar BankWorkers are installing Flagstar Bank signs on the One North Penn building this week, including a sign atop the 13-story building. What do you think of the sign and the white screen behind it? (Click photo for a larger version.)

Adam's Mark has a new owner with plans for an $18-million renovation to correspond with the new airport. Speaking of the new airport, anyone seen the progress from the sky lately?

Atlanta-based Beazer Homes is dropping out of five markets, including Cincinnatti and Columbus in Ohio, but plans to keep its presence in central Indiana. Good sign?

An investment group led by 23-year-old Christopher Piazza has bought the Penn Arts building at 16th and Pennsylvania streets, as Tracy Donhardt reported in this week's IBJ Real Estate Weekly. Piazza expects to spend $3 million renovating the building but has scrapped plans for a condo conversion. Can he pull it off?

And finally, Greenwood spent $130,000 to lure Cabela's, which has put its store on hold. Was this money well spent?

  • I toured Penn Arts a couple months ago, and let's just say, it is going to take every cent of that $3 million to bring it up to snuff. It needs a total gut. I hope that figure covers it. The bones of the building are great, but the residents demolished it.

    It can really anchor a revitalization of that corridor though. One thing that I never thought of that the seller pointed out was that Herron being a High School now means that a lot of illegal activity that was once a misdemeanor is now a felony, which I have to imagine hurts some of the clients that might have been attracted to the low rents.
  • That sign looks pretty bad from the photo. It doesn't integrate with the building at all. and cover ups some of the window detailing. It's too bad. That building has really been abused over the years. The top floors used to house a beautiful ballroom. Can you imagine how awesome that would be if restored?
  • Ick.
  • Do. Not. Like.
  • I think Greenwood should have put up a contract with that money with a clause of building within a certain date.
  • From the photograph, the sign is an example of extremely poor design. As Ablerock said, it doesn't integrate with the building. Maybe this is another case of marketing people trying to do design work. They shouldn't even think about going there. This sign instills a poor image on the company as far as I'm concerned.
  • Why in the name of good sense would this signage be approved? Mayor Ballard, are you paying attention to what is going on? Perhaps this was done before your time, but let this be a lesson to someone who tries something this attrocious again. Flagstar Bank - shame, shame, shame!!!!!!
  • I read an article from the Mayor of Carmel more than a few months ago, I believe it was in Indianapolis Monthly. He was asked what he would do if he was mayor of Indianapolis. He said one the of the first things he would do was make a sign ordinance. Apparently the city doesn't have sign design standards (height restrictions ect.).
  • They're here:

    They are pretty loose, but we do have them.
  • Yeah I can't say I've seen too many impressive signs in my day. Although I can think of many big buildings with signs, the only cool building signs that stick out in my mind around these parts are the recently removed First Indiana sign (okay not cool but it WAS iconic), the Marrott sign on Meridian, and of course the also recently removed Nick's sign on Kirkwood in Bloomington.

    Does anyone have any word on new signage on the former First Indiana building? What about Nick's in Bloomington? Are they putting the sign back up after they finish the building going in the former Jiffy Treet lot?

    The winner for the most outrageously horrifically gaudy sign ever in the history of the world is the former Arby's Roast Beef Is Delicious rotating cowboy hat sign. Good thing they never put that one on a highrise.
  • Wow!!! The city is so lucky to have such a nice sign on 1 N. Pennsylvania. I would encourage the city to approve maybe some additional rooftop for billboards display. Indy can become the mid-west Times Square. Please everyone send the suggestion of roof top locations to me.

    Let me state the color is so dynamic. I can't wait until I come to town at night and see how beautiful and intriguing the sign is when it is nice and red. Maybe the top floor is a Red Light district. Can you imagine what other cities will do when they see the picture? Please approve all signs and throw out any sign ordnances that exist in the city. Hope to hear from everyone on this fantastic sign.
  • Flagstar Sign...hideous....disgusting.....and very, very sad. I have no desire to do business with them. Hope they see this.
  • Sign Regs are as loose as a goose. I think the City has been working on revising them for about 5-6 years now. The wheels turning slowly at DMD, although most of the time they appear to be flat.
  • Hey, has anyone else driven down Meridian at night since Buckingham turned the lights on the exterior of their new building (at Meridian & St. Joe, north of the library)?

    It is way different for Indy, and way cool.
  • UGH. Remind me to never to business with Flagstar bank.
  • Historic building facades should not be soiled with such disgusting sighnage.
  • I find it quite amusing how adamant the Greenwood city leaders were that they would not make an investment in a proposed Ivy Tech/IUPUI joint venture. The city leaders were so smug and condescending as evidenced by these quotes from the Star:

    If this was the first one and we were trying to get something in here, but this being the fourth institution of higher learning, let them come if they want to, Councilman Bruce Armstrong said. I'll welcome them with open arms and a closed checkbook.

    I think we'd be setting kind of a bad precedent to have these other higher education institutions come in and we didn't give them financial incentives, said Councilman Brent Corey. If the market bears it, they'll move in. If the market doesn't bear it, they won't move. My guess is they'll move in.

    Looks like the city should have welcomed Cabela's with open arms and a closed checkbook.
  • Berwickguy, as much as you would like to blame Ballard for anything and everything, the mayor does not personally approve every zoning variance. In fact he has nothing to do with them.

    Indy does have sign regulations, but they're loose, and all you have to do is apply for a variance that will get rubber-stamped.
  • Johnny, it just goes to show you where Greenwood's priorities are...with guns not books.
  • Beazer, (the old Crossmann) new name , same crap, staying in Indianapolis a good sign? People must have been sniffing too much paint when that was written. That company is one of the prime culprits of sub prime lending , which has led to foreclosed subdivisions. It would be great to see them pack up and leave along with several other builders who live and hopefully will die from this sub prime mess. Take their poorly constructed homes with them too.I could construct a home with oatmeal mix and water and it would last longer.
  • Dave:

    I'm not blaming Mayor Ballard. I support him. I just hope he's paying attention and will have someone make this issue a priority. Mayors are in a position to bring a lot of heat to an issue even when they aren't involved in the approval process. Let's all hope folks from the city including Mayor Ballard take heed to what's being said here and will provide much needed attention to an issue that is long overdue in being addressed.
  • Regarding Adam's Mark: One wonders if anyone will stay at the hotels near the old airport terminal after the new entrance/exit opens several miles west, even if it's facelifted and rebranded with a big national name.

    To get to the Adam's Mark from the new airport exit, it will be necessary to come east on 70 from outside 465, then get on 465 north, only to get back off at Airport Expressway westbound, then find the right exit. Seems like an unfamiliar visitor would just skip that and go further out to 267 or all the way into downtown for a pricey hotel. It's even worse for the old Hilton adjacent to the parking garages and for the Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza across HS Road from it.
  • If you look at old aerial views of 1 N. Penn, there's a painted First Indiana sign on the (brick) north face of the building.

    That's the only sign spot on that building that faces traffic and is visible from any distance at street level. Penn is ONE WAY SOUTHBOUND!

    The only people who can really see the west-facing sign are in the Chase tower. Washington St. is one way WESTBOUND there.

    I'm not even sure it will be visible on the downtown skyline from inside LOS. So this is a curious marketing decision. A more urban vertical blade sign on the SW corner of the building, visible from both Penn and Washington, might have been the better choice.
  • that is Cincinnati
  • The Flagstar bank sign might be a short stay. I wonder how long the lease will be maybe 2 years desperate building owners will agree to anything for a lease. The good news is that at around $6.00 a share the bank might be sold and then we can get a new sign.
  • Is there a requirement that all signage downtown be red or white? I think it would be better to mix it up a bit.
  • I used to live in the Penn Arts building back in the late 90's. Back then it was an eclectic mix of people - many art students. I had a 536 sf one bedroom apartment. The unit I had had been re-done when I moved in. It wasn't bad. The longer I lived there though, the area seemed to decline. I never had a single problem until my car was broken into. I saw the signs up about the condo converstion and thought it was a bad idea. I'm glad they're working to fix it up. It does have good bones, it just needs some attention. The ground floor spaces would be great for a coffee shop, I think. Maybe it will spur some revitalization of that corridor.
  • Ha. What a fiasco. It’s not often that we get to see such a spectacularly bad business decision displayed so prominently on an urban high-rise in a major city. Flagstar needs damage control, and fast, if it has even the faintest of survival instincts.

    They probably need to consult with an architect as soon as possible and issue a statement dismissing this signage as “temporary.” I see no other way to mitigate what’s already been done.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, I checked Indy.gov, and this property is not under IHPC protection.
  • Retail and other low-wage industries should never be subsidized. And high wage industries should only be minimally subsidized under certain circumstances. Cities should always invest in their basic infrastructure of public safety, streets, drainage and sanitation.
  • What is everyone so upset about. This is indeed an ugly sign and acts as a parasite on the building, but ALAS, do not hold your breath. Given the fast turnaround and takeovers in this business sector, the name will change within 18 months. If Indy is lucky, the new takeover bank will have a shorter name and therefore will obstruct fewer windows. If you want to see building bastardization by signage, look at the great old deco building E. Clem Wilson Building at 5217 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
    Indy is a new at this game.

  • Nice point, amax. That's even worse. I also like the image in your link that points to the Bryson Apartment Hotel (1913). If you need to be indiscrete, this is how you advertise your name without destroying the architecture...
  • Does anyone remember how the Crown Hill Advocates opposed the development of unused land at the north end of Crown Hill Cemetery? Does Canal Park Advocates sound familiar? Was Cathy Burton in the leadership of both groups? Wake up, Indianapolis! Don't let the know-nothings triumph again.
  • Cathy Burton should stick to detroying the suburbs and stay out of urban issues.

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