Apartment conversion for Maxwell

March 18, 2009
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The MaxwellSluggish condo sales have led developer Kosene & Kosene to consider turning its latest downtown project, The Maxwell, into apartments. The local company has moved its corporate headquarters and 40 employees to space previously designated for condos on the second floor of the five-story building, and employees are gearing up to offer the remaining 100 or so units as rentals. As condos, the units started at $140,000, but prices were not yet available for the apartments. The rental market downtown is thriving, at more than 95 percent occupancy, while demand for new condos has dwindled. Apartments at The Maxwell could be more in demand after a fire last week destroyed the Cosmopolitan project, which would have added more than 200 luxury apartments. The $24-million Maxwell project, which sits along Ohio Street between Park and East streets, also features ground-floor retail.
  • I like this idea.. Hopefully the rental prices can be reasonable, if I needed to rent, I would totally consider this location.
  • Better than a gravel parking lot...
  • This is a good thing. I mean, sorry to Kosene that they couldn't sell all the condos...but I think it's kind of a blessing in disguise. Downtown needs all the apartments it can get, especially after the Cosmo.

    Maybe the apartments will get grabbed up super-fast, leading Kosene to think hey, that kinda worked out really well...Let's build some more. Could happen.
  • So much positivity! I love it! :)
  • Is Billy Barule the name of the Judge's putter in CaddyShack? If so, genius name.
  • The condo market may bounce back. but you know what? There were alot of people buying homes and condos that never should have.

    good luck.
  • This particular conversation is just too boring for Property Lines.

    So, is it just me or is the Maxwell an ugly attempt at modern art deco?
  • I personally don't mind The Maxwell. Especially since it has first floor retail.
  • When are they going to be available and how much?!?
    I would love to sell our house and rent for a year while the housing market settles down.
  • Condos would be preferable, do to the ownership component, but I am sure the market is saturated. If they keep the apartments at a level where they get quality tenants, this will be good for downtown. Let a lot of people who could not normally afford it. It will be interesting to see how soon the economy gets back on track to get new projects on the drawing board.
  • The only problem here is what happens to the value of the units that were sold. I would have to assume that the value would go down quite a bit. Homeowners don't usually like to be be in close proximity to those who rent; not that the renters are undesireable sinners, but because they don't have the same incentive to take care of the property and are more transient in nature. I'm sure that Kosene will make some sort of arrangement for the buyers of the sold units -- especially as it probably violates the conditions of the purchase.
  • I never though that the downtown condo market was going to work. A lest not until a larger section of the population lived downtown. As of now, I don't think that downtown supports all of the needs of the people who live there. Hopefully new renters can give companies a renewed interest in providing services for downtown living. In an uncertain economy, a 30 year fixed expense is not as appealing as it was a few years ago. A 5% vacancy rate downtown should give real estate investors a push in the right direction.
  • Any sale agreements on condo units probably would not close at this point.
  • This is great. Even in a hot condo market, people who move to the city for periods of 1 to 5 years ought to think twice on buying a condo or home. Many of you know cost-benefit curves tend to meet around 4 or 5 years, unless you are getting forseeable property appreciation. The city center will definitely attract more residents with a diverse array of rentals, for students to wealthier professionals. I hope this will add to the downtown economy.
  • It seems like the trend is going back to apartments (upscale, of course). Apartment living has some negatives in that there is no real pride of ownership also the length of occupancy is not usually long-term. I think this trend is even going on in the suburbs. Does anybody know what's going on at Renaissance Bay condos being built at 78th and Keystone (used to be Landings apartments)?
  • The UGLINESS of the Maxwell aside (um, pre-fab concrete panels should not be allowed downtown any longer) I think this is good news. Maybe if the demand changes, they could be sold at a later date. I would rather have live bodies in that building as opposed to it sitting half-empty until the market catches back up.

    I like the fact that they have also made this a true mixed-use project. Office, retail and residential. It's just too bad that it is 4 blocks from the core. Most people if they are working downtown will probably STILL DRIVE from that location...
  • Cory, that is a very true observation about this city...and it's sad. Why is it that 4 blocks from the center of the city is like a mile away to some people? It's 4 measly blocks! Get up off your butts and walk it!

    As for the aesthetics, I rather like the Maxwell. Sure, not the greatest. And 'pre-cast art deco' is a bit, well....yuck. It kinda looks like a semi-art deco warehouse conversion. Just new and clean. At least I'll keep telling myself that.

    I understand the ownership issue with condos vs. apartments. But the key to downtown's success lies in attracting new young professionals to it, and decent quality affordable apartments are what they'll be looking for. Few could afford a $200,000 condo. I know I couldn't when I was out of college. (not that anything has changed...I still couldn't afford it.)
  • Wow, pretty amazing info there CoryW and SkywlkrSnd. So there ARE some people downtown not willing to walk a few blocks away from their home? Ridiculous... absolutely ridiculous. When I lived at the Richelieau at East/Mass/North, I used to walk to Circle Centre every day for work. I mean come ON, walking downtown is a freaking PLEASURE. To be in the heart of a large city, in the hustle bustle, noise, people, cars, big buildings... That's just a nice privilege I had living downtown. The only thing I didn't like about walking from my apartment to the mall was during the winter time... NOT as fun, but still managable. Some people are just too damn lazy or unmotivated to realize the potential for themselves by walking.... It's great exercise and much more useful than jumping into the damn car and waste minutes if not half an hour finding a parking space and dealing with traffic as well as burning useless gas. Downtown Indy is NOT downtown Chicago or New York. Of course you don't want to live on side of their downtown and walk clear across to the other side, because it's much larger. But that's why these cities have very good transportation systems, which Indy painfully lacks. A freaking trolley system would be SO nice.......... One can dream...
  • I really do think that Kosene & Kosene is doing the right thing here as far as keeping downtown alive and prospering by offering an alternative for those who want to live downtown. Are all the apartment buildings downtown pretty much full by now? Is the Block Lofts doing pretty good? The Illinois Building would be PERFECT for another loft style apartment building!
  • I like its' blue lights that are on the top crowns at night. It catches your eye as you drive by on 65/70 and cause me to look at everything else downtown. I think it will be a good project overall - even with renters.

  • I had no idea that the building itself has blue lights illuminating the night skyline. Are there any photos of that? I'm curious to know what the rental rates will be at the Maxwell. DOES ANYONE KNOW ANY UPDATE REGARDING THE MARKET SQUARE AREA? That area is so sad to look at.... Imagine the towers there, that area could be a bustling one. One can dream...
  • The building DOES look kind of bland and boring. I just wish designers/architects in Indy will think outside the box more. After taking a look at the photo a little longer, I realized that it looks just like any other building that has been in Indy for so long. Was this intentional of Kosene & Kosene?
  • Last time I was in Indy, I walked by the Maxwell at night and thought to myself that it wasn't half bad. I really don't think its as horrible as some people make it out to be, especially when lit at night.

    And yes Dustin, the occupancy rate for the downtown rental market is just over 95%. Very good, indeed....
  • I read on the indystar site that yes, the entire building will be apartments, which I assume means that anyone who purchased a condo there got their deposit back.
  • I will side with those who approve of the building, however I can think of a handful of design changes (terraces and color come to mind) that would have improved the appearance some.

    DUSTIN: I share your despair for my lovely city. I am hopeful that an improved economy in the near future, coupled with the market street ramp removal will finally spur redevelopment on the site. I hope whatever plan will include a diversity of uses for the buildings including condo, rental, and retail - but potentially also some office space, hotel, or even civic use. Maybe this would hedge against fluctuations in markets and keep the project moving. And what will become of our beloved original city hall (formerly the state museum and library?)
  • I think it is a great move, great location, and mixed use of retail and office space is more attractive to first floor tenants....don't forget, parking garage underground....nice views, great access, and walkable to downtown.
    I didn't think about the Cosmo situation, but I think this is a better use for them right now...The real rental market is monthly rentals, executive types, furnished.....think of the business's who have people in and out (Lilly/Wellpoint) that need more than an hotel stay....
    Good for them, these guys are smart....they shifted their plans, moved their own offices in, and are making this work....
    The reason it is bland looking (I don't think it is) for some is it is a density issue, lots of space up...
  • The conversion to apartments is exactly what the doctor ordered. Get the bodies down here and future dvlpmts/businesses will follow. As far as aesthetics are concerned, it looks great at night but not so great during the day. The pre-fab pannels are far too bland an are literally the same color as a concrete sidewalk. I live a block west and actually kept waiting for them to put a finish on it, guess i was wrong. BTW- I highly doubt most people will still choose to drive from that location to the CBD with the exception of bad weather. The location is ideal for those who want to take advantage of Mass Ave area and D-Town... that is what will prove to make it a succesful project in the end.
  • I talked with the guys at Kosene & Kosene back when they were finishing up the Packard and the Hudson. The early planning for the Maxwell was for apartments, not condos. My guess is they shifted gears due to the Cosmopolitan. So, it's not too much of a stretch for them to switch back to apartments.

    And, I agree with others, I was impressed the first time I saw the blue accent lights at the top of the building at night. It's a very nice touch.
  • Good plan. Presumably they already have the condominium docs in place. That way they can sell units or groups of units to investors as an exit strategy.

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  1. So as I read this the one question that continues to come to me to ask is. Didn't Indiana only have a couple of exchanges for people to opt into which were very high because we really didn't want to expect the plan. So was this study done during that time and if so then I can understand these numbers. I also understand that we have now opened up for more options for hoosiers to choose from. Please correct if I'm wrong and if I'm not why was this not part of the story so that true overview could be taken away and not just parts of it to continue this negative tone against the ACA. I look forward to the clarity.

  2. It's really very simple. All forms of transportation are subsidized. All of them. Your tax money already goes toward every single form of transportation in the state. It is not a bad thing to put tax money toward mass transit. The state spends over 1,000,000,000 (yes billion) on roadway expansions and maintenance every single year. If you want to cry foul over anything cry foul over the overbuilding of highways which only serve people who can afford their own automobile.

  3. So instead of subsidizing a project with a market-driven scope, you suggest we subsidize a project that is way out of line with anything that can be economically sustainable just so we can have a better-looking skyline?

  4. Downtowner, if Cummins isn't getting expedited permitting and tax breaks to "do what they do", then I'd be happy with letting the market decide. But that isn't the case, is it?

  5. Patty, this commuter line provides a way for workers (willing to work lower wages) to get from Marion county to Hamilton county. These people are running your restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and retail stores. I don't see a lot of residents of Carmel working these jobs.