Tourist Attractions and Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Attractions and Development/Redevelopment and City Market and Historic Preservation and Tourism & Hospitality and Architecture/Design and Real Estate & Retail and Small Business

Ratio finishing City Market design work

May 17, 2011

Ratio Architects Inc. will complete a design contract on a renovation project at the Indianapolis City Market originally awarded to Woollen Molzen and Partners Inc., a longtime local architectural firm that closed earlier this year.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is set to award Indianapolis-based Ratio a $120,000 contract Wednesday to complete the work started by Woollen Molzan. The vote follows the arrival of Woollen Molzan partners Lynn Molzan and Kevin Huse to Ratio late last month after the closure of their 56-year-old firm.

Woollen Molzen began designing renovations to the downtown historic structure’s main hall and east wing in 2009, as part of a $3.5 million project that began last year.

About $800,000 will be spent to convert the market’s east wing into a hub where bicyclists can store bikes and shower. And upgrades including new lighting, restrooms and vendor stands are under way within the main hall.

Bids for the main hall came in about $700,000 over the original $2.7 million estimate, and the project started a few months later than the announced early-fall date.

Both the main-hall and east-wing projects are on track to be finished sometime in July, Ratio Managing Partner Bill Browne said.

Ratio will be involved in plaza work outside the bike hub and will finish vendor layouts in the main hall.

“As an avid cyclist myself, this is a wonderful addition to the downtown,” Browne said of the bike hub. “Obviously, with the Cultural Trail running nearby, the opportunity to have a bike area is really pretty nice.”

The bulk of the money for the project was generated by a downtown tax-increment-financing district and from budget savings derived from efficiency gains that the market found through an independent energy audit.

A funding source for the market’s west wing has not yet been identified. Original plans called for demolishing that section as part of the current renovations, but the west-wing project was put on hold when bids for the overall renovation came in over budget.

The city had explored using funds from the sale of its water and sewer utilities. Mayor Greg Ballard said last week he’s not inclined to tap that money, but he eventually hopes to address that part of the building.

Founded in 1886 and located just north of the City-County Building at Delaware and Market streets, City Market has long been a lunchtime institution. But its business has endured a slow, steady slide for decades as its customer base moved to the suburbs.

A bar on the second floor, Tomlinson Tap Room, opened in November.

Ratio Architects is the city’s fourth-largest architectural firm, based on local billings, according to IBJ statistics. It has designed several of the city’s most notable buildings, which most recently include the addition to the Indiana Convention Center.

 

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