At last: Penn Centre rendering

August 3, 2007
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Penn CentreHere's a preliminary rendering of the Penn Centre development planned along Pennsylvania Street between Maryland and Georgia streets. The J. Greg Allen project is being designed by locally based Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf. At bottom right is a parking lot used by Hampton Inn that is not included in the project. Plans call for towers of 28 and 17 stories, including a 240-room Le Meridien hotel, 150-room aloft hotel, 64 condos and up to six restaurants. The developers face a final hearing in front of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on Sept. 5, then must get the blessing of the Metropolitan Development Commission. They hope to break ground in October. Check out the original post here.
  • As best I can tell, it looks good. It is pretty huge compared to other buildings around, but don't think the size is too much. Glad to see the use of good local architecture firms. This could be one of the better hotel development projects proposed as of recently.
  • looks ok, i have seen that it's going to be about 360 feet tall, is that true?
  • should've known by now not to get excited. looks like the jw mariott's twin. is there (honestly) a ban on traditional footprints for hotels/buildings in this city? why is everything built like it's on the vegas strip, like a long skinny rectangle. i wish i wouldn't have seen this image. disappointing, but why should i expect any less.
  • forgot to mention that it also looks like the cheap air-card i use in my laptop...
  • First, the design is getting better than some of the other proposals we have seen over the last 2 years. But more on that when it is closer to being finalized.

    Some serious problems exist with this version. The sexy parts are pushed up against the vacant corner lot - this means that when a 100-story tower goes up there, the Le Meridien project will lose any identity it had. The sexy needs to go elswhere or the owner needs to pay what is being asked for the corner lot.

    Second, the Sky Exposure Plane needs to be reviewed carefully, because some loopholes are being overlooked with this version.

    Last, there's no way they can get their drawings done in time for an October groundbreak. At least not without a lot of help.
  • Looks like JW
  • looks more like the intercontinental
  • I'd hate to be the Harness Factory residents who pay a premium for views of Conseco Fieldhouse and for surface and garage parking in the building.

    I'm glad I left when I did.
  • Why didn't they show us the pretty side?
  • Boring......
  • It should be noted that this is a preliminary rendering and that the design is still in flux, according to the presenter at the IHCP meeting. I think you get a better feel for the project from this angle (image courtesy of ablerock):
  • Not boring!
  • Who cares if they are blocking the view.. Another parking lot will bite the dust! Infill FTW
  • Come on people, you are looking at a 2 in x 2.5 in preliminary rendering. It is difficult to glean what the final project design will look like and virtually impossible to determine material. Chillout.
  • It looks great and is particulary striking from the southeast. It will fill several holes in Indy's skyline. The 10-story Urban Space proposal on South street will complement it quite nicely.

    The street levels look great. Can't wait to see the cranes. :-)
  • Agreed JAK. Just because it isn't the Chicago Spire doesn't mean it's going to be boring.
  • Good urban design with appropriate density. I like it.
  • thanks corrnd for posting the additonal image. but i must ask, what's the difference from the simon headquarters. coupled with jw mariott, these buildings are all identical. yawn. i don't understand why the buildings don't seem to pull from the wholesale district heritage. not saying that they should be historic replicas, but why isn't there even an effort to try to incorporate the design a little? booo...check out some examples of what i'm talking about on david schwartz/arch. services website:
  • I like what I'm seeing so far. Good utilization of the sapce. Looking forward to seeing color renderings and a final design.
  • What's funny is that it DOES resemble the JW like Kevin G said (at least in this crappy rendering), but with some more visual interest. Also, if 360 ft is the true height, it'll be taller (though I still don't know how JW is squeezing 29 floors into 316 ft or whatever it is). Can't wait to see more renderings..this shows more promise than ANYTHING that's been proposed lately!! I'm beginning to wonder if I should renege on the statement I made about no market in Indy for highrises, BUT I need to see steel and contrete to be convinced! That was the problem with the first MSA proposal!
  • I think it looks good! I don't know what people expect. This picture does not do it much justice but it is still in my mind an awesome project. Though it may not be the landmark many of us were hoping for, Indianapolis is moving ahead and there is no telling what will come. Downtown Indianapolis is something to be proud of. No it will never be a Chicago or a New York but Indianapolis is a wonderful place to live and has not been given the respect it deserves.
  • Everyone who complains about design...I wonder if they actually have ever designed something?
  • If a tower is going to be mixed retail/hotel/condo or retail/hotel/apartment, it's not beyond the realm of possibility to wrap some occupied space around the parking for a couple of floors above the retail whether it's hotel office space, hotel conference rooms, or residences. At least on the busiest street-face.

    I'd rather see windows and balconies and nice materials closer to street level on Penn, which is the view most of us will get of this building most of the time. This rendering seems to show one face and pattern for the first few floors, then a dramatically different one above that.
  • nick - it's not a question of whether anyone who complains about this design has ever in fact tried to design anything themselves, but rather that we have seen exceedingly better design in other cities. that's it. it's known that indianapolis picks mediocre, safe design for civic and private projects. it's also a fact that several hotel designs have become or already were template designs found in other mid-market cities. yes this rendering is small and lacks full detail, but it's easy to tell off the bat that it's not as creaive as it could be and it lacks the kind of urban design that is appropriate (note: it's shaped like a flat rectangle; see jw marriott's rendering of corporate architecture). it's time for a little risk-taking and so far no one seems to have stepped up to the plate...
  • Nick, give me a break. You're the type of person that replies to people that critisize the president and say, I don't see you out there being president.
  • Are there newer, revised JW renderings than these?

    If not, then I don't get how Penn echos JW.... Penn doesn't look ANYTHING like an American flag!
  • Sorry.... Here are the JW renderings I intended to show:
  • I love how nothing riles up the masses on this blog more than the posting of renderings of proposed hotels.
  • I agree with the people that complained about the contemporary design.
    Don't they understand that for a building to be attractive and marketable in this town that it should look like it was built in the 1890's using ungodly expensive construction materials such as marble and limestone. Or cutting edge shapes b/c their is so much money in this city to spend on the best architects and engineers (or they can use local architects that consistentiy turn out what are the same basic building since the Riley Towers)
  • Meh... As of right now i'd give the design a 6.5/10 hopefully the final renders render me wrong. No pun intended. ;-)
  • Wow, lots of whining - not surprised
  • klark obviously hasn't read most of these posts in depth. it's not whining, thank you. it's a call for higher building standards that someone like yourself doesn't even know he's missing. besides, isn't your small comment considered complaining? go back to the posts if you just want to spread negativity.
  • I think the Penn Centre Complex is a very good design and the second best design proposal in the city for a tower after the Kosene Towers, which better win. Depending on the color of glass that is used the hotel looks good, is modern, and urban. Really can not ask for more. The way it will light up at night will be amazing, according to an interview I read, so all the bases are covered except for the facade color.

    Great project, very happy to see it proposed and cheers to an October 2 groundbreaking!!!
  • I LOVE that there are other people as passionate as me about building in Indy. My concern is that there aren't enough of us for developers in Indy to invest in 'cutting-edge' architects. I'm not sure there's enough demand for it. Most of the people I've spoken to in Indy don't know ANYTHING about the JW design, have NO idea what 'Penn Centre' or 'Merrill Street Tower' are, don't know about Indiana Square's facade makeover, and think the Chase tower is 'pretty'. If anyone disagrees with this, BRING IT ON! I love this discussion board, and all the 'whiners' and (at times) heated arguments that come with it! I only hope it gets popular enough that someone important notices!
  • ianeck, has a very active indianapolis message board with lots of great development and architecture discussion. you should check it out sometime.
  • LOOKS LIKE GOVERNMENT HOUSING BUILT IN THE 60'S. can we all say lugar tower.
  • I cannot tell (but believe) this would strike the existing Harness Factory Lofts building, correct? I have not seen any mention of that in any articles and just wonder.
  • I want to again stress that I think that it is great that developers are starting to rely more on local architects. Having grown up in an architect's house I admittedly am biased, but I do know that there are a number of creative, competent and talented architects in this city, and if given the chance could really add to this city. Indy has a great architectural history (Vonnegut & Bohn, Rubush & Hunter, D.A. Bohlen, etc.) and I would like to see new Indy firms leaving their imprint on this city. We don't always need Smith Group, HOK or SOM.
  • Harness Factory Isn't going anywhere, IHPC would never approve that.
  • JAK, you are correct. The Harness Factory will remain, but the view obviously would change. My understanding is that Harness would connect to Penn Centre underground and residents there would have access to parking in the new garage.
  • During the IHPC presentation, they even mentioned that they wanted to be good neighbors to the Harness Factory residents and chose to leave a larger gap between the Le Meridien tower and their building so they could get more light into the lofts.
  • JAK, i completely disagree. Everything going up in this city besides the stadium and airport have been designed by local architects that put out mediocre after mediocre after mediocre design. Local firms have already left their mark on this city and quite frankly its been bland and uninspiring.
  • indy, everything on the IUPUI campus is out of state firms, sometimes with local firm as architect of record sometimes, except Eskanazi Hall. I really that Axis Architects, a lot of Browning Day stuff, Ratio, Blackburn Architects, and others is pretty good and if we would actually invest in the local architecture community maybe we could keep a few of the good architects that leave indy for others cities. Some good city center design standards and review process would be good too.
  • JAK has a good point. The architects no longer get to decide what is designed. Design at this scale is largely dictated by the developer's all-powerful pro forma and any deviation is considered an affront to the developer as it looks embarrassing in those meetings with his/her bank.

    Today, the architect's role is largely damage control; how much design can one fit into a bad pro forma? The sad thing is that most architects here will not pass on big projects, no matter how poorly programmed the developers make it. Even the talented local architects seem to bite their tongues and just roll over for the developers.

    On that note, I can comfortably say that I don't care if the architect is local or not. The resulting buildings will be around a lot longer than the design firms will be (and longer than it takes the senior partners to sell out to the junior partners and move to Florida). Where the architect works is close to meaningless if the resulting design works for the site, the community and the client.
  • Requitus, I agree. It is the developers that are pushing the poor design in Indy. While our peer cities are paying the big bucks to get world class architecture by Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava, Cesar Pelli, etc, we get assembly line architecture.
  • It looks like Aloft will be coming to Plainfield (yuck) as well.
  • I like the design, its high density, and I am sure that corner lot will be filled soon, demand for space will get too high and the hilton hotel would have to be crazy to turn down such offers.
    I am glad the Omega building facade(Holand building 1867)
    is being restored and fixed up, that would have been such a waste to demolish it, and Indianapolis has done quite a bit of fixture saves, and facade re-usage in the past.
    The Penn centre will change the feel of that area, thats for sure, and the skyline.

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