Wheels in motion to select developer of MSA site

May 16, 2013
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Market square redevelopment
                              site 225pxThe competition to redevelop a downtown parking lot where Market Square Arena once stood is beginning to heat up. The city last month received bids from six teams, all proposing mixed-use projects ranging in size from eight to 52 stories. Though city officials remain mum on specific details of each proposal, this much is clear: They began interviewing candidates this week, according to Deron Kintner, deputy mayor of economic development. “After that, we’ll have all the information to begin narrowing it down,” he said. A source close to the process thinks the city could announce the finalists within the next two to three weeks. IBJ gathered enough information to name in its April 22 issue four of the six development teams submitting proposals. They are: Browning Investments and The Whitsett Group; Flaherty & Collins Properties; Keystone Group and Forest City Enterprises; and Milhaus Development and REI Real Estate Services LLC. The other two teams, according to Kintner, are Kite Realty Group and Buckingham Cos.; and Barrett & Stokely Inc. and Ryan Companies US Inc. The city called for proposals to include a high-rise building well beyond four stories above a major retail component on the ground level. Wagers on who submitted the 52-story proposal?

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  • Umm
    I'm pretty sure an earlier story here in IBJ already told us who submitted the 52-story proposal. Am I mistaken?
    • 52-story proposal
      Yes you are. Details of the proposals have not been revealed by the city.
    • But....
      .... maybe that earlier report was wrong? I know that Barrett and Stokely had floated a high rise apartment building at the current location of the Conrad back in the earlier 2000's.
    • Wagers
      I think the real wager should be on if Keystone Group will win. It will be next to impossible for any other proposal to win since King Ballard will be making the decision.
    • Selection
      Mary, I believe all those companies have donated heavily to Ballard, not just Keystone. These companies are pretty smart. They take turns when it comes to winning city contracts.
    • builders
      As much as I love supporting local, I really wish some out of town developers would bid on some of these projects downtown.
      • Tower Builder
        My guess on the 52 story tower would be one the following three. Browning/Whitsett since Browning has been involved with previous high rise proposals including the 40+ story Intercontinental Hotel on the PanAm site before the City slected the JW Marriott. Next would be Flaherty & Collins since they were involved in a 50 story residential project in Charlotte so they know what is required to put a proposal like this together. Finally would be Barrett & Stokley since they have already built high rise with Riley Towers but not sure they would go this tall. If I remember right, I believe their previous proposal on the Conrad site was called the Roosevelt and was around 26 stories tall. Looking forward to seeing all the proposals when the city releases them!
        • swing and a miss
          Three strikes, Ken, yer out! It will be interesting to see who wins this deal as none of the players really have high-rise experience. It's a completely different financial, structural and architectural game. I hope whoever wins gives us a world-class development, and not a nickel-and-dimed development.
        • 52 Stories?
          Speculating on which party proposed the 52 story building is beyond the scope of your journalists or typical commentor. Only a psychiatrist after a through exam could determine which group is the craziest and most delusional. That is the group which proposed it.
        • tower
          Barret & Stokley were teenagers (or younger) when RT was built.They bought it in the 1990's. Keystone made the "sky-high" proposal.
        • Negative Comments
          Hey guys/gals why all the negative comments? Scott was just trying to have some fun while we wait for the actual project data to be released. None of us are going to know who is right and who is wrong unless you have an inside scoop with the City. If you do, I'm sure your input would be greatly appreciated. In the end I think we all are just hoping for a high quality project that enhances our downtown. I personally think we could use a 52 story addition to our skyline but the numbers have to make sense for it to work. May the best bid win!
        • Height
          Anything below 20 stories should be tossed. On the east side, the next 3-5 developments should have 20 stories or more to have a chance being passed. Indy could have a respectable skyline with 3-5 more high rises.
        • Go big
          I love the Intercontinental idea. Indy needs another big hotel to land another Super Bowl and that would solidfy east downtown. Make it greggy!
        • Why so negative...
          Maybe the negativity is just a sign of the cynicism that gets created by how the City does business. Maybe people would really rather actually see the details of what has been proposed to be built on publicly owned land, which will require a public hearing to be approved, rather than guessing at what the Mayor's Office is reviewing and what they will bestow upon us. The whole public hearing process will be rendered mostly moot after the Mayor has signed an agreement with his preferred developer. Or, maybe I'm the only one who is tired of Indianapolis' tightly knit, closed circle brand of government.
        • Keysone
          This is a big joke, we all know that Keystone will get the job. It was predetermined prior to the announcement.Nothing gets done in this city with out Keystones involvement
        • RE: Idyllic Indy
          Hear, hear Idyllic Indy! If things in this city were done more openly, maybe there would be less negativity. But after the horrible fleecing of the citizens of Indianapolis with the Broad Ripple parking garage, I have no faith this project will be selected on the merits of the proposal.
          • Chill out
            Will you please calm down? Everyone should be excited that there's a potential high rise coming to our city. Our skyline is embarrassing for a city of its size. Stop with all of the negative comments. If you don't like indianapolis and the way things get done, leave!
          • Re: Lucy
            Well there you have it. It took 5 hours, but we finally got our obligatory "if you don't like what we do here, then leave!" comment. Yeah, that's constructive. Thankfully, I will be doing just that in a few months.
          • Babes Tower
            I've heard that Babes is working with Whitsett group to set the Guinness World Record for the tallest (52 stories) strip club in the world. Naturally, since Whitsett is in involved, at least 50% of the floors will be affordable housing. Greg Ballard's legacy will be making Indianapolis the strip club capital of the world
            • Wow
              The amount of ignorance displayed in so many IBJ posts is astounding.... astounding, I tell ya.
              • Proposals
                So, will the public ever get to see each of the proposals like we were able to with the failed MSA projects? If so, could they also provide how much in contributions each developer has given the Ballard administration?
                • Strip mall sign
                  On a lighter matter, what's with the strip mall sign on the new ice cream shop across from Starbuck's on Mass Ave?
                • Hail Marshall!
                  You tell 'em, Marshall. Everybody bow down; this commenter is truly your moral and intellectual superior. Marshall has come to scorn those ignorant peons who want something other than a mediocre affordable housing project to be build on this site.
                • Must... have... skyscrapers
                  Yes, what embarasses me about Indianapolis is:... drumroll please... our meager skyline. It's not the cronyism, corruption, poor street design, lack of public transportation, etc. Nope, it's the lack of skyscrapers. I'm so glad our urban environment isn't like Washington D.C. (no skyscrapers). That would really be embarassing. If there's a market for a skyscraper, so be it. But I'll take any bet that says they won't be asking for a big handout on any 52-story building proposal at MSA.
                  • Indy needs to take a risk
                    This is the perfect opportunity for Indianapolis to make a bold statement for downtown living. Building the tower would just help attract the right major retailer. What's really to lose for Indianapolis? The tower would make downtown too livable? BUILD THE TOWER!!!
                  • Bring the Tower of Power
                    I dont care who builds it, but really hope we do get a 52 story tower. Our city needs to add something meaningful to the skyline. Please, someone, bring the Tower of Power!
                  • 52 stories
                    REI built the JW. Why not build another building in line of site (pun intended)
                  • What?
                    This makes no sense.
                  • Hey Mathers...
                    ... if I didn't care about being banned, I'd tell you how i really feel. And YES, many people who post here ARE absolutely ignorant when it comes to urban development and living. Your attempt at sarcasm will not change that.
                  • Lest We forget?
                    Remember Peterson's 100% political choice for the site, a total failure and it was totally inexperienced development team with nothing but big money on their mind...losers! Hopefully this time politics and 'merit' are chosen. Whitsett & Browning are hot, and doing a good job, but Milhaus and Keystone are serious players. F&C could surprise us all? 52 or 40, it's all good!
                  • Mathers
                    And yes, with your affordable housing comment, I'll go ahead and throw you in that group....
                  • Skyline isn't Bad
                    I don't think Indy's skyline is embarrassing. Honestly, I think it is effective, well balanced and is appropriate for our size & level of importance. The buildings themselves are boring and provide no diversity as they all resemble each other...What we lack is residential high rise towers. I am confident that Ballard is going to reach for the sky and pick a tower that will significantly impact the skyline. He wants a legacy project and with his new spending abilities, get ready for another City-Way type deal.
                  • Skeptic of Keystone
                    As much as everyone in this post is thinking Keystone is the likely front runner, I would suggest doing a little more research because I'm a little skeptical of their ability to do this project correctly. Yes, Keystone has been successful on several projects of late but not simply because of Ersal and Paul Okeson's connections with city officials. The word from the construction industry is that turmoil has struck the inner workings of Keystone's office environment. Several key personnel have left in the past 3 months who were instrumental in landing the deals of late. However, money talks. For those of you who don't know, Keystone's primary source of funding to get started came from the Ozdemir's family who own a significant oil reserve in Turkey. This allows a significant amount of financial resources to accompany the firm. This could also be a good financial resource for the new soccer team coming to Indy (that will likely flop and end up costing the city money). What people fail to look into is the quality of construction provided by Keystone. The most successful projects in construction consist of teams built around a leader where mutual respect is displayed from all involved in the project. I would imagine if you surveyed the majority of subcontractors, material suppliers, and others involved on Keystone project they will likely tell you the same thing: “we don’t get paid on time” “the jobsites are NOT safe” “our own bids are then rebid over and over again” When money talks no one cares about these issues. Just my two cents.
                  • It is Keystone
                    The 52 story proposal is Keystone's. I heard it directly from one of their employees.
                  • Surprised...
                    Tons of crazy comments on here and no one noticed the most intriguing piece to this release - that Keystone is partnering with Forest City. That should be the headline.
                  • Why...
                    ...should it matter so much if the winning proposal belongs to Keystone. If their's is the best, why would we pick anything else? I just don't get it...
                  • Chicago south
                    It hurts me that Indianapolis is turning into Chicago south with the rampant corruption that exists in our local government. Favors and money being passed back and forth like candy.
                    • Indy Has Passed Chicago
                      Esther, Indy has passed Chicago in the local government corruption arena. Don't downgrade us. We're No. 1 in the Midwest.
                    • Building will be tall
                      I recall that MSA's pilings are still in the ground and hard to remove. It’s not likely any proposal will include significant underground construction/parking because of this. Start adding 2 floors of retail, 8 floors of parking and 5-10 floors of possible hotel, and/or 10-20 floors of residential, and you are at 30 floors already with possible expansion of all the uses. But then again I could be wrong.
                    • 52 stories high
                      The city needs to make a statement and add to our existing skyline on this prime property. A skyline reflects on a cities character. Anything below 35 stories would be disappointing...lets go big, 52 stories!!
                      • What's the point in building tall
                        ...with a loacal company? Does anyone think the Ballard administration will select a proposal based on design? I love utilitarian structures but this development needs to make a bold design statement. Just like the new (architect from NYC???) transit terminal being shut down by the city due to cost. Hmmm...too bad. Some day Indy will have to take the hit on a progressive (and utilitarian) skyscraper. It will not come from Keystone's 52 story tower proposal. Just look at the interior of the JW Marriot? Time to go outside for good design.
                        • RE: Micah
                          The idea that Indiana needs to look outside their border for an architect (such as from NYC) is laughable at best and mostly insulting to the quality designers that live and work in Indiana. Well designed sophisticated building ideas are produced every day by architecture firms in and around Indy, but far too often they are deemed too expensive or too outside the perceived "norm" to be fully realized. An architect has a responsibility to the society/community they are working within to deliver well designed, sustainable buildings. However they are also responsible to the owner of the property to deliver a design that a) the owner wants to pay for b) the owner themselves likes and approves and c) is economically responsible. Unfortunately these two masters do not always see eye to eye and you end up with a watered down version of a great design or a cheapest-per-square-foot building that looks exactly like every other development.
                        • horizontal city
                          We seem to build so many of our buildings low and long (Fed bldg., Anthem, state office bldg., the new county hospital, and others). We would have a much better skyline if we would start building up instead of out. Hoping for 52 stories!
                        • Update?
                          Has there been any update on who the finalists are and what their proposals include?
                        • 52 stories
                          52 STORIES please...downtown would be soo much more appealing.
                        • Skyline
                          Please go with the 52 story tower, the city of indianapolis would look even more amazing

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                        1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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                        4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

                        5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.

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