Local Red Cross unveils plans for new headquarters

October 8, 2013
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The American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis has unveiled plans for its roughly $10 million headquarters to be built on North Meridian Street as part of a larger city land-swap deal.

red cross building on meridian
                              225pxThe building, with the Red Cross logo displayed prominently on the exterior, would total 44,000 square feet and be large enough to accommodate the not-for-profit’s 64 employees. In addition, 151 parking spaces would be provided.

IBJ first reported on the multi-step site swap in March, which would make way for a $43 million apartment and retail development on Massachusetts Avenue.

Plans call for the Indianapolis Fire Department to take over the Red Cross’ headquarters at 441 E. 10th St.—about four blocks north of the existing IFD complex at the intersection of Mass Ave, North New Jersey Street and East North Street.

To make way for the fire department, the Red Cross would build its headquarters at the former home of the Payton Wells car dealership at 1510 N. Meridian St. The dealership closed in 2007 and the building was demolished in January.

The Red Cross also plans to demolish a two-story building to the south at 1440 N. Meridian St., the former home of WXIN-TV Channel 59, which moved to Intech Park on the northwest side in late 2003.

The final step would have a team of local developers—J.C. Hart Co., Schmidt Architects and Strongbox Commercial—construct a five-story project with about 235 apartments and 40,000 square feet of commercial space on the 1.45-acre Mass Ave site vacated by the fire department.

Renderings of the new Red Cross headquarters, designed by Schmidt, show the building clad in brick and metal wall panels with large windows on both levels.
The Red Cross hopes to begin on the project by the end of the year and be finished in early 2015.

The city is paying the Red Cross $8 million for the East 10th Street property and floating it a $2.3 million loan to purchase the North Meridian Street land, CEO John Lyter said. The not-for-profit will still need to raise about $4 million to finance the project, he said.

"I don’t want to say [East 10th Street] is a bad location," Lyter said. "But one thing we look at, being right on the bus line is important for people who need to do anything at the Red Cross. That’s a great location."

It's also a few blocks north of the Red Cross' former local headquarters at 11th and North Meridian streets, which is no longer standing. It moved to East 10th Street in 1967. The local chapter was founded in 1916 and had been on North Meridian Street, in three different locations, until the move more than 45 years ago.

The city’s Regional Center Hearing Examiner is set to hear the Red Cross’ plans Thursday. Because the site is within the Regional Center overlay district, the project needs to comply with Regional Center Urban Design guidelines and requires initial approval by the city’s hearing examiner.

  • Red Cross
    I like it.....the scale is similar to other buildings on North Meridian......But 151 parking spaces for 64 employees?!?! That seems excessive to me, unless more people visit the Red Cross more often than I imagine....
    • Plans for old fire station?
      Are the plans that were submitted (http://www.ibj.com/focal-point-for-mass-ave-project-huge-electronic-screen/PARAMS/article/37494) a while back the plans moving forward? Please tell me that is not the case. I still don't understand how an architectural firm located ON MASS AVE could completely screw up this bad. I've yet to find a single person who thinks this terrible design is a good idea. It looks like a cheap suburban apartment complex. Then, as if they were trying to make it as unappealing as possible, they threw on the giant video screen...because Mass Ave should definitely look like Las Vegas or Times square. /sarcasm. Anyone know if Schmidt came to their senses and scrapped this terrible design?
    • No Real Complaint....But
      I have no real issue with the Red Cross moving there, per se, but I was really hoping some sort of mixed use development would happen, with possibly restaurants and retail. I think Shoefly Public House, Lincoln Square, Thirsty Scholar, and Foundry Provisions have proven that there are enough people in the neighborhood who are hungry (literally) for places other than Fast Food. It's not often this much space is available. It would be nice to have something more than just an office. ---- I rather like the design of the Mass Ave block, and I can throw around that I have heard very little bad about, too. There is nothing wrong with a video screen, as long as it doesn't become advertisements, and god forbid, we actually have something with unique design somewhere in downtown. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but as a first pass, I like the general idea. I wish people would try to be constructive instead of NIMBYing things out of existence.
    • 151 parking spots???
      151 parking spots is wildly excessive. Especially being on a bus line.
    • Not quite sure...
      ... what plans Mass Ave Resident is referring to, but I LOVED the renderings of the project I saw and so did a lot of people I talk to. If I recall, reaction was generally positive on this and another board I frequent (well, except for the anti-development, anti- subsidy of any kind, NIMBY's, that is.....)
      • parking
        I believe the RC has training/classes and parking needs that exceed employee parking during regular hours and for disaster work. Some will use buses but face it, unfortunately Indy is built for cars and cars are here to stay. At least the parking is not in your face right on Meridian Street.
      • re: Marshall
        You must not live in the area. People who moved here don't want to see the neighborhood turned into a gimmick. Schmidt has put up plenty of terrible designs in their time, but this one is the worst. It looks like something you would expect to see in a suburb, not a historical area of downtown. They want to put a giant video screen between two of the most significant architectural buildings in the city (Murat & Athenaeum). You would think that an architecture firm would consider the neighborhood when making designs (especially since they are located here), but they clearly went for a design that will be cheap to build. I really don't want a giant video board showing advertisements. That would be the takeaway from most visitors. Mass Ave is the area with the tacky 50 foot high advertising screen.
      • Hmmm
        So a box with a Red Cross on it. About as inspiring as a video screen on the side of a building. Will this Swiss army box have utility elements randomly come out like a Swiss Army knife?
        That billboard will overshadow the Murat and even throw color on the structure. Visit Vegas to you who think it's "way cool bro"
      • Super Bowl?
        Businesses on Mass Ave complained that they didn't receive enough Super Bowl traffic as all the events were focused closer to Lucas Oil. I wouldn't be surprised if the new Mass Ave building was planned in order to help us win the bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.

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