Building's new look takes shape

January 16, 2008
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Tenants have begun moving into the former Zipper Building, now known as The Broadbent Building. Occupants will include real estate firm Broadbent Co. and Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo de Chão. What do you think of the new look?

Broadbent Building

Broadbent Building

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  • The look is ok, but this is a terrible waste of prime downtown real estate. The site should have been restored to its past glory with a 10-15 story flatiron.
  • I think that would have been cool.
    I mean atleast its classic, I would have hated to see some post-modern trash there. The stone work is fantastic I must say.
    I personally think that classic styles are becoming more popular, so maybe in the near future they can rebuild the gem demolished for the zipper building?
  • Colts, what alternate past are you talking about? There was never a 10-15 story building on that site.

    I don't know why people hated the zipper building. I thought it was an interesting piece of mid-century modernism. The contrived pseudo-classic look isn't an improvement.
  • The look is nothing exciting, but I am happy to hear that Fogo de Chao will be coming to this building. That is an excellent restaurant.
  • I drove by it the other day........it looks really nice. In the book Lost Indianapolis it shows a picture of a large, kind of victorian looking flat iron building at that site. I think that the remodel of the Zipper is a nice comprimise.
  • While I like the redesign and am happy with the Fogo restaurant, I have to side with the people who feel this is a waste of prime space. It should be a much more vertical building.
  • It's not only a waste of space, it's a waste of materials.

    This building is tacky, tacky, tacky.
  • Ablerock, Dave, I'm with you. I liked the zipper building! Not sure what the interior was like, but the new facade is not an improvement in my eyes.
  • I concur Ablerock. It looks like a docked riverboat casino . Helen, this is
    post-modern trash at its worst, suburban tract office space at its worst.
    The barrel vault skylight is completely of of proportion with the rest of the
    building - just to start...
    At least the zipper facade had a distinct point of view that could have been
    modernized and accentuated.
    Not surprised by the design though - its the
    HQ for Broadbent Development.
    When was this designed 1982?
    Where are design police when you need them!
  • The only good thing about the exterior. Is that in the future they will have no problem ripping it down. No Love Lost there. And putting up a taller structure. IE. A flatiron. But not like that POS where the ABBY was on Mass Ave”.
  • In order to go more vertical, they would have needed additional parking.......the remodel has helped open the building up for more foot traffic, can you imagine a restaurant going in the ground floor of the zipper building?
  • The building looks like it was designed in microsoft paint. Those classical elements look like they were copied and pasted out of a clipart program. I love both classical and modern architecture, but I want it to be genuine. Compared to the architectural gems within one block of this building, the renovation pales in comparison. On a more random note, with our four radial diagonal streets we really should have some more flatiron buildings.
  • I'm an amateur real-estate watcher...where is the Zipper/Broadbent building?
  • It's downtown at the confluence of Virginia Avenue, Pennsylvania and Washington streets.
  • This building is easier on the eyes then the zipper building which quickly became an eyesore to the public after its construction. They should have constructed a REAL classic and actually put effort into creating a truely beautiful classic facade like the structures around it.
    If they were able to afford all this, then I am sure they could have afforded to put some work into the facade. The street level is alot nicer then the Zipper building and the new structure will atleast age decently.
  • The Zipper Building was a piece of garbage if you ask me. Even this misguided refacade is still light years better than the Zipper Building.

    I've got some pictures of the building that stood on this site before the Zipper Building. Scroll to the bottom of this post:

    http://dig-b.blogspot.com/search/label/Broadbent%20Building
  • HAH!! Confluence!
  • It is a definite improvement over the zipper building. As has been shown numerous times, Post Modern construction looks dated weeks after it is built.

    This one is understated yet has classic elements. The arched glass entry is reminiscent of the arcade that existied on Washington Street.
  • The new facade redesign is trash, plain and simple. Wedding Cake, meet Steamboat...

    That said, I'm not proclaiming to be a fan of the facade it's replacing either.
  • I was told the arched glass was influenced by the arts garden, but it could have been that too. I still must say they should have gone all out classic and put effort into it. I still say this is better then any glassy modern structure and will atleast age decently.
  • This is terrible. Its ugly already, so how can it age decently?! BLAH!
  • Helen, This building is a joke. I appreciate your love of classical buildings but this building gives classical a bad name.

    The sad thing is that the building would have looked half way decent with a simple brick facade. The street level windows look good and overall, the building has good fenestration.

    I wonder if those awful off-the-shelf concrete columns were added last minute by the owner. I can’t imagine any self respecting, architect including those without being strong-armed by their client.
  • Hahaha. Matt, you are funny.

    Do you really expect architectural self-respect from the Broadbent Company?? Visit their website and you will see that mostly all they do is develop strip shopping malls.

    From a business standpoint, I mean no disrespect to Broadbent. They have picked a niche and they excel in it.

    Kudos to Broadbent for making the decision to locate downtown and rehabbing a junk building, no less. They could have easily stayed in the burbs and far less cost.

    To those people who hate the building...architecturally you are correct but at the same time give Broadbent some credit and get it through your heads that this is Indianapolis, after all. Just be thankful that someone actually secured financing to build something entirely new downtown.
  • Eh, they should have invested in a real classic design, but atleast the zipper building is gone.
  • Boring, boring, boring. At least the Zipper building had character. It was dated, but in a good way--retro, if you will. This redo has nothing to distinguish it from any other building built in the burbs. It contributes nothing to the streetscape. Another chance lost to distinguish our skyline.
  • Why doesn't everyone chip in and buy a building. Then fix it up the way YOU want it to look.
  • Urbanite.......I feel it does add to the street scape.....they added more windows and made it more pedestrian friendly........this little pocket of downtown has been a dump for years, I'm happy to see life injected back into the area......with Scotty's moving in and Fogo opening soon, this will help bring in people to the street.....how ever akward the design may be, it looks to be well constructed.....I for one would like to welcome the Broadbent Company to downtown!
  • I think this is a definite win if it's bringing those restaurants to the street level. The design isn't all that bad either...really it's on the level of those on the circle, so while your bashing it you might as well bash those. It seems like nothing is good enough for some people. at least more offices are moving dt.
  • The Lee Press-On columns are particularly embarrassing. I disliked the Zipper Building immensely but the architecture was better. This design is better for public interaction but the architecture seems cheap and not well thought out.

    Even the windows looks cheap - the glass is so thin that it is actually oil-canning, almost as if someone used Visqueen or Saran Wrap instead of glass. Maybe the shortcomings can be hidden with awnings and signage.
  • First off, how does a 3-story building contribute to the skyline? A skyline is an outline of buildings. Unless you are standing in front of the redesigned structure most people are only going to see it if they drive by because of the much taller buildings around it.

    There are complaints about how this new design is an 'eyesore.' What about the old Roslyn Bakery on the opposite corner and the other run down buildings just west of that? THOSE are the eyesores. I agree with Shane regarding this area of downtown. It has been a dump, like most of inner city Indianapolis, for far too long. At least someone is willing to start cleaning it up.

    Also, the Broadbent Company has been downtown for many years. Their previous office was in the Capitol Towers at Illinois and Ohio.

    Whatever everyone thinks, they obviously did something right if Fogo De Chao is moving in.
  • The panda express and the 70's structure next door have to go, but the brick sort of white wash structure should be saved, as it was built in 1850 and is one of the oldest downtown buildings. The shoes place, who ever renovated that did a horrible job, the facade is cheap and 60's. They should have removed it and restored the historic facade under it.
  • good call, helen! and i also have to agree with joe. this is not spectacular, but hopefully it will inspire new investments in the area.
  • Ex-IHPC, I love that Lee press-on columns remark. Those are so terrible it hurts.

    A couple of those bolted onto the facade does not a classical structure make. This is not a classical structure in any way shape or form.
  • this is the only acceptable building on this location..

    http://images.indianahistory.org/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/dc012&CISOPTR=3533&DMSCALE=100.00000&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=%20virginia%20avenue&REC=3&DMTHUMB=1&DMROTATE=0
  • rebuild it! They must rebuild it! lol
  • i agree with benjamin - seeing these historic buildings that are now gone is painful. then i get angry and the myopic tendencies of past city administrations and want to track them down and punch them in the nose. i also feel like when we tear these gems down we lose so many stories, all the blood, sweat and tears that so many immigrants shed putting these stuctures up to build a new life - brick by brick, hand-cut stone by hand-cut stone. we've turned our backs on so many bits of history it's maddening. okay, off my soapbox!
  • ryan, most of the new office space in downtown the past couple of years has been in re-used buildings. Drive by Meridian & St. Joseph St. just north of the library. Look at the Stokely Building and see what Buckingham is doing to restore/reuse it.
  • we should rebuild them or atleast the landmarks. Though we can never have the stories that were in the walls at least we can honor their designs and hard work to create them instead of tearing them down.
    I think that the Marion county courthouse would be great to rebuild, though very ornate I think it could be done through private funding and perhaps different materials.
  • ryan, city administrations can't prevent a private property-owner from tearing down a building unless it's in a designated historic district. And if we never had a building downtown torn down, we wouldn't have things like The American Legion Mall, White River State Park, and The Canal, much less our Class A office buildings, Convention Center, the sports facilities and hotels.

    Helen, preservationists aren't big on faux-historic structures that are reconstructions using new materials. IHPC won't allow fiber-cement siding on historic houses to replace wood, for example. Their stance is (greatly simplified) that any building should reflect the design aesthetic and materials of its own time.

    Which takes us right back to these press-on columns and the paddlewheel window. Maybe they do reflect the current design aesthetic, and maybe they are perfectly appropriate for this building.

    Just sayin'...
  • well maybe our time deserves more details and proper craftsmanship.
    The IHPC can't stop people from using timeless designs or ornate details and if they do thats a little bit well stupid but it wouldn't be the first stupid thing the IHPC did.
  • It's too bad that another ugly,
  • I am not so concerned about the building's facade. I am, however, concerned that we have YET ANOTHER CHAIN RESTAURANT downtown. Will someone please stop the madness?
  • I worked in that building when Bates USA had there Midwest Headquarters. Inside...Bates did a really nice job with the interior office space. But, I must say I agree...this building is awful...would have been a prime location for a mid size building...now will someone please do something about that eye sore old dounut shop at the oppisite corner...that is almost as bad as those two motels the city allowed to be built nex to the new Luc Stadium.

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