BW3 defies city's request

August 20, 2008
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BW3 IndianapolisBuffalo Wild Wings has responded to the city's beef with its Washington Street façade by submitting a new plan showing the exact design it already constructed. The city asked the developers of the restaurant at Washington and Meridian streets for a redesign after they failed to submit plans as required by city code. BW3 franchise owner Pete Watson met with city planning officials in early August to discuss the restaurant’s unapproved facade and promised to have his architect submit proposed changes, even as workers continued with the installation of signs and awnings. The work has not stopped, and apparently BW3 has no plans to cooperate with the city. "I specifically asked them not to (submit the same plan) very early on and have already called them asking them to try again," Senior Planner Jeff York said in an e-mail. He called the submission, which still includes restrooms against the front facade and a yellow exterior, "completely unacceptable." (Photo/Circle and Squares)
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  • Wow, that's pretty brazen.
  • I can't imagine why a restaurant owner who requires all manner of licensing and approvals (Health & Hospital, Liquor Control Board, etc.), would do this.

    This would reflect poorly on the permit-holder's character and could be used against him in a future hearing by a remonstrator in a liquor permit approval.

    Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face is never a good idea.
  • Looks like it's time for the city to issue a stop work order.
  • At the very least get rid of the yellow...at the VERY least.
  • The crazy thing is that the facade is basically done! Like thundermutt said it is a pretty stupid idea for the restaurant owner to be so brazen. I'm worried the city will just rollover on this one. The senior planner needs to stop asking them for another plan and start demanding a change.
  • What's wrong with the facade. Has the City looked across the street at all of the abandoned buildings? Give me a break. Watson is bringing business to an abandoned zone 1.5 blocks from the City jail. The City planners need to go work on the storm sewers!
  • I encourage every one of you to contact Mr. York and demand this be stopped. You can reach him at jyork@indygov.org or 327-5847.
  • What's wrong with the yellow? People complain that every building in Indianapolis
    features dull architecture. At least the yellow isn't dull. If you had a business
    wouldn't you want it to stand out from everything else. Not getting the
    proper permits is another matter.
  • Bravo blahblah. I completely agree. The building looks just fine and, if anything, adds to the diversity of the landscape. Time to put egos aside and worry about more important issues.
  • I won't be calling to demand that it be stopped. I might go in and have a beer and some wings though.
  • Stop work order and fines should be next up.

    Blahblah,

    That kind of attitude of something is better than nothing is what creates tragic eyesores. Not all of the buildings on the northside are abandoned or eyesores. DD and the Brazilian Restaurant are exceptions. The rest are waiting for development. And with a building like BW3 across the street, they may be waiting a while.

    Sorry, using the 1.5 blocks from the jail thing does not work. Mortons Steakhouse and Fogo de Chao are high end restaurants that are closer and still do well. Tell Watson, unless you are him, that they need to admit they screwed up and submit good plans.

    FYI, the City is in the middle of a $2 billion+ redo of the sewers as approved by the EPA. Although maybe they should withold the BW3 sewer permit until they are done with the sewers in 10 years. I would hate for a new restaurant to overload the sewers.
  • Thanks yada!
  • I agree with most of the above; certainly not with blahblahblah. There is no excuse for the owner not to cooperate with the city. Besides, this is a terrible design. I cannot think of any place it would be appropriate (maybe in Watson's toilet). The city needs to stop the project, tear off the yellow facade and fine the owner. I really agree with Don so I'm going to contact Mr. York right now.
  • Let's get our torches and pitchforks out. I think the owner will probably end the project rather than lose his signature look.
  • Chill-out, Indyman. I wish BW3's would hurry the construction up so we could all celebrate its opening with wings and beer. As for tragic eyesores-do you live across the street from the restaurant and have to stare at it every day? Is your office across the street? Does the yellow give you migraines? Does the color yellow scare you? Are you afraid of bumblebees because they're yellow? Or.......the more likely answer: you're just an uptight ass-monkey with nothing better to do than post rants online about, of all things, the color of BW3's signage...hehehe. I love you.
  • Indy Man (if you are from Indy and actually a man),

    I will try to check my attitude. I thought I had expressed an opinion. I don't think the site is an eye sore. I agree someone screwed up with the planners, but I doubt it was Watson (especially since he has an architect) and other businesses to run.

    If the City is hoping for an expensive A+ facade, I doubt that's realistic with a wings and beer joint. Morton's by the way is nothing more than a door to a basement, propped up by the Simons. Foga is lucky to be located in the Broadbent Companies' flagship and was lured here by George Broadbent. Totally different circumstances than a small business owner taking a risk on a blighted street that has been waiting for development for more than 30 years.
  • Actually no, the fact that those and others exist there show that the jail is not an impediment. Lets see, Scottys Brewhouse just opened closer to the jail, then you got Moe's, and several more well within the 1 to 2 block range of the jail. So again, your comment that the jail is bad for business or somehow gives you a break for bad design does not fly.

    I don't think anyone is asking for a A+ design, I think most would have been happy with something more in keeping with the building. Go back to the storefront facade that was historically there. Much cheaper, much nicer and it does not look like a yellow Friday's on crack.

    And yes I am a man and yes I have lived in Indy all my life.
  • I hope we don't know each other. You're starting to sound like a jail lover, a Watson hater, someone from City government, or a Barnes & Thornburg lawyer.
  • I would doubt it. I am not a jail lover, whatever that is. I do not know Watson, but I do have issues with people who refuse to follow the rules and I doubt he is that ignorant that he or his proxies accidentally forgot to apply for the proper permits and that he misunderstood the City when they told him not to turn in the same plans. Have never worked for City Governent and I am far from a lawyer, I make my money honestly.
  • Indyman, you're great at judging people. Hope that works out for you.
  • The only thing wrong that I see is the restrooms. IF they put them in the back instead of the front, things can be better. I see nothing wrong with the outside, infact, we need a better face to present an atmosphere where you want to go in and eat.

    If you go to a restaruant and see the outside does not look appealing, would you go in and eat or question it?
  • And you are awesome at dodging the argument. Hope that works for you.
  • Fact is that the work was almost done by the time they were caught. In an historic district like HMP for example, the owners would have been issued a stop work order immediately and asked to either revert the work or abandon it completely. The fact that the franchise owner continued to work, knowing that the plans had not been approved meant that he had no intention of changing course. The fact that the work was almost done when he got caught made it that much more work to have the designs changed and gives him the well, it's almost finished and we can't afford to change it now position, basically giving the city the finger. I'm not the least bit happy about it. My office is on the same block and man, it's TACKY!!!!
  • Even if the city doesn't take action, we can still boycott this piece of trash.
  • Professor IndyMan, Please kindly tell me what issue I dodged. If you want to debate the jail, that's a different topic and was only one of the points I raised. The success of the retail businesses nearer the jail is due to Conseco Fieldhouse and but for that venue, none would be by the jail.

    Judge Schmales
  • Hey blah^3,

    I've noticed you respond almost immediately after every negative comment. Do you spend your entire day tirelessly monitoring this site in defense of BW3? Or is it your job? If the latter is true I suggest you change your name to BW3 spokesperson.
  • don't work for BW3 or speak for them. I'm just another random peice of trash.

    Thanks for the name change suggestion though.
  • Blah,

    I pointed out that not all the buildings on the northside are abandoned and that development is coming back through there. I pointed out that bad development is worse than no development. I pointed out that there are many restaurants opening and thriving as close if not closer than your restaurant. I pointed out that Watson or his proxies really screwed the pooch in not only failing to obtain the permits, but continued to work after they had been told to stop. I pointed out that Watson still turned in the exact same plans even after the City told him not to. I pointed out that it does not take A+ design, just good design.

    How is that? Simple answer to all of this is Watson tried to sneak a bad design that the company uses in the burbs. He got caught. Instead of admitting he screwed up, he continued to work. When pushed to submit new plans he submitted the same ones. Now he is hoping the city does not have the cajones to force him to redo it. Here is hoping that they do make him rip it out and redo it. This sets a bad precedent.
  • Let's look at all Certificates of Appropriateness that have been approved for BW3. I am guessing that the approving party is responsible for the oversight in this case. I will further conjectjure that plans were submitted and approved by the City and approving authorities, at which time BW3 legitimately began work. Once the work proposed by BW3 started to become reality, and the true colors of the approved development began to take shape, at that point, someone complained or brought attention to it. Once the approving party saw what was taking place in reality, someone said, oops; I didn't mean to approve that! Then this party had to scramble to un-approve it, yet make it look like the applicant's fault. Hence, we have the situation we have now. Until I am somehow convinved otherwise, I lay responsibility on the City to prove it is not the City's fault. Remember, as the City administers its rules and regulations when approving projects, the general is governed by the specific and the specific coloring in this instance - and the other issues NOT addressed by the City in the initial approval - is legal as it was not specified in that initial approval. The City should have requested additional details at the time the applicant respectfully and dutifully requested approval. Now the City is trying to go back and cover its oversight.
  • This design would look poor even in the suburbs. The owner should have been rational and realized this design was a poor choice in the beginning. Now he isn't even willing to compromise.

    Blah should be quiet. He seems to take this too seriously and takes some comments out of context like the reference to trash (it is clear the intended meaning was the restuarant is trash. However it is telling of Blah's allegiances that he takes the trash comment personally).
  • FF,

    Maybe you missed the earlier story while you were flying around.

    Turns out the developers won approval for a sign package with awnings but didn’t submit any facade changes, as required by city code.

    Looks like more than awnings and signs have been changed on this building. If Watson has CA's for the facade change, then we have a story. I am sure if he has those approvals he would submit copies to Cory to defend himself.
  • I disagree with you that the northside of the street has made it back. More square footage remains unused than used (successfully or otherwise); unless you are a regular at the pyschic/palm reader and the wig shop. Then there is the building that was torn down and is no a dirt pile. The block couldn't even make a go of it when the Simon's built Circle Centre or after Conseco Fieldhouse.

    I disagree that the development is bad so I didn't dodge that one.

    I agreed that someone screwed up with the planners. I disagree with your conclusion that Watson did it intentionally. I disagree with your speculation about Watson's hopes. Apparently you can read his mind. I agree that he is responsible for whatever mistakes his architect made. I doubt an architect would plow forward intentionally in this Big Small Town knowing that he'll have to work with planners for the rest of his career.

    I disagree that friggin BW3s is a precedent setter.
  • Pete is from Kokomo.
    That might explain alot of what is going on here.


    :)
  • Let me start by saying that I was really excited when I heard that BWs was coming back to downtown and equally excited when I heard it was going in to this location. The fact is that what they did is completely inappropriate design. You don't just copy and paste some piece of crap pro forma corporate facade to any building (strip malls excluded), and especially not onto an art deco building on Washington Street. Even though I am not an architect I can see that this is ridiculous. Indyman is 100% right on this one and Blahblahblah should go back to his unimpressive cookie-cutter off-the-shelf no-design suburban home lock himself in a closet and stay because the kind of crap he spouts is a serious detriment to progressive development in Indianapolis. As much as i really like BWs (even though it is a franchise) I am with Indyman and am boycotting (and lobbying other to do the same). I suggest everyone patronize Scotty's instead.
  • Wow. Blahblahblah really likes his/her wings.

    Let's pretend for a second that the city did approve a plan that they didn't mean to... why would the owner re-submit plans? By submitting plans, he's already indicating that his first set didn't cover everything.

    Forget whether you like the design or not. Forget the properties across the street. Neither contribute to this one fact: the owner screwed up. Even if it was his architect that screwed up, that's no excuse for the owner to not get approval. It's his hired gun; it's his problem.

    They didn't get approval. Period.
  • Ouch.... I live in Meridian Hills in an old home with little closet space to lock my self in.
  • I am so proud that my fellow elite have taken such a grand stance.

    We should continue to band together to drive out any businessman that tries to improve this city.

    Hopefully, we can keep our historic and abandoned downtown facade, so that we can reduce the chance of our having to mingle with the peasants posing as consumers.

    I am guessing that this owner is actually one of those sneaky businessmen that has invested a bunch of money into a previously vacant location, just to spite downtown in hopes that they will shut him down, just so he can delay having to add to the city's tax revenue. What a brilliant plan.

    As I said, we the elite, need to continue banding together, so we might one day walk arm in arm, sipping our wine in our own little abandoned city.

    If calling me a BW3 spokesperson gets me some free beer and wings - count me in....
  • Ouch, I live in Meridian Hills. The closets are kinda small, but I don't remember any cookie cutter stuff. I'll check out after I swing by BW3s for dinner.

    :)
  • KH, I really like your style.
  • Thank you for submitting that supportive statement:

    “Turns out the developers won approval for a sign package with awnings but didn’t submit any facade changes, as required by city code.”

    Why was the package approved when facade changes were required for approval? The application monitor should have pointed it out then and there, if indeed facade changes are required. It should have been called out as an incomplete application prior to approval. Why was it approved without that? At bexst, there is egg on the face of the City for not pointing this out at this time instead of waiting for the applicant to put time, money and labor into building something against code. The applicant here is an applicant, and if told by those enforcing codes that work proposed meets code, an applicant proceeds to begin the proposed work. I am convinced, the more I study this (which has been too long, anyway), that the City let this happen and the City let it progress this far.
  • Ouch.... I didn't realize Meridian Hills had cookie cutter housing...the closets are small though. I better get a beer and some wings at BW3s before I go to my closet.
  • Ouch. I didn't realize they made cookie cutter houses in the Town of Meridian Hills. I will admit the closets are awfully small.

    :)
  • Blah is misunderstood. He does love wings, beer, and the color yellow.
  • Not sure how Indy works, but many Cities have separate approvals for signs and facades. Different apps etc... Usually that is so work on a facade can happen while the sign package is being worked out, especially on a spec remodel. In this case the sign package came first and Watson or his subordinates forgot there was a second part. Fine, make a new submittal that meets with the City's approval. Not that hard, and definitely better than trying to cram something down their throats.
  • help. I am in a closet.
  • Excuse me while I play the world's smallest violin for business owners who can't follow rules, can't fill out forms, can't follow instructions... apparently it's too tough for them to understand. And then to have cronies point out that it could be worse... as if at least my poo smells better than their poo is a justifiable excuse. Pathetic.
  • Jason - we are sure your poo smells the best
  • Good point, Indyman, about how development like this is usually governed. I'll stop you from the . . . In this case . . . part and forward from there, though.

    If this is in a historic district, then full development and all elements thereof are approved in one petition and the instrument of that approval is called a Certificate of Apprpriateness. The permits that come as a result are approved based on that certificate rather than local zoning ordinance(s) or local building code(s) that will apply to any other sites not in a historic district.

    I refuse to believe that Watson did or is responsible for anything malicious or is even doing any type of nose-thumbing here. He received his approval and began work. If I were judge and jury of building code court, my decision would rest IN watson's favor.
  • KH has the best comment!

    And I will frequent the B-Dubs (yes, I spelled it this way) downtown, once it opens, as much as possible to contribute to its business... and so that it will stay open and continue to make people like Indyman and others on this blog upset. Get over it people... there are bigger issues in this city, than worrying what the color of a chain restaurant is or where it's bathroom is located in the place.
  • I like it myself. Like someone else said it beats the blight that was there before. It's inviting, similar to the Duncan Donuts design down the street.
  • Unfortunately for property owners and administrators, many tenants feel it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission before commencing a project. I think that may be the case here. The tenant probably figured once done no one would make him tear it out or postpone his opening. More than likely, the City could force the property owner to make its tenant meet code. If there is no code preventing yellow facades or rest rooms at the front, and if the property owner has no construction criteria given to the tenant at the time the lease was signed, then I guess the tenant shouldn't be worried! I think the building above it is what needs a facelift!
  • Thank you FrequentFlyer!
  • GOOD JOB B-DUBS!! Although I don't personally like the design I think it add variety to the downtown landscape. If some of you closed minded folks had your way dtown indy would look like downtown noblesville! We're the freaking 12th largest city in the country!!

    Can we please get some more urban, edgy, whatever and stop fighting to be so boring!!!?
  • re: contacting Jeff York: If he is feeding emails on this project to IBJ and thus making the project public, it sounds to me like he is being the good guy, especially since he says this iteration is completely unacceptable.

    Is there someone else we should be addressing communication to, someone who needs convincing of what a slap in the face this project is? Who ultimately will decide whether this facade gets to stay or not?

    Because I don't want to clog up Jeff's inbox with a bunch of crap, any more than he wants to face a bunch of angry emails when he's trying to deal with this particularly crappy proposal.
  • You guys are HOT today. But I still think Joyce (#14) has the right idea. Let's get our torches and pitchforks and meet at the SE corner of Meridian and Washington Streets at midnight. The monster is loose!
  • I received a response from Jeff York... Apparently the Zoning Compliance office is who has to issue to stop work order.
  • FF,

    You refuse to believe that Watson would.... I would hope you are right, but in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I have to say it does not look good for him. Again, if he has approvals, send them to IBJ to post in his defense. He is taking a beating for someone who claims to have followed the rules.
  • javajunkie, I appreciate your comment but beg to differ; you are assuming the applicant 1) got away with something and 2) knowingly did so. I'm unconvinced of either. The code monitor gets paid to know and administer code. That is why code monitors are needed and why the job exists. If that monitor fails to tell applicants what they need to do for approval, why does that monitor have a job?

    Ivo, you're right; sometimes these rules defeat themselves by favoring blight over than an improvement that may miss the rulebook by a hair.
  • This is UGLY. Nobody in their right mind would spend hours trying to defend it. At least I won't have to put up with the design since I am not going to eat there.
  • Can't we all just get along?

    Get off your high stuck up horses and let the city and a local businessman resolve this matter.
    My interest in expanding multiple locations with 50+ jobs into downtown will now be reconsidered if I have to deal with this crap. Your arrogant and closed minded interference is costly to our cities redevelopment and economy.
    When the Super Bowl comes, maybe the NFL will ask your approval for their logo design, what if it's yellow and encroaches on the architectual purity of the little rock you crawl under called home. Go spark one off on your coffee table architectual magazine.
  • It would be awesome if people's IP addresses were posted next to their comments. I'd guess all the comments that are for this absolute piece of crap are coming from one person, Pete Watson.
  • FF, first, that building is NOT in a local historic district and so there would never be a COA for it. Secondly, the building is in the Regional Center. The law couldn't possibly be more clear to me, and I'm not a lawyer:

    (from Zoning Code, Sec. 735-600. Establishment of official zoning map; establishment of Regional Center and North Meridian Street Corridor; additional standards and requirements for use and development.)

    All uses of land located within the Regional Center and the North Meridian Street Corridor of Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, shall be subject to the Metropolitan Development Commission's approval as included within a required site and development plan approved as hereinafter provided…

    No new use, building, improvement, or structure shall be established after the effective date of this article until the proposed use, site and development plan have been filed with and approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission….

    All new uses and changes to existing uses shall file a request for approval of the proposed changes. Upon the filing of such approval request, the Administrator of the Division of Planning of the Department of Metropolitan Development, on behalf of the Metropolitan Development Commission, shall consider and either approve,
    disprove, or approve subject to any conditions, amendments, commitments or covenants by the petitioner, the proposed use, site and development plan.

    Code goes on to specify exactly what is required in the plan filing. You can read it yourself at: http://www.indygov.org/NR/rdonlyres/85E8B853-4EFC-403A-8602-1020B95EAFAA/0/ch735otherdistricts.pdf

    All the BW3 owner has to do is show us all his Regional Center approval, signed by the Administrator (who is Jeff York's boss).

    Otherwise, all he has to do is tear it all off and start over from plan submission.

    Plenty of other small-business owners have come into downtown and played by the rules. Why should this guy get a pass?
  • I see nothing wrong with the facade - it's certainly not as gaudy as some of the other businesses downtown!
  • Paris! Are you free tonight?
  • Yes BBQ, absolutely everybody who wants a positive design identity for this city is an elitest. Letting people go the cheap way out with designs like this negatively impacts the quality of life for our city. A higher quality of life would help Indy bring in good jobs. This company providing food service jobs is not going to be an economic Renaissance. Making the owner spend a couple extra dollars so his facade would actually look decent would not effect the viability of his business. Redoing the facade would not change that the city can have BOTH the jobs and a building that isn't demeaning to our community's appearance. Yes, we all can get along once your local businessmen treat our community with respect by proposing decent designs. Until then BBQ, I think your case is fried.
  • I walk by there every day to and from work and they have never stopped or even slowed down work on the site. I kept expecting to see a stop work order or at least a pause in construction while they submitted a new proposal, but obviously they had no intention of stopping and/or changing.

    And as someone previously said, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get rid of that garish yellow!
  • Do you think I'm going to allow a wings and beer establishment to invade my downtown once again? No! Room needs to be left for a fancy wine shop or another expensive steak restaurant... I can't stand wings! And I don't care if that space is vacant for years... I will wait for something that sells anything overly-priced!

    Wait, I have an idea, I'll just say that I hate the color of the building... and throw a big enough fit, so that the city planners will feel inclined to listen to me... and my elitist friends and I can save room for what we hope someday will be a far-too-expensive establishment so that we can get away from the common people in downtown... even though we already live in our over-priced homes in Geist or Zionsville that shield us from the common people.

    I just can't have a wings and beer establishment back where I work in downtown... that would just be ludicrous!
  • I can't understand why most of you people in this conversation are complaining about something that poses no harm to the productivity and life of downtown. What I see of this BW-3s is a boost of life and energy to this particular section of downtown. Everything east of Borders was and still is an eyesore. Although I'm not a huge fan of chain restaurants, I do see potential in them in different ways. What is the matter with you people? This is my exact point I have stressed many times before in other blogs. That you guys are just typical bores with very conservative viewpoints. How can a city ever become world-class or admired when there is so much undesired and boring attitudes about practically everything that stands for development? MOVE ON AND GET OVER YOURSELVES. YOU DON'T OWN THE CITY.
  • Yes, we DO own the city. Get an education, then discuss.
  • First off, I have to give cheers to the few people on this blog that have the independence to look at this project a different way. Then I have to give cheers to Mr. Watson. Thank you sir for refusing to cooperate with the city government, which seems to be run more by men like Mr. York and a few special interests than it is by laws.

    The project was submitted for approval, and waiting for approval. It got the approval, with the City asking for no further details about the construction or facade(and the City has plenty of prior knowledge of the BW3 corporate look). Construction was allowed to proceed until near completion before someone from at most two blocks away noticed Wow, that's yellow just like EVERY SINGLE OTHER BW3 IN THE COUNTRY. What a surprise! Call the architect-wannabes out to portray Mr. Watson as a monster and usurper of civil order! Because his architect doesn't understand the city code apparently. Great, remember that the next time you build your shed to close to the property line and your HOA sends you a letter. You are an evil man!

    The truth is, though this design is not the best, it is what the PROPERTY OWNER(you know, the guy that holds the RIGHTS to the property) and the LESSEE agreed upon. And the city approved the project to boot. They were already forced to seek APPROVAL to build something in their OWN property. And now they get hounded for over a month by elitists who think that their design criteria is the moral compass that every person in the city should follow? That would seem to imply government control over private property, and there is a name for that - it is socialism. Ownership has no meaning without control, and if you have to ask permission to do something on your own property, you don't own it.

    The proper course of action for the deriders of this project is to prove a real, verifiable nuisance caused by this building. I suggest you will find none, as a facade color is not a nuisance, and neither are misplaced bathrooms. And neither is a clash of architectural styles. YOU do not own the building, and neither does the city. The property owner does, and he has done what he has assessed is best for his financial interests, and those interests are more likely in key with reality than political whim.
  • Actually Da Hooey, we do not own the city. We own the city government, which in turn owns PUBLIC property, which is not what is being discussed here.
  • Stop being dumb. WE are all owners of the city. People who think otherwise are just mincing words to fit an agenda.

    Think about it.
  • It is really simple folks - just hold their food and liquor license hostage until they submit plans for a 'suitable' design. That means changes with city approval to the exterior that meets code and 'blends' in with existing architecture and move the restrooms to the rear of the building. And to you who insist on attacking each other in this column 'get to work' and 'get a life'! This column and response is about city planning and development not for your personal entertainment.
  • I'd say given the state of the economy and the shortage of tax revenue the city is experiencing rigtht now, they might consider giving BW a little lattitude instead of attitude. Typical Ballard admin. Arogant.
  • FrequentFlyerFromIndy, What the heck are you talking about? There was no approval because there was no submittal. End of story.
  • Ok, FF, please understand that one has to propose a change to be approved for a change. If no change is proposed, no change is approved. Below is one of the items from the Regional Center approval petition checklist (This location is not in an historic district; there is no certificate of appropriateness issued). Any proposed change should have been shown on the elevations. Also, it is not uncommon for multiple petitions to be filed for the same project; for instance, the sign company may file for the signs, while a construction company may file for the facade changes and improvements.

    6. One (1) set of elevations of any proposed structure indicating type of materials and colors; if signs are
    proposed, sign elevations and sign location must be provided. Plans must be legible, and drawn to scale.
  • Cory, please clean up this blog. There is waaay to much trash posting here these days.
  • The fact that they will not work with the city is without doubt not acceptable. The city should DEMAND for the storefront to be redone. This is downtown INdianapolis, not Fishers or Avon. The statements that we should deal with it or get over it always seem to be the same person or a developer getting online. I could be wrong.
    However, this faces Washington street and so it should match the other storefronts along Washington street.
  • Da Hooey, first off, I would like to thank you for your implication of my lack of education. It's enlightening to know that people like you find it highly necessary to make themselves feel better by calling others stupid.

    No Da Hooey, you do not own the city. You do not own downtown. You are not God. Get over yourself and comprehend reality.
  • socrates#1fan, who are you to call what is acceptable and what is not acceptable? What exactly is your point when you are relating Fishers and Avon to downtown Indy? You are indeed wrong, my statement about you and other boring conservative people to get over it is not from the same person or developer. Why should a building match another building across the street? Have you ever travelled? Have you even been to a city driven by forward thinking mentality? Or are you just basically a boring person?
  • Folks, let's try to keep the comments constructive and avoid repetitive posts and personal attacks. Thanks guys.
  • Lotta BW3 shills on here, apparently. :) I'll just add my two cents on this thing by saying that the facade is pretty bad. I don't care so much about the yellow, but the bathroom situation is pretty lousy. I can't, for the life of me, understand what is compelling this guy to believe he can skirt around the rules like this.
  • Well, I walked by this site yesterday, expecting to see something really hideous. All I saw was a BW3.
  • Forget about the design. The owner violated city regulations and should be punished. Period. The punishment should be severe enough for others to respect what the city mandates.
  • Exactly, dps dude and DD. Since the owner has established that he willingly breaks the rules, I can't imagine Health and Hospital or the LCB going easy on him. Or DMD.
  • I think everyone is overreacting. Has anyone seen the yellow mural directly across the street from the BW3s storefront? It is just as bright and uses the same colors as the BW3s facade. I for one am happy to see BW3s back downtown and I don't want the city to screw this up. The franchisee is no doubt under regulations from the franchiser as to what trade dress/facades he can use.
  • And Tony, I just read your post and I share your sentiments completely. I have to say that my strong feelings about this matter did develop after working repeatedly with (if complete one-sidedness constitutes working with) the IHPC . . .
  • I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of the approval process, nor do I claim to have much knowledge about all the finer points of architecture. What I do know is when I travel to cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and cities in Europe (word cities). I see cities where everything doesn't look the same. There is vibrancy of color and sound which gives those cities a feel that you don't see here. I am not a wings fan and I don't drink so I probably won't go there. But I don't really why you guys are going off the deep end here. The only problem I have with the whole store front is the service door facing Washington Street seems a little tacky.
  • Oh and I will save some people the trouble. My opinion I assume makes my degree irrelevant, and me stupid and a moron...well you get the point. Additionally I don't own the city, I am apart of the city.
  • Why doesn't the city put half these efforts into cleaning up the slum on the north side of Washington st.
  • Facade changes = City approval.

    No facade changes were submitted, therefore no city approval.

    What has happened is clearly illegal.

    Anyone who defends it seeks to undermine the authority of our government and erode the (albeit imperfect) system of checks and balances that have been developed to protect the investments each of us make in Indianapolis.

    End of story.
  • Dustin -


    god doesn't own Indy, and I am not God so get over it. Residents comprise the city. They elect leaders, they lobby for change, enforcement and the application of law. Their taxes pay for it too.

    So yes, I do own the city, as does everyone else here. Without its citizens, the city does not exist.
  • I just want to say that the service door on the facade is not a service door, but actually an emergency staircase exit do for the upper floors of the building. Also, just so everyone understands Pete Wilson does not own the store front or building. He is a lessee and Barnes & Thornburg owns the building. What I want to know is where is B&T in all this?
  • Ablerock - I think that's the point so many are missing. Okay so say the city does turn a blind eye to this guy's lack of approval. Doesn't that set a precedent? Everyone must follow the same rules. You may not like the rules, but they exist to help the city have some kind of standard. I think we need to be careful what we allow and what we approve. If you allow one owner to come in and do whatever they like, then the next will want to do that too. Then who knows what we'll end up with.

    I agree with Cory - cut the personal attacks people. If you're into that kind of thing I'm sure you can get your fill at the Indy Star. Can't we agree to disagree? Can't we have intelligent discussions without insulting each other? I assume we all must be educated to some degree or have more than a passing interesting in commercial real estate, or we wouldn't be reading this blog.
  • I will pose one question to the people on this blog. If this facade was completely changed by a company say...Tiffany & Co. that would put a falt marble surface along the entire front with little tiny windows and a blue door that did not fit with the overall archecture of this building, would you still through such a fit? My guess is not.
  • Gary,

    I would be absolutely against it. Again, it does not fit into the character of the area. If Tiffany's were going to pull out because of it, so be it. There is a mall next door that they could go into just like BW3 can if they do not like the rules set by the City.
  • Gary -

    If they didn't have the proper approvals to make that change I would absolutely be against it. We are a society of laws and codes that must be followed. Don't like the law? Work to get it changed but until that time it must be followed.
  • Again, I concur with Indyman. I am not opposed to BW's, I am opposed to the design. I want to say that if this were in a different area I would be so appalled. But this in the Central Business District, Regional Center, and The National Road Streetscape in the city. If you chose to do business here you knowingly submit to more stringent design guidelines, review and permitting. This design flaws with this building are the most basic wrongs that could be committed. This design, if submitted in architecture school, would garner both a failing grade and ridicule (both deservedly). You can call me elite, or whatever, if you want. I just want a decidedly positive thing for our city and this current design it far from this.
  • The problem here with the city regulations is that they are often waived for political reasons. So while I understand the whole setting a precedent concept, I'm not overly concerned with it because the governance committees themselves have done a very poor job at setting a standard that should be held by all. For example, I live in a very regulated, historical neighborhood downtown and, while I was held to the highest standards in getting my house design approved, a developer who leads numerous committees around town was allowed to build an all-brick, completely suburbanized house. If the city wants to preach that everyone should follow their rules, etc., then those rules need to be clearly defined and not arbitrary. And again, if the city originally didn't ask for details on the facade when they approved the initial plans, it was an oversight on their part and they should not be allowed to now go back and drive up the construction costs.
  • I can guarantee you there is no political connection between Ballard & Pete Watson.
  • Downtown has detailed design guidelines that are enforced by city code (regional center ordinance). The color, the material (synthetic stucco) and the windows (both tinting and size) violate the guidelines, hence the city's stop work order. The signs and awnings actually look decent (and were the only piece actually approved), but the rest of it looks worse than a Fishers strip mall. He would not have had to spend a dime extra to follow the guidelines but chose to ignore them and must now spend extra to fix it. He brought this on himself. Kudos to the City for stopping work until he complies with the regulations like everyone else has to.
  • The worst thing about it is the stone along the bottom of the facade. The yellow is a close second.
  • ya
  • Jaco, I've been trying to avoid the design discussion since the issue is really about complying with city regulations, but what you wrote happens to be EXACTLY what I've been thinking.
  • Gary, I'm sure you already know by now that you are in the minority of this discussion. I am as well. Da Hooey and the others in here are just bitter and depressed because they cannot appreciate the fact that Indy is a magnet for entrepreneurs who want to set foot in downtown with their own ideas. Yet they have to follow a guideline which Da Hooey and the others find incredibly fascinating because they feel they actually created downtown in the first place. I completely know where you are coming from when you mentioned the other cities, because they are forward thinking and much more ahead of Indy in terms of future planning and et cetera.

    Da Hooey, I lived in Indy once before, but I never felt the entitlement of owning the city. The only sense I had was that I was part of the city. Whatever happened in downtown, I can either appreciate it or ignore it and move on. In your case, you must not have any idea how to appreciate something. I didn't like Black Expo events going on around downtown, but did I go on a rant and rave and cry about it? No, I stayed in and waited til it was over, I knew it was an economical boost for downtown. In BW-3s case, apparently no other restaurant wanted to open up shop in this particular location, but BW-3s did. It looks to me that Watson had a brilliant idea, to open a restaurant there that would lure more foot traffic more east of the Marketplace District. Then in time, if successful, more businesses could see the opportunity of opening up shop in that direction.

    No Da Hooey, you do not own the city. When did I say God owned the city? I think you need to think about the things you will say before actually typing them out, because you have put yourself way off base so far.
  • Facts:

    The project violated city rules. The city has reacted accordingly.

    Hot Air:

    Dustin - the guy who used to complain about almost everything that was ever offered up for the in IBJ Property Blogs and is now trying to position himself as the advocate of the downtrodden. You win the Mike and Mike JUST SHUT UP award for the day.
  • Why are we spending taxpayer money on city planners, commissions, and blundering bureaucrats?

    Look around downtown, see how useful they have been. Are we actually supposed to believe that Hooters (bright orange), Dunkin' Donuts (a range of pastels), Steak 'n' Shake (dirty white), and John's Liquors (purple) are all part of the plan? Or how about the scantily clad coeds who parade around like strippers in front of Have a Nice Day Cafe and Six each weekend?

    There are too many empty, dilapidated retail spaces downtown for us to waste time complaining about BW3. At least they'll bring business. Yellow isn't going to hurt you.

    I say we disband the IHPC and whatever other commissions and committees are wasting our tax dollars. Selective enforcement is worse than having no regulations at all. If they had real jobs, they'd all be fired.
  • Well if all the rules have been broken as everyone seems to think they were then there has to be consequences for that. I do believe in order and the law. But, yes I think there is room for some visual (esp. color) differences. You can like it or not but, it does add interest to a cityscape.I refer back to the cities I mentioned before.

    Personally do I lilke this design? No. I think it is a bit jarring. But, there are some far more jarring buildings in downtown (on a much larger scale) than this small store front. If this building were right around the corner(the wholesale district) it would fit right in. I mean is it any worse than Have a Nice Day Cafe? No. Addtionally, if that area was created to promote growth downtown, then guess what, it did. It just happen to go
    around the corner. I few people seem to be very sincere about their feelings when I pose the question about Tiffany's but, I still stand behind my quess. If this were a business with that type of name it would have been rubber stamped by the city and people would be all starry eyed and few would have anything to say.

    But again, I will end with if he broke the law and rules then, yes, he has to do something.
  • I will add that I am not a big fan of the city zoning board...etc.
    I have seen them butcher too many neighborhoods in the name of growth by allowing fast food chains to land a restaurants right in the middle of it. Then guess what a few years down the road there is a neghborhood with a blighted, abandoned Hardee's siting right in the middle of it.
  • Having lived downtown since I was born I can tell you all that, believe it or not, the resurgence of downtown, the revitalization or the urban landscape, and vibrant life we now see is due in large part to those hated city planners, commissions and blundering bureaucrats (especially IHPC) and not the entrepreneurial businessmen so many of you want to credit.

    As for owning the city I am pretty sure that it is not meant literally but more theoretically. The government has power because we the people have collectively and willfully given it that power. Therefore we have some kind of vested stake in it that some chose to call ownership for lack of a better word.
  • Also guys keep in mind...this sits next to a surface parking lot right in the Amasingly always new heart of downtown I would hardly call that historic...LOL
  • The front shot of building sure points out how this ugly this store front looks. What took the city so long to issue stop work.
  • Yes we sure have some great urban planners here in Indianapolis.
    They are letting a company build a 3 story building next to the second tallest building in the city. That's worse than Houston that bascially has no zone rules. Wow! wel like I said there is something to be said for visual interest.
  • Yet Merrill Tower was deemed to tall for it's location...go figure
  • come on Gary, no one has even seen plans for the McGowan HQ project yet. Anything thus far is purely speculation.
  • I think every one of bit of Gary's statements are entirely true. I especially liked his comment about the surface parking lot next to the BW-3s with a sign that promoted the city with a slang Amazingly Always New. That slogan alone just makes me laugh too much, because to me, it doesn't make any sense.

    Gary I loved your comment about the three story building next to the second tallest building, you couldn't have said anything better. I just know that the majority of the people in this blog who are shooting us down are going to realize that sooner or later, they have been blowing nothing but farts out of their mouths.

    berwickguy, your lovely thoughts will go into my diary tonight. You are such a role model for many, keep up the great work.
  • dustin,

    I actually don't see that anyone is attacking or putting my opinion down and frankly it wouldn't matter if they did. Opinions are like you know....everyone has one.

    IndyIndie,
    It is true we haven't seen anything of the McGowan HQ project yet. But, it is not to hard to figure out that a 19,000 sq. building or a 190,000 sq foot building (I think that is what I read) is going to be designed to have anything close to the proper scale it needs to sit next to a building like One America Sqaure. Just my opinion. Sometimes building nothing at all is better than building just anything.
  • Well Gary I am not going to argue with you because i too am skeptical. I just know some people that work for McGowan and want to give them the benefit of the doubt. What I am wondering about the Project though is how the building will be sited on the oddly shaped (sort of a U-shape). If it is just on part of the lot then maybe the density could improve. I also hope that the office space is on upper floor and the ground floors are left for retail. I guess we will have to wait and see, but I am sure as soon as there are plans Cory will have them up here for us to debate.
  • IndyIndie,

    I too applaud the people at McGowan for making a commitment to downtown. I really do hope for the best here.

    I had no intention of arguing with you about it. That was not my intent and hope I didn't come across that way.

    The point I was trying to make was about how inconsistent some of the decisions coming out of city planning are. At times they make no sense at all. Merrill Tower is a perfect example of that. ( I have no invested interest in that property)

    I must admit that I am married to a lawyer that deals in this area all the time and I do have a somewhat jaded view of how some of these decisions are made...that is all I will say on that subject.
  • Gary,

    I am also a lawyer and know that sometimes we (lawyers generally) can really manipulate outcomes of city (really any governmental level) bodies, officials, etc. Sometimes it probably leads inequitable outcomes. This is really what we get paid to do often (as you probably know).

    As for Merrill Tower, can you refresh my memory about what the city did there that you are referring to. I think there were some issues about vacating an alley or something right? On a different note, did that project die b/c of the city or b/c of financing issues?
  • If my memory serves me right there was an issue with the alley (which honestly I would have to look up the details on) and the issue that it was to tall for the surronding (or out of scale) for the area. Which really made no sense considering it was 1 1/2 blocks from LOS...which is so completely out of scale that it almost (it actually kinda of does) obliterates the downtown. I jokingly refer to it as the world's largest billboard. As recall, the tower project is a 24 story mixed use condo/hotel/retail project. I don't think it is a dead project. The city is working with the developer still.

    But, the rationale that it was out of scale made no sense. It was, and should be welcomed, and actually needed to but some kind of scale in place next to the 35 story LOS. It actually would have be a good infill (on the large size) between LOS, Lilly and the now darwfed downtown.

    I will look back on the details of this project and get back to you. I need to run for now.
  • IndyIndie,

    I am having a little trouble finding some of the article about Merrill Tower. I certainly am not going to pay the Star to acces their archive.
    Maybe Cory could give us an update.

    Like I said before, yes the alley was an issue, but the scale issue the city objected to made no sense at all.

    The project is not dead that I am aware of.

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  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

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