Catching up: Simon honored

November 12, 2007
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Simon HeadquartersThe Simon Property Group Headquarters took top honors at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful's A Monumental Affair awards last week. The 30-year-old contest honors the city's best architecture, development and construction. Last year's top winner was Conrad Indianapolis. Do you agree with the selection? Thanks to blog readers Chris, Ryan, Steve and Andrea for joining IBJ at the event. Chris has posted about it on his blog, DIG-B. Other winners: In the architecture category, Ratio Architects won for State of Indiana Forensic & Health Science Lab; in construction, Brandt Construction won for the Salvation Army Barton House; in downtown development, Ratio and Sensory Technologies won for the Simon headquarters; and for innovative reuse, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf won for Homewood Suites Hotel.
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  • I mentioned this at the ceremony, but it's interesting that the Conrad and Simon Building were awarded in separate years. In my mind their construction was simultaneous. Must have been just enough separation to put them in different years.

    As for Simon winning: eh. I suppose someone had to win.

    Thanks for the plug Cory!
  • Oh lordy, I can hear the protectors of downtown architecture galloping here to deride this.

    While it may be a bit bland, I do like the building. My main annoyance is that they took a fountain with a lot of personality and made it boring and pedestrian.

    The Barton House and Homewood Suites are both fantastic rehabs.
  • You've got to be kidding me.
  • I'm with Urbanophile on this one (plus a few colorful metaphors)! They completely destroyed a beautiful greenspace and put an ugly building up. I was dismayed when I first heard about the project and my mind has not changed since it's completion.
  • I almost always have positive things to say about the architecture in Indy.
    The fact that they destoyed some of the last greenspace downtown aside,
    this building is straight out of the 70's. I thought it was going for a retro look.
    Imagine this same building with amber glass, or even mirror glass instead
    of the green tinted glass they use and I think it would have a much more
    current look. The interior public spaces are beautiful. I'll give it that.
  • I don't know about you, but I don't live downtown for green space. If I wanted green space, I would visit Eagle Creek or live out in the cookie cutter burbs.

    This is the same crazy thinking that has people trying to save a grassy hill on the Canal. We live in a CITY. This is not the country. We're not a megalopolis like NYC, where Central Park is a great perk because there isn't green nearby. This is not to say that the building couldn't be designed better, but I have zero problem with a building on that land. This is from someone who actually had an office overlooking the green space for many years.

    You all complain about density, but then you complain because a wide open space is filled in. You can't have it both ways.
  • Matthew:

    1. As I understand it, Capitol Commons Park only existed to beautify the parking garage underneath it while the city waited for development of that space. It only took about 20 years for Simon to finally take some of the space and when they did, the public complained about using what was only supposed to be temporary park in the first place.

    2. The interior spaces are beautiful... That's actually one of the two awards that the Simon Building won -- Downtown Development was the other -- making them eligible for the Monumental Award.
  • I completely agree with Nick. There is an abundance of green space downtown. While the Simon building isn't a groundbreaking piece of architecture, its the best building built in downtown in a while (but thats not saying much).
  • some of the last greenspace downtown ...Really? When was the last time you were downtown? 'cause you missed that little patch of green they call White River State Park, and that small little 3 block stretch that makes up the Veterans Memorial Plaza, lets not forget that little corridor of green that is the canal(I am not talking about the algae) and the tiny stretch that is the White River Greenway, and that small pathc of grass that is Military Park, and of course the teeny tiny area called IUPUI with the Quad and the library lawn etc..... Get real, as stated, that park was always a place holder. That is why the City would not temporarily green the MSA site. Because a lot of people would scream about the loss of greenspace.

    While the building is not spectacular, it is something that many downtowns want, a corporate headquarters of a major national company, right downtown.
  • I think the big disappointment with Simon is it's so stubby and short. I know the need wasn't there, but do y'all reckon it'd look better if you just doubled its height? Just stretch it out!

    Also, the redesign from the Keystone plan was astounding, especially given the materials were already bought. Does anyone have a picture of the original design, lest we forget what COULD have been there?

    A similarly significant redesign of the JW COULD reveal something very cool (God willing). Has anyone heard anything about THAT? ha ha.
  • No one can argue the point that greenspace is dwindling. The Canal is NOT
    greenspace. It's a man-made, concrete canal that flows by downtown buildings.
    IUPUI is NOT greenspace. It's a college campus. If it were necessary IUPUI
    would fill every inch of that land with additional campus buildings. The
    Veterans Memorial plaza is nice. I'm talking about balance in the downtown area--
    balance of green space to concrete buildings. It really amazes me that
    everyone doesn't scream about the loss of greenspace. . .anywhere in
    Marion county.
  • I do like how it seems to complement the surrounding buildings rather well ya know?
  • I completely agree with Nick, CorrND, 317 and Indy4Ever...... there is PLENTY of greenspace in downtown Indy, what we need is even MORE high density develpment. While I thought the little plaze was kind cute, what with its fountain and all, I always thought it was out of place. I happen to LOVE that Simon chose that spot for the construction of their HQ. If you want green space, you have University Park, Military Park, White River State Park, parts of the Canal Walk (all smack dab in the middle of downtown) and the IMA grounds and Eagle Creek Park (the 4th largest city park in the nation) just a short drive away.
  • Must have been a slow year in architecture for this building to win anything. And as for the interior. “BEAUTIFUL” it is to laugh. Their interiors are so COLD you can hang meat. I’m in and out of this building weekly. “It just feels like a cheep mall to me” And lunch at a restaurant on the park - that's NOT ON A PARK? Lovely views of a concrete corner. As for the Park itself. Yep. It was just a place holder. I can only hope that some other Indiana company builds a bigger HQ building to the south and block the Simons view. I said it once, I’ll say it again. THEY PICKED THIS BUILDING OUT OF AN IKEA CATALOG AND SCREWED IT TOGETHER. Green glass, stainless steel and some stone. I have a lamp from Ikea with the same design.
  • Bob, its been a slow existance for Indianapolis in terms of architecture.
  • Just because Indy isn't loaded with examples of cutting-edge modern architecture does not mean it is an architectural wastland. There are MANY fine examples of quality architecture throughout the city, both historic and modern.
  • Matthew-thats one of the things about living in a growing metro. I dont like seeing parks replaced with structures, but at the same time there are many parks in downtown to stay. I would rather see grass lots filled with structures then having buildings knocked down for new ones. Density is becoming higher and higher in downtown Indianapolis, its part of having a healthy city.
  • I'd be really helpful if those expressing opinions about greenspace would identify where the live... because I have a sneaking suspicion they don't live downtown.

    I don't agree with Helen's assertion that density is part of having a healthy city. There's lots that can be developed or redeveloped without jamming people into every last corner of downtown.

    Dunno if you've noticed the doughnut shaped ring of dying and decaying structures the circles the downtown area, between downtown and the outlying areas of the city. if you head up college from the circle, it starts at about 26th street and continues on to 45th street or so.

    There's lots there than can be developed and repopulated. Work on that first...
  • Hi Steph, not that I see how it's relevant, but, I actually in live in Santa Monica, CA. That said, Indianapolis will ALWAYS be my home and before moving here I lived in downtown Indy (Canal Square, Riley Towers and a small apartment building located near 11th and College) for several years. My opinions (and I understand that that's all they are) are very much based upon personal knowledge of the area. I am a huge fan of my hometown and, having lived in and visited many other cities across the country, take particular pride in its downtown.

    IMHO, density is absolutely necessary to a thriving, active downtown. Density creates an energy that just isn't possible without it.
  • P.S.

    I try to stay as informed as possible regarding the going-ons of Indy by reading the IBJ daily and the IndyStar when I have to.
  • It is a plain building that shouldn't win any awards. The greenspace issue was silly then and it is silly now. However, what should be eliminated and built on are all the ridiculous surface parking lots, not the green space.

    I also don't think a building should win an award when it is designed to have tractor-trailers manuever backwards on Capitol Avenue to get into the loading dock.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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