IBJNews

CIB mulling sale of historic downtown building

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which manages Bankers Life Fieldhouse and other downtown public venues, plans to sell a historic six-story office building near the basketball arena.

CIB members unanimously voted on Monday to begin soliciting bids for the Ober building at the southeast corner of Pennsylvania and Maryland streets.

The group will decide in coming weeks whether to request proposals itself or hand the duties to the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission, which could target the property for redevelopment, CIB President Ann Lathrop said.

“It seems incumbent upon us to test the market,” she said.

Lathrop said prospects recently have expressed interest in buying the building, but she declined to name them. Appraisals will be sought to determine its value, she said.

Newmark Knight Frank Halakar is the leasing agent for the Majestic Building, which houses Mo’s steakhouse, to the north of the Ober building. Todd Maurer, co-owner of the local commercial real estate firm, said he thinks the Ober building will generate some serious offers. Its corner location makes it attractive, Maurer said.

“I think there would be interest, and I think we would have clients interested in buying it,” he said.

A previous attempt to sell the building about five years ago during the commercial real estate slump produced “no takers,” Lathrop said.

The 55,000-square-foot structure was built about 1910 and named for C.S. Ober, a local businessman who founded Business Furniture Corp. and Stationers Inc. Its current tenants include Ratio Architects Inc., the city’s fourth-largest architectural firm. About half the building is leased at rents of about $14 to $15 per square foot.

CIB bought the building for $5.5 million in 1999 during construction of the neighboring arena known then as Conseco Fieldhouse to control the area surrounding it, Lathrop said.

Selling one of its properties would be a first for the CIB. Besides the fieldhouse, it also operates Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center and Victory Field.

Any sale would need approval from the CIB, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and possibly the City-County Council.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Historic/Architectural Significance?
    Can this building be bought and razed or must it be preserved? Let's hope it's not the former or we could end up with something less congruent with the other buildings in the vicinity and a building of lesser quality.
  • Keeper
    Politics or not, this building should be a keeper at this location. Ratio should get a deal with mega incentives like DLZ did down the street, so they could maybe buy it? We have too many empty and vacant downtown sites to redevelop this site. The City and the CIB need to eat their losses and let the private sector have a chance to own and fix this up at a marketable and afforable rate. City Way got City financing, DLZ got free money, and we spent $12+M on Gerogia Street. Retaining this building seems like a no-brainer.
  • Great Deal
    Can the CIB sell Lucas Oil to the Colts and sell Bankers Life to Pacers Sports Corp and pay off the public debt? So it was so important to buy that building in 1999 hold it and now sell it? What taxpayer service did that support? How about the CIB do a seller financed @100% for one of the Mayors buddies? Finance it at say 1% over 50 years and have that consulting company come down and issue some report on why it's such a good idea and make the taxpayers all this money. Make the agreements real complicated and make sure you have the heavy hitter law firms draft up a contract and bill the city $250,000 in fees, have Lathrops firm perform some Audit on the landlords books bill the taxpayers $125,000 then let an insider that wants the property for $3.0 mill work out a deal to get a commission of 6% to one of their affiliates or buddy they owe money. Yeah it will be great for the taxpayers. before its over the taxpayers will be writing a check since the building needs a whole lotta deferred maintenance and repairs... Crony Capitalism...
  • Corrected
    Jig, you are correct. We've revised the story.
  • Wrong Ober Building
    " ... purchased the then-popular Merrill bookstore in 1945, changed the name to the Ober bookstore, and moved it to its final location in the Ober building. It survived as Indianapolis’ premier independent bookseller until 1983." The Ober bookstore was in a differnt Ober building on the west side of Pennsylvania between Washington and Market, just south of the NW corner. The historic name of the building was Wen or close to that.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

    2. Shouldn't this be a museum

    3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

    4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

    5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

    ADVERTISEMENT