City approves design of $45M downtown project

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Construction on a $45 million downtown Indianapolis mixed-use project that’s been in the works since 2009 could finally start next month after a city official signed off on its design Thursday morning.

Plans call for the vacant, two-story former Bank One Operations Center at the northwest corner of Washington and East streets to be converted into a five-story apartment building with office or retail space on the first floor.

Locally based Milhaus Development is leading the project that is set for final consideration by the Metropolitan Development Commission on May 2. The design needed approval from the commission’s regional center hearing examiner, David DiMarzio, because the site is within the Regional Center overlay district and needs to comply with Regional Center Urban Design guidelines.

David Leazenby, a principal of Milhaus, said demolition of the existing structure’s exterior is set to begin following the expected approval from the MDC.

“It’s pretty exciting for us,” he said. “A lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of design went into this to get it to a product that makes sense to build today.”

Bank One ops current 15colThe two-story former Bank One Operations Center at the northwest corner of Washington and East streets is currently vacant.

The 256 apartment units to be built in a $28 million first phase would feature amenities including stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and solid-surface flooring, with rents ranging from $900 to $1,600 per month. Second-floor units in the old Ops Center structure would have 14-foot ceilings, exposed concrete columns and concrete floors.

Plans also call for a pool on the second level, and a community “sky deck” that would feature an outdoor kitchen, movie screen, putting green and vegetable garden.

Construction on a second phase of the project, which would add additional apartments, would start after the first units are delivered in spring 2013. In total, the developments would cost about $45 million.

The Ops Center project has dragged on since late 2009 as the developer, city and property owners tried to sort out financing, timing and valuation. A lawsuit also added to the delay.

The complicated deal—approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission in October 2009—called for the city to pay up to $18.5 million (the eventual purchase price came in lower, at $14 million) to an affiliate of Columbus, Ohio-based Smoot Construction for both the Ops Center and an adjacent 1,600-space parking garage. The pact called for the city to keep the garage but turn over the Ops Center to Milhaus.

In exchange for free-and-clear control of the rundown office building, a 10-year tax abatement and a subsidized deal for 600 parking spaces in the garage, Milhaus would develop the project. The city would pay for its purchase of the property from garage revenue.

Milhaus is partnering with locally based Gene B. Glick Co. Glick will manage the apartment community.


  • Still not mown
    Zach, the development's property was mowed a couple days ago. The city park across the street still is not.
  • The pot calling the kettle black..
    Zach, the grass at the entire "Presidential Place Park" directly across the street from the project is every bit as tall. It sure seems to me that a City Councilor should be able to make the City Mow it's property as well.
  • Who is in charge
    Every day on my way to work, I drive by this property. What I want to know is how this propery, that sits right next to the seat of city government, can be allowed to have all that crap and now grass that is growing over 2 feet tall. If this was a regular home owner, they would have been cited two times over. Double standards like this need to be looked into. Who did they think would mow that grass?
    Zach Adamson
    City Councillor
    • Concerned?!?!
      This is great for the city of Indianapolis. Indy needs more multi-family housing. With gas prices on the rise, there will be a surge of families and individuals moving downtown to avoid the long commutes. There have been numerous articles about this trend and I highly suggest you do some research about this issue.
    • concerned?
      Concerned-- Condos sit on the market for 6 months+ at prices lower than what they sold for four years ago. Apartments downtown, on the other hand, are at over 95% capacity and many of the most desirable units have extended waiting lists...

      I'm curious which "real estate agents" are your sources.
    • More apartments?
      What downtown needs is not more apartments! City Way, The Avenue and 1001 Central are all projects being built/renovated into apartments, and in mass quantities at that. The city is overrun with apartments (ask any real estate agent). It needs condo's of affordable quality. Not more apartments.
      • Awesome!
        Congrats guys! Very exciting news. This has been needed for a very long time.

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