City, BW3 reach deal

September 15, 2008
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The owners of downtown's new BW3 and city planners have reached agreement on a new design. Changes shown in the rendering below include new lighting fixtures and removal of yellow "highlights" behind them, along with removal of black-and-white checkers on either side. The darkened one-way windows also will get "window boxes" with artwork (restaurant branding or advertisements prohibited). An earlier counter-proposal from BW3 also is below. The new design still could be appealed to the Metropolitan Development Commission by a citizen.

BW3 Indianapolis
                              new design
BW3 Indianapolis earlier

Old posts are here and here and here and here.

  • Meh.

    The actual problems haven't been addressed. Hopefully I won't be the only one appealing this design.
  • Ablerock - You are really going to appeal? You have got to be kidding me. What business is it of yours? The new design is mostly all gray like the top of the building. Let it go already so we can all eat delicious wings, drink cold beer and watch the Colts play!!!
  • I'm actually okay with this new layout. It's too late to totally change the design by moving the restrooms and opening up the layout to allow sidewalk dining. That would have been a better design, but considering what was originally proposed, this compromise is acceptable to me.
  • the bathroom location is really unbelievable. way to f it up.
  • Does anyone know if this will be family friendly, as in NO smoking? The BDubs in BR smells like an ashtray.

    And on the Redesign Meh about sums it up. :)
  • While better, the design should have been back to the more era appropriate storefront look. At this point too much water is under the bridge to do what should be done. I still cannot figure out why the owner wanted to separate the restaurant from the street life. That connection works for many successful restaurants downtown.
  • How unsurprising that the city ended up giving in. This doesn't really change anything. New coat of paint, that's about it. The stone at the bottom and the lack of windows is unchanged.

    This is just different enough from the original that the DMD people don't have to walk away with their tail between their legs.
  • What the hell. This addresses none of the major problems. As I've said, the yellow was the least of the problems.

    Why are they changing the light fixtures? Those olde light fixtures don't match the new-style awnings. The current fixtures actually work better.
  • It would be nice if the city grew a pair.
  • Hey eFan:

    What business of yours is it to ask what business of his (Ablerock)? Is that your gig, criticize those that want to make things better?

    Ablerock, for those of us novice complainers, it might be nice to post a link for the appeal process.
  • Still ick.

    But since the restrooms aren't moving nor the glass front coming back, the best solution would be to harmonize the base better with the whole building.

    Start with a chisel on that gawdawful stone base. A pattern like the side elements (smooth stone) should go across the bottom, two stones high and painted the same dark color. Paint that intrusive door half-and-half with the wall colors to make it disappear. Finally, I agree: the mod light fixtures are more in keeping with the techno-awnings and art deco building.

    Cheap, easy, better.
  • much better
  • It's better than having an empty storefront. Just open the restaurant already.
  • CorrND, your What the hell. pretty much sums it up for me.

    And Paris, I agree with your comment, too!
  • thundermutt is exactly right too. That stone is really off key.
  • Boo hoo... we lost the fight. Now we can't hope for a wine and cheese shop to come into this vacant spot. I know, I'll waste more taxpayer time and money by appealing this. Yeah, that will show everyone.

    You know what, why don't you bring all of your inflated heads back down to street level and actually see that it will be a business opening in this location. You don't like how it looks, you open a business there and design it the way you want; and put your money where your mouth is (or keyboard in this case). And just because, maybe you don't like Buffalo Wild Wings (or more chains); well, there wasn't anything else there. So, do you wait and hope for that independent store owner to come fill the gap and let the place rot while waiting; or do you let a franchise/chain come in? Hmmm, I'm going to go with the latter.

    Let the freaking thing open already. You don't like it, then there's an easy answer: don't go there. Maybe sales will hurt and it will close like the previous one; and then you're back to where you were, but at least someone tried. And if it hurts your super-heightened architecture sense, another easy answer: don't stare at it. I don't think its appearance is going to offend any residents or visitors of the city. Yes, it won't leave a lasting impression either; but if you travel enough to other large cities' downtown areas, you'll realize that our downtown wouldn't leave a lasting impression on most people anyway. I love our downtown, but it is pretty boring in many aspects. Clean and safe compared to other large cities' downtown areas, but not exciting.

    Enough said, IBJ has already wasted enough website space stirring the pot; and think why that is, to get you architecture nuts to stare at the ads on this page while you're stroking each others egos. So, if this is what the city thinks is okay, LET IT GO!
  • Sigh. (after skimming part of the last comment).

    If anybody doesn't like that there's an appeal process, suggest to your City-County Councilor that they change the law to eliminate it. There's no requirement that the Council maintain such an option. Then, the City can make decisions behind closed doors, with no public recourse, of course, then a business, such as BW3 probably wouldn't be able to appeal either if they didn't come to agreement with the City.

    As it's already been said, this does little to nothing to improve the design. In fact, I dare say, it might be worse. If the City's going to allow a gawdy design, and ignore the real issues of unusable, undersized windows, inappropriate service door, poor interior layout, etc., then let them go all out with the crazy colors, so it's at least something visually interesting, if not ideal. This just dulls a very bad design. It's akin to trying to appreciate the splendor of a Randy Macho Man Savage robe on a black and white television.
  • I guess Get Over It is right. I'm not in BW3's target demographic. I have some taste, standards, AND time/money to spend watching sports and eating out.
  • Well, I like the stone at the bottom. I'm glad they are staying.

    It would be a boring world if we all liked the same things. Now, let's go eat some wings.
  • Ablerock is right. I have watched this debacle trip over itself for too long. This latest “compromise” absolutely needs to be appealed. If you don’t understand why, then you are the reason the legislature included the appeal process.

    In addition to being inappropriate from a design standpoint, this tenant’s many mistakes and financial investment simply do not excuse allowing this design to stand. This is 100% a self-imposed hardship and the public should not be asked to suffer for it. Additionally, the landlord should also seriously consider defaulting the tenant for this mess.

    This is simply one more reason that the entire Regional Center needs to be under the auspices of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. Despite the occasional unpopular design compromise, the IHPC simply does not tolerate humiliations of this proportion at this level.
  • Sign me up for the appeal! Seriously, how do us less in the know go about appealing it? Will this come before the MDC? Do we show up there to remonstrate? At the very least the faux stone needs to go, though I think the city should have held out for appropriate storefront windows as well.

    All this is demonstrates is that it is possible to get away with breaking the rules. Don't like the guidelines? No problem. Go ahead and do it--your punishment will be a slap on the wrist and a bucket of Sherwin Williams.

    P.S. On an unrelated note, Cory, is there anyway you could do an entry on the Greenwood Old Town plan? I'd be interested in people's opinions about that.
  • I hear Hillary Clinton has a pair that the City could borrow.

    Seriously, all joking aside, I just don't see this as that big of a deal. Ablerock, you know I respect your opinion and think that you are a valuable member of these boards, but to appeal based on an interior layout and window size? Did you appeal when the City allowed The Ram and Alcatraz to erect (uhh huh huh, I said erect) their fermentation bins? Or, how about Hard Rock's guitar, Webber's grille, etc? I think that downtowns/urban environments can be greatly enhanced by creative and unusual signage and unique storefronts. Is BW-3 that? Maybe not the most creative or unique, but it is someting different than the norm.

    If you are going to use our Regional Center process to appeal (which isn't really broken, it just needs to be fully enforced and applied across the board, not to just a few) this, then also appeal drive-thru's, free-standing signage and front-row, on-site parking.

    Now, when does B-dub's open so I can get my chicken-wang on?????
  • This is still crap. Adopted design guidelines clearly prohibit the use of synthetic stucco because of its cheap, suburban strip mall look. I'm not sure what window boxes mean, but the darkly tinted glass is also expressly prohibited because it inhibits the street-building interaction so fundamental to urban design. The city caved in and we have a cheap Fishers-looking facade.
  • Regarding appeal, from the city website at
    here is all I can find about filing an appeal:


    A petitioner or remonstrator (anyone opposing a decision) has the right to appeal a decision to the Metropolitan Development Commission, within 10 calendar days of the decision.

    For those interested, it would probably be best to call DMD Planning to find out the process of appealing.
  • You all need to appreciate ANY business that wants to fill vacant and out of state ownership buildings. The market will decide not those who have no game.
  • What do you all expect from the broke-back Ballard administration?
  • this is far better than the halloween shop that none of you seem to have a problem with. for several days when we had loads of visitors in town you could look into the giant glass that you all love and see tons of boxes thrown about the inside. looked like crap
    but none of you seem to have a problem with that
  • Cory -

    Thank you. That pretty much sums it all up perfectly.

    When people come from out of town to visit, these type of 'features' are what draw them to their restaurants. If you are walking down the street in an unfamiliar city, you look for things like this to draw your attention to that restaurant (ie. the Weber Grill).

    I don't love anything about that BW3's design, but if I'm from Timbucktoo, it might draw me down the street to see what type of restaurant it is.
  • CoryW -- I don't understand the connection you made between those very interesting, unique restaurant features and this design. What's unique about BW3s?

    Seems like the exact opposite.

    At one point, the owner even noted that this design is based on the newest BW3s corporate branding strategy. By definition, that makes it pretty non-unique.
  • I wish this would go back to the vacant storefront that was there before, so I could walk past it everyday for another three years. In fact, let's kill any sign of progress in downtown that we can. Scotty's, you're next!!

    I really like the empty storefronts across the street by Red's, those really add something to the city's appeal to tourists and visitors from the suburbs.
  • Getoverit -- is the man. WHA WHA WHA WHA!

    In a month or so you all will move on to your next gripe and life will be miserable as usual.
  • We have an appellate process in place for development to allow the public to weigh-in and to ensure a fair and effective process. If Ablerock and others wish to appeal, then that is their right to do so, and I think some people need to get over themselves and stop criticizing others for exercising their legal rights. I am not planning to appeal, but I support the right of others to do so.

    As for the developer, I feel NO sympathy for him. He is a sophisticated individual who has opened up several franchises throughout the city and has excellent legal representation. He was fully aware of the law and he chose to thumb his nose at it and thought he would get away with it. It ticks me off when others break the law and act like it doesn't apply to them, but we little people are expected to follow it. The developer has deserved all the aggravation and hardship he has had to endure, and I will be glad to see others appeal and make the experience even more expensive and unpleasant for him. Perhaps this will incident will serve as example to other developers to FOLLOW THE LAW. The developer may have well ended up with the same design which he and the city just agreed to in their settlement, but it would have come about through the process being followed rather than through the settlement of an enforcement action after the process was ignored by the developer. If things had been done the proper way from the beginning by the developer, then he would have saved much time and money, and the restaurant would probably be open by now. I don't see why now after he willing chose to violate the law, he should be cut any slack and get off without even a slap on the wrist.

    At the end of the day, this isn't about a restaurant facade or whether or not people like the chicken wings at BW3's, it is about the legal development process in this city and whether it means anything or not. Why go through the motions of drafting development rules, holding public meetings, hiring city staff to review projects and make recommendations, etc., if at the end of the day a developer can simply break the law and do what he pleases? Either the law means something or it doesn't--and the city is in real trouble if the law is meaningless.
  • I guess 'get over it' is OK with me moving in next door to his house, tacking a shed on the front of my house and opening a donut shop. It's never too late. If DMD had any teeth or balls, they'd hold the occupancy permit until they ripped this entire facade off and go through the proper channels for a proper approval. This city sucks when it comes to enforcing the preservation tools we put in place. Time to make the donuts.
  • All I read is:

    Whine, whine, whine. Cry, cry, cry. I'm just trying to uphold the law and make sure it is followed. More whine, whine, whine. More cry, cry, cry

    Most of the posts (on this thread and previous threads) show their true colors in their words. It's not the process that is bothering them so much, it's the design. So, quit trying to hide behind the guise of you're trying to make sure the process is followed... jibber, jabber, jibber jabber. According to what I read above, the city is satisfied and sounds like the process was put back in place to the city's satisfaction (hint: it says they're in agreement). When you appeal, are you going to say that the reason you're appealing is to uphold the law and the process? My guess is no and the reason is going to be that you don't like the design; and thus leading me right back to my previous post. And even if you post back to this, saying that will be your reason, do you really think the city would fess up and say they're giving in? Another no there.

    And yes, it everyone's right to appeal. It's also my right to have the opinion that you're wasting taxpayer's time, and to point that out. Can I stop you from appealing? No, but maybe I'll get one poster to think a little more about it; and maybe I won't, oh well.
  • Dave,
    As long as the donuts are hot and fresh, you can put the shop in my front yard for a fee.
  • Is it my biased opinion that makes me believe that many of these posts supporting this design are tiresome? I try to appreciate everyone's opinion, but if your opinion is that anyone should be able to do pretty much whatever they want, wherever they want, that's an argument for eliminating Regional Center review altogether. But, I think the City is actually going the other way by having adopted design guidelines, which would presumably result in a more stringent review, but also should benefit developers by creating predictability.

    If this design completely flies in the face of many key components of the R.C. design guidelines, then an appeal seems to make sense.

    Appeal process looks pretty easy, but I suppose it takes a trip to the DMD office to file:

    I think this would be an APPROVAL (Appeal of Administrative Decision)

    How exciting it will be to see Ablerock on the t.v. set.
  • Get over it, you still just don't get it. I am not planning to appeal (as I said in my post), but I fully support other individuals rights to do so. And, yes, many people don't like the design of the facade (it is very mediocre). However, people can dislike the facade and still be ticked off that snotty developer thought he was above the law and chose not to follow it. And no, the process was not put back. The city held touched the developer with kid gloves like it does every developer, and finally when the outcry got too loud it decided to take action which amount to being a day late and a dollar short--as the saying goes. I don't feel sorry for the developer, and I won't feel he has been held accountable for BREAKING THE LAW until some punishment is dealt out, such has a fine, etc.

    As for the appeal, no, I am sure no one is going to appeal just based on the idea the process wasn't followed. They will appeal on the grounds that the facade STILL does not meet the requirements of the law. Maybe, they will and maybe they will lose. But, the developer will definitely have to spend more time, money, and aggravation fighting the appeal which serves him right. Next time, perhaps he will think twice before breaking the law. As for the taxpayer's money being spent--your argument is a bit bogus. The Metropolitan Development Commission meets regularly whether or not there is an appeal. Most likely, the appeal will be put on the calendar of a regularly scheduled meeting, and even if an extra meeting is held just for the appeal, the cost won't add up to much--it's not like having a month-long criminal trial or something of that nature. As for the city staff, they have already spent their time examining this case, making their decision and writing reports--there is not a lot of extra work involved for them because of an appeal. So, just drop your red herring.

    The only person who really sounds like they are whining, dear, is you. Most likely you are either an employee or relative of the developer, or the developer himself. Your attempts at trying to justify and excuse lawbreaking are just pathetic.
  • Mr. BW3 Developer,

    The law is the law. If you have a problem with the regional center guidelines you should have gotten involved a long time ago instead of just ignoring them. I got involved, but very few other people did, so they are now the law. Ignore the law at your own peril.

    Mr. City of Indy,

    If you are going to have rules like the Regional Center Guidelines, ENFORCE THEM EQUALLY ON EVERYONE!! No exceptions.

    Thank You,
  • Chris Brown,
    I don't feel sorry for the developer either. I could care less if the developer has to spend more money. So, nope, not with the developer or a relative of the developer... or any affiliation with BW3's. I could care less if the BW3's opens or not. I would like to see something open in that spot (it could be another halloween store... haha), if you haven't been able to figure that out from my previous posts, rather than the place sit and continue to rot.

    But yes, when you add more agenda items to a regularly scheduled meeting, the meeting lasts longer. Therefore taking more time of the staff, and using more of their time that could be used working on other issues. So, I'll hold on to my red herring.

    And yes, I read your post and saw you weren't going to appeal. I didn't single your name out, so I wasn't talking to you specifically (but, I am now). Finally, your attempts to sound like a knight in shining armor for the city's planning and development are pathetic.
  • Welcome to Ballard World! As long as you hire attorneys from Barnes & Thjornburg, you can get whatever you need from Mayor Dullard and his merry band of yes-men. We have 3 more years of this nonsense to put up with, so get used to it.
  • Get over it,

    The 'process' includes a set of design guidelines which are developed particular to this historic district. So whine all you want about us 'design guys', we are built into the process which was undermined. And stop lying. Not only would you not allow a free donut shop in your front yard, you would fight your neighbor's attempt to place one in his front yard. At least admit an understanding for the concern of the community even when related to a private business' attempt to improve their facility or generate revenue. I suspect you would have a different attitude if we were discussing an adult entertainment venue with inappropriate window displays. And don't say they aren't the same. Either situation is governed by rules and regulations and due process. Both were ignored here. Negotiation by the city over the violation to save face for both the city and the developer is not satisfaction for me.
  • hey da hooey,
    if you havent noticed Bart Peterson lost the election. Quit crying and pouting about it. It seems like you try to blast the Mayor everytime you post. I was wondering what you have been doing since you lost the election Bart, you are hitting the message boards as Da-Hooey
  • LOL, yep, I am Bart.

    Blasting Ballard is pretty darn easy, when he is flubbing up about everything he touches. Are we not allowed to point that out?

    Bart made some mistakes in his re-election bid, but he won;t go down as a complete moron like Ballard will.

    Back to your regularly scheduled complaining!
  • After further considering the situation, I've decided not to appeal the city's decision.

    It's certainly not right that BW3 blatantly disregarded protocol and that they're basically getting away with a coat of paint.

    But, someone's money is involved in this project, and as much as I loathe what BW3's has done to this great location, I don't want to take money out of anyone's pocket in this rough economy. That goes for the servers, bartenders, cooks, etc., who will be working there. They've already lost a lot of time.

    What I will be doing is paying more attention to projects in-process so that I can voice my opinion before city decisions are made.

    Of course, this only works with developers that follow the rules.
  • Ablerock,

    This is no criticism of your decision not to appeal this City decision, but I'm not sure how your strategy of paying more attention will work. I could be wrong, but ecause regional center applications are reviewed administratively, there is no process for public input.

    In fact, I believe the only reason that readers of this blog were able to debate this before the City made a decision is because the developer didn't follow the rules. If the plans had been submitted and approved before any work was done, the deadline appeal would almost certainly have passed before building permits were issued, let anyone before anyone would actually take note of the new building design.
  • The recent amendment to the Regional Center ordinance requires a public hearing on major projects in the Regional Center area. I'm not sure if this one would have qualified.
  • My goodness gracious. So many words on so minor a matter.

    Granted, the design is spectacularly ugly, but it's BW3 in a long empty storefront. So open it already -- move on!
  • Thunder: I hadn't considered that. I was presuming that ordinance amendment was already in effect before this application. Is that not so?
  • idyllic, I'm unclear on the matter. Zoning ordinance amendments take a tortured path to approval through MDC and City-County Council. Separately, the MDC has the right to adopt its own rules and guidelines. As I understood it, the Design Guidelines were adopted by MDC as rule some time this summer. But I think the hearing examiner provision is in the zoning code, and I don't believe that was effective at the same time.
  • Get over it,

    I am not sure how you think my post tried to make me look like a knight in shining armor for the city's planning and development? Do you even know what the term knight in shining armor means? I ask because your comment seems to indicate you don't know what the phrase means.

    In any event, I believe I simply posted the truth--sorry, if you think the truth is pathetic but people who are upset by the truth often tend to throw silly accusations at the messenger, as you are doing in this case.

    Finally, your red herring is just that--a red herring. The city staff is salaried--they are not paid extra for extra items added to a meeting agenda. There is no significant taxpayer expense because someone files an appeal with the Metropolitan Development Commission. The only significant cost is to the developer--who deserves it.
  • Chris Brown,
    If you are such a scholar on the English language and metaphors, and think I used the phrase incorrectly... then please, enlighten me.
    Next, think about what you just said, the city staff is salaried (and that's something that's not a surprise to anyone, so don't think you were bringing any new information to the table). Think about that a little more... hmmm, salaried in a government job. Think some more before you start to reply. Salaried in a government job for most people in any city/state/federal government position means, I'm not working more than my 40 hours a week because I'm not going to get overtime or a bonus/commission. Therefore, if they take more time on one item, other items are pushed farther back in the line. So, yes, it is wasting taxpayer's money. Just because someone says, wasting taxpayer's money, they don't necessarily mean a check is being written and passed on... the resources, the manpower, etc. are all paid by taxpayer's money. So, again, I ask you to think a little more before you type. (And my side note for everyone before a debate is started on this, I'm not saying all government employees are this way... but there are a large portion that are.)
    And, I don't believe I am the one upset by the truth because I have obviously struck your nerve and prompted more long responses from you that are directed at me. So, really... who is the one that is upset here?

    And I may as well kill two birds with one stone since I'm already on here posting... (let me know if I used the phrase right or not, Chris Brown... thanks) - wasn't going to address this one originally, but I'm here now...

    I'm not even going to address you after this because you obviously aren't one of (using your words) the design guys... and you just wish you were; and your arguments are weak.
    First, I do believe in one of the previous threads about this issue, it was stated that this BW3 is not in a historic district. And in your first sentence, you say it is. So, wow, I didn't even get past your first sentence without shooting it down and pulling you out of the design guy group which you put yourself in. I'm not even a design guy and I know this.
    Next... comparing an adult entertainment venue to a restaurant is not the same (and BW3's is a restaurant before you disagree and say it's not... children are allowed in on the restaurant side of BW3s, whereas bars, only 21 and over are allowed in at all). You may say that both are governed by rules and regulations, which is true; but one poses an ethical question while the other only poses a design/build question. Your argument is like saying speeding on the interstate and robbery are the same because they're both illegal because of rules and regulations... so, would the punishment be the same then? No. Then there is a big difference between an adult entertainment venue and a restaurant. So, in my opinion, that makes that argument irrelevant. So, in my eyes now, you're not even worth addressing anymore. Buh, bye.
  • Get over it, gosh, it looks like I hit a nerve with my legitimate response to your phony accusations against me. I don't me to be rude, but I did find your response post to be just a little bit funny as it was so over-the-top.

    Only because you asked for enlightenment, here it is: The term knight in shining armor means a a champion and defender of something or someone, as in the sense of being a savior who comes to the rescue of something or someone. I am not sure how you think I portrayed myself as a savior of the city planning department in my posts? I didn't, so accusing me of trying to make myself look like a knight in shining to the city planning department makes ZERO sense. It also makes you look like you were just desperate to throw out some criticism at me--even though, I was perfectly polite in my responses to you--that you ended up posting something illogical and absurd.

    Also, you keep harping on your tired (and wrong) notion that somehow the city spends a lot of manpower and money when someone files an administrative appeal with the Metropolitan Development Commission. No, it doesn't. Look, the city staff already invested the time in examining the project, reviewing the code violation and creating and justifying the response to it. At an appeal, the city staff simply summarizes what it did and the reasoning behind. It is NOT similar to a court trial, where one has to spend hours and hours and hire lawyers and go through mountains of documents to prove something was done or that something was not done. I didn't argue that there would be no time invested by the city staff if an appeal were to be filed, but the amount of time involved would not add up to a significant cost to the taxpayers. You can argue the opposite all you want, but you are simply not correct.

    Now, I think we both have better things to do then continue to debate this restaurant facade until the end of time; however, I am happy to continue to have an intelligent and polite debate if you would like to do so. I just hope you won't be so overly sensitive in your follow-up posts.
  • Chris Brown,
    First, I didn't say you were a knight in shining armor... I said your attempts to sound like one. There's a difference... I said you were attempting it.
    Next, just because you believe spending time on it is minimal, you are correct? I don't think so. Do you work in the department? Do you know how much time they may spend about this behind closed doors preparing, when the public can't see? I don't know either, so it may be minimal... but you don't know either, so it may be more than what you think. So, I may not be right... but I may not be wrong... and what I do know is you don't know how much time they spend, so you might not be correct either. Therefore, my argument is not simply incorrect.
    Finally, if you are going to start crying that I'm not being polite... we can stop. Because if you're too sensitive to get into a debate, then I'm done with you. I never called you a name or downright insulted you... only referred to your arguments, so refer to my name. Buh bye.
  • I doubt this will resolve this feud, but I think the City charges a filing fee to appeal a decision, the same as it does to file a rezoning or approval or anything else, and the fees are designed to cover the City's cost. Be that the case, an appeal would not constitute a waste of taxpayers' money. If nobody chooses to appeal, so be it. If someone does, people can show up to indicate that they believe the design meets the R.C. Ordinance, but I don't believe anyone should be stating that an appeal constitutes a burden on taxpayers or their government.

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