City to review $50M project

June 13, 2007
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A redevelopment proposal for the north end of downtown is up for zoning approval at 1 p.m. Thursday. Grain DealersIf developers can secure financing and city approval, the $50-million project would incorporate the existing Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance building along Meridian Street and add a 14-story tower with a 130-room hotel, 160 condos and 500 parking spaces. It would include space for a restaurant, sports bar and office space, all sitting south of 18th Street between Illinois and Meridian streets. The developer, locally based Inner-Urban Homes & Hospitality, is asking for the city to vacate air rights above Pierson Street to allow for the new building to extend from Meridian to Illinois. A four-story parking garage along Illinois would be topped by 10 floors of condos. Planning staff has recommended approval.
UPDATE: The hearing has been continued to July 12.
  • Sounds like a good project for the area, except that they really need to include ground floor retail under the garage and condos on the Illinois side.
  • I think this would be a great shot in the arm for an area in need of one. I'd like to see some renderings though before making final judgement.
  • Sounds like a wonderful project for this part of town. Hopefully the structure will be interesting to look at as well, unlike that god-awful piece of trash j w marriott.
  • I'm pretty impressed with the renderings so far. They aren't great, but they're much better than half of the stuff that goes up downtown. I'm not aware of any opposition to the project; therefore, I'm pretty sure it'll probably fly through.
  • Anonymous, where have you seen renderings?
  • The only rendering I've seen is a sketch elevation in the documents submitted to the city. If anyone wants to see a copy, send me an e-mail and I'll forward it.
  • I'd like to know more about how the parking garage will look. Some parking garages flow seemlessly into the total structure so you are not put off by the design, others are just plopped in as the developer sees fit and don't do anything for the overall flow of the building.

    How can we see more drawings? IBJ peeps - Get drawings in the paper for us to see!!!!
  • I like the idea of the project and it's definately a good thing for this part of downtown, but when will condo-mania subside? Everything I've read is saying that the condo market is waning. What ever happened to apartmnents? Does downtown really need more condos?
  • I like the idea very much, especially since I live in the area. I would, however, like to see renderings of the project. I also agree with the idea of retail on the ground level of the parking garage. Otherwise, I'm anxious to see the project happen.
  • The hearing was continued to July 12 so that some issues with neighboring businesses can be worked out. At the hearing, a representative said that Near North Development Corp. is working with all the parties to reach agreement and help the development move forward.
  • What in the world issue could Near North Development Corp. have against this? I thought CDCs were there to improve an area not let existing blight continue. The project is probably eliminating some kind of CDBG money the CDC expected (everyone knows that CDBG $ is the life support of CDCs).
  • He said NNDC is helping to move the project forward.

    I like the sports bar idea. It's a pain to go downtown for a quick drink. We have limited choices north of 16th street.

    Im all for it.
  • If the area revives that could become the new insurance corridor that it was when AETNA,ConnecticutMutual,AmericanStates VernonFire,Merchants Prpoerty and Indianapolis Life all were located along with the Embers and many other bars,nightclubs and e the headquarters of the Simon organization in its infancy.

    Too bad we don't have an insurance comissioner who understands the dynamics we could bring to this state by focusing on the Risk retention and risk purchasing groups that states like Arizona,Vermont and Florida have taken from the alternative risk market.
    Even a price cutter like Mutuallyowned Graindealers couldn't afford any longer to insure the risks they cut their eye teeth on and had to abandon the area along with Indiana gas nd the other long standing businessses in this now ghost town part of the city.
  • Hey tb, it looked as if the project was moving fine until NDC decided to stop the press and work with all parties. Beware any time you hear someone say, I am with the CDC and am here to help!
  • One more chance for the city to try to get some interesting architecture...

    I'm not in the business - what does it mean to have air rights vacated? Is it a building height ordinance?
  • The city's property rights extend upward over streets. In order to build over a street the vacation is necessary.
  • The proposed 190-foot building will interfere with signals to and from the TV stations in the immediate vicinity, and those stations would likely oppose the development in the absence of written agreements with the developers. Thus, the delay requested by the developer for time to work things out.
  • I'm sure McAna will find some way to screw this project up
  • Downtown will not be advantageous to the suburbs until we get our own Walmart or Target.
  • A Target would be great, but let's keep walmart as far away from downtown as we can.
  • Hey, Maria, if NNDC doesn't, your suggestion probably will. Those who have no way to impact the world otherwise use the public due process forum for attention and to simply wave a flag that says, I exist!
  • And people who have an axe to grind (and no facts to back up their positions) use public blogs to do the very same thing.
  • Ruth Hayes and the NNDC are an albatross around the neck of Indianapolis.
  • thundermutt, if that was an intended slam directed at me, that's a compliment coming from a government-knows-aller like you!
  • Martin, Ruth Hayes is president of the Nora Northside Community Council. Near North Development Corporation (NNDC) is a CDC whose service area is in Center Township from downtown to the Children's Museum. Big difference between the two.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.