Kite eyes retail, hotel for Pan Am

April 7, 2008
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Pan Am PlazaA local developer hopes to add restaurants and retail space and possibly more to Pan Am Plaza to capitalize on a growing convention center and the new Lucas Oil Stadium. Kite Realty Group Trust joined with Sacramento, Calif.-based Coastal Partners LLC to buy the plaza and two adjacent ice skating rinks from Indiana Sports Corp. The Sports Corp. announced the sale yesterday.

Terms of the deal and specific plans for the site were not immediately available, but people familiar with the project say Kite hopes to target restaurants and entertainment uses and also may consider a hotel. The company hopes to reuse the buildings that now house skating rinks and build a new structure at the plaza's southeast corner, which now is mostly vacant. Coastal already owns the 12-story Pan Am office building at the northwest corner.

Any major redevelopment would require cooperation from Armand Lasky, who owns Pan Am's underground parking garage. The unusual ownership arrangement helped sink previous efforts to redevelop the Plaza, but Lasky said today he talked with Kite and Coastal and plans to do what he can to help. Lasky has a lease with Central Parking that expires in 2010, but he hopes to take possession sooner if he wins a lawsuit that claims Central fell behind on garage maintenance.

  • Good luck dealing with Lasky, and bring buckets of cash. He is sitting on a gold mine.
  • Pan Am plaza development was going to happen sooner or later.

    1. Leave the rink and build around and over the top of it. It would draw crowds to a retail building, it belongs to the downtown, and it keeps the sports theme going.

    2. Leave some open space -- not much left downtown.

    3. Build in a buffer for a light rail stop. We can't live in the dark ages forever.
  • My hat is off to Hometown Boy - you hit it right on the nail. Building a hotel and retail around and over the rink is the right idea. A sports motif is ideal - considering the location. Dealing with Lasky is the dealbreaker - he knows he is sitting on a gold mine of a location. A light rail or regional transportation link to Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention Center needs to happen. It is the foundation for which the entire system will be built upon - and needs to happen quickly based upon fuel costs. I envision something very similair to the Clarion people mover - to link the new airport with downtown. It can be built very quickly and in a 'green' environment mode. SODO will be right around the corner if Pan Am goes in this manner.
  • About leaving some open space: That is one of the problems with Indy...we haven't filled in enough of the open spaces! We need more density There is open space just blocks from any location in downtown right now. We're not that big! Yes a plaza of some sort would be nice, but leaving big open spaces in a downtown as small as ours just doesn't compute.
  • Lasky needs to sue Sideline Parking for neglected maintenance.
    The place is a dump, & the management does nothing.
    Cars are broken into weekly.
  • There is more work involved then they know. Why doesnt the ice rinks get the money. The rinks were not put up for sports corporation or the pan am games there were no ice skating events in the pan am games. Sounds like sports corporation all they have to do is sit back and make money. They are auctioneers and real estate agents. It seems like the money was donated to the sports corporation to build the rinks so the rinks should get the money to rebuild. I quess if you cant put on events that make money sports corps new sidelines seem to make them lots of money and they dont have to put out any effort. The rinks should have the lawyers that looked into the dome sales to look into who put the money into the rinks.
  • God, would it be too much to hope they will revive plans for the Intercontinental? Probably, but I'll do it anyway. That would have been such an awesome addition to the skyline.
  • Maintaining some semblance of the public space that was built for the PanAm Games, the Plaza, not necessarily the rinks (even though I would prefer to keep playing hockey there), seems like a reasonable request to me.

    The Intercontinental would be nice. Hopefully, we don't get some cheap suburban-looking hotels like are going up west of the Luke.

    A light rail station? Really? That would be cool, but does anyone really think that's going to happen? Raising $700M to $1B isn't that hard to do... to build a football shrine. But I don't see it happening for mass transit. Call me pessimistic.
  • Indy has WAY too much open space. Give it a break you suburbanites and move out to Avon for your open space.
  • Idyllic, once again, those suburban looking hotels to the west of the Luc were constructed (for the most part) before any stadium, or stadium location, for that matter, had been approved. It will be easy enough to redevelop those sites when the time is right (and I don't think it will take that long).

    Everyone decries the location of those hotels and the fast-food restaurants on the south side of South St. without considering the purposes they served. First, apparently there was a demand for those products becasue they WERE built and they ARE still in business. Secondly, they provided SOME sort of presence in an area that really didn't get to much consideration. South St. for so many years has served as a psychological barrier to the development of the southside of downtown. Now, with the development of The Luc, I expect that most, if not all, if those parcels will be redeveloped in fairly short order.
  • I agree with Bryan. Revive the Interconinental Hotel. The deisgn was very modern and the view of a 44-story tower from LOS would be awesome. I do think however the ice rinks should be removed. It is the best site downtown to develop and has high foot traffic being so close to the convention center. The developers have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this right. (For Indianapolis) This location will be viewed by millions on broadcast of Colts games and other events. It would be really nice to have a building for Indy to be proud of for years to come.

    What happened to the outdoor rink at White River Statepark?
    Forget the rink, lets save the Illinois Building....real history.
  • According to the Indiapaolis Star the owners say they wiill absolutely not put a hotel on the site
  • Baumgarten (Coastal Exec) said in the Star this morning he is absolutely not putting a hotel on the site.
  • This city has been so short sighted mass transit...we may be past the point of no return...the new engery economy eventually will leave Indy a ghost town...due to poor planning.
  • I also agee with the post about the hotel next to the LUC...I wouldn't want those hotel/motels built at the interstate exit of my subarban town...let alone a billion dollar stadium
  • The problem with the Intercontinental is the same as with the Illinois Building. The site is divided among different owners. Lasky would have held the Intercontinental hostage knowing that they had a strict deadline to hit and knowing the City could not invoke Eminent Domain on his garage.

    An additional issue with the Intercontinental is the developer did not have financing, the JW does, and in this current credit market, it would have been difficult to get that financing. An additional issue was that the design of the Intercontinental was an artists conception. There were no promises that design would or could have been built based on cost issues.

    The Illinois Building is a scary issue. The people who control the ground take control of the building in a couple of years based on the lease deal signed 100 years ago. So the building owners have no incentive to do anything with it, because it will not be theirs in a few years. The real concern is the people who own the ground and will take over the building may want to demo it to put a tower on that spot and their is little the government can do to stop it.
  • Gbow and Christopher: I saw that quote from Baumgarten. You probably noticed I emphasized restaurants and retail as an anchor of a redevelopment that also could include a hotel. The project still is in the planning stages, so just about any detail is somewhat speculative. If I can find out more, I'll let you know.
  • Keep in the mind that the Intercontinental proposal was predicated on large city participation that isn't likely to be forthcoming. Also, the design seems nice, but afterwards I saw that a nearly identical hotel was proposed in Nashville.

    The thing the Intercontinental got right was recognizing that this is prime land that deserves intensive development. I'm not sure what Kite's plans are, but hopefully they are looking to something very significant on that site, not just a bunch of low rise storefronts. A mixed use development would be best. Perhaps the fact that the garage is under separate ownership interestingly encourages a bigger project, since whatever is proposed will have to pay the full freight to get the rights from that owner, who clearly recognizes the value of the lot he's on.

    I don't see the need to maintain an open, wind-swept plaza that is largely deserted most of the time. However, maintaining a part of the plaza as a Pan Am Games memorial plaza is definitely something that should be done.
  • Didn't the city create a Monument Circle historic district specifically to protect the Illinois Building from demolition?

    I must say, it was ironic in the extreme to discover that places like St. Joseph and Cottage Home were historic districts, but Monument Circle was not. This exposes how historic districts have little to do with preservations and everything about handing dictatorial land use power to neighborhood groups.
  • BTW have yopu ever noticed how poorly constructed the Pan Am building is. I think they were in such a rush at the time they built that, they cut a lot of corners. I keep thinking a strong wind some day will take it down. LOL
  • Wasn't there already plans for IndyGo's transit center near the Luke? From what I've read, all of the plans for light rail have included a stop at the proposed transit center, so why would you need another light rail stop so close?
  • A couple of you wrote about the incorporation of a some type of mass transportation station as a part of this project. Doesn't Union Station fit the bill in this situation?
  • yes it would the post office which was talked about a few years ago. But, there is no powers that be in favor of of light rtail in this city. Those that will be able to afford $8.00 a gallon gas...will keep driving..there just won't be anyone there to serve them lunch or shine there shows in the future. We are too far behind here. The cities that have taken the early steps toard rail and ane trying to get off the ground with it now...will prosper...Indy will not.
  • not to be argumentative, but the MPO is in the process of studying alternatives & technologies. While I certainly would like it to be moving faster, I understand the slower pace to make sure they place the likely $1-billion investment correctly to ensure it gets utilized.

    Indy MPO
  • I have attend MPO meeting..and my take when I walk away...'They don't have a clue
  • I can see an Applebees and a Dunkin Donuts for the site.
  • Urbanophile writes:
    I don’t see the need to maintain an open, wind-swept plaza that is largely deserted most of the time.

    Exactly - that plaza reminds me of some similarly depressing and lifeless plazas I saw in communist-era Eastern Europe. I was debating between describing them as barren or as sterile - but I think windswept gets at the same idea.

    One of the problems with the plaza is that there is no reason to go there - it's not really in an area with any meaningful foot traffic, and there's no other reason to really go there. IIRC, there's also no shade - and the parking-lot aesthetic of the space doesn't do much for me. (As an aside, it's interesting how architects' renderings of spaces like this always manage to imbue concrete with the warmth that it always lacks in real life).

    The circle, of course, is downtown's real plaza, and is populated by a couple of hundred people on nice days at lunchtime. There are plenty of nearby restaurants and coffee shops (I think there are three coffee places right on the circle), and the people-watching is good, too. Most people are content to sit on the stairs of the monument (which are at least more suitable than sitting on the ground at PA plaza), but the cognoscenti sit on the benches surrounding the monument, shaded by the trees.

    So I think that almost anything in PA plaza would be an improvement.
  • Some of you are a little too pessimistic concerning rail transit. There is going to be a push at this next session to get funding in place. We all must remember that the Luke and CC were able to pull money from thin air. All it will take is a $0.01 tax per gallon of gasoline to get the money for this! There is more to the metro that just Marion County and I can assure you that Hamilton, Madison, Johnson and Hendricks County's are all VERY MUCH in support of this. I have spoken with the local legislature members for the Anderson/Muncie areas and they are fully in support.

    As for the Pan Am site...finally. Get rid of the horrible plaza and build that outdoor concept that was floated a year ago!
  • Corey I suggest you attend more meetings concerning the future of rail transit in the region. As it is now it is not going to happen. I feel sorry for the generations that follow for the lack of foresight and planning on this topic. Yes, lots of citizens want it and have wanted it. But, like I said earlier most of the people in power can afford $8.00 a gallon gas and still put food on the table. For the rest....let them eat cake...and park thier cars.
  • CoryW, you have been saying there will be a push at the next session for the past 3 or so years. That is why I am pessimistic!
  • Sorry the MPO site link you gave me was wrong or as with the MPO itself it's broke.
  • Gbow - right-click the link & choose open in a new window, or copy & paste, either way works for me. For whatever reason clicking the link tries to keep you here - maybe IBJ is jealous of all the traffic the mpo site gets ;)
  • l do enjoy riding rail as much as the next guy, but it seems that in most cities where they have been adding rail, it has resulted in cuts to bus service because of the high operating costs. Indy could probably enhance bus service, with limited stop service, including some exclusive lanes for faster service on several major corridors, for less than the cost of one light rail line through the low-density neighborhoods adjacent to Alisonville Road (the proposed general route alignment), and in less time. This would probably do more to genuinely provide more options to all commuters, and to improve service for existing bus riders. It wouldn't be quite as sexy as a light rail train though, so I suppose it would be hard to get people excited about it.
  • It doesn't have to be a hotel, however I believe it needs to be significant and have impact. You could build a mixed use of office/retail/residential, it would work, its caddy corner from Circle Center, its in the mix. I believe it needs to be tall and it needs to be architecturally significant. I have seen beautiful renderings for towers of this sort going up in cities that are smaller than Indy, including thier metro area. Of course current conditions make it hard to do such a project, however it doesn't lower my expectations for the site.
  • I think that many of you misconstrued openspace in the first comment. Indy has a lot of openspace like surface parking lots, but the city has a dearth of public greenspace. We have a couple very small urban parks (military, university/the mall) but we have nothing compared to urban parks in better cities. Even columbus, ohio has three large city parks around the urban core of the city not to mention OSU just to the north. What we need is open greenspace.
  • Man, sure are a lot of pre-emptive posts here, but that's the fun of it.

    Sure like the idea of mass transit, but that's definitely putting the cart before the horse for the Kite people. We're talking private interests developing a city block, not a regional transit plan -- and yes, I wish we had one.

    Mixed use is a fine idea. I love incorporating the skating rinks, but is that practical-feasible? That said, how 'bout one inside, one outside? Whatever happened to talk of one at WR State Park? Movie theatres, skating rinks, festivalplace restaurants-bars, urban waterpark -- the more I think about it, the more hands-on and active, the better.

    More open spaces? Crikey, I agree, downtown Indy does not offer enough of an urban experience. Downtown looks like a southsider's mouth, lots of missing teeth. The comment was made, we already HAVE fantastic open urban spaces: Circle, Canal, White River State Park, University Park. A big blob high rise mat not be necessary, but the site needs some elevation. Does the Pan Am Building stay? That utilitarian pre-fab building has NEVER worked. Out!!
  • What happened to the outdoor ice rink that was so ballyhooed a year ago that would have been placed at WRSP? This town can't even manage to build and manage a frozen pond,..on state property, no less. The only successfull 'hi-rises' in Marion county are at your local bakery. As for Mass transit and Indy: 'One dozen free ride and drop 2-wheelers will be available in front of the Catholic {Mass} church on Massachsettes {Mass} Avenue 7-days a week from 6am-11pm.
  • What?!? Are some of the people on these boards under the influence? Some of these latest posts leave me scratching my head.....
  • JAK, I completely disagree with you in regards to the perceived lack of greenspace in our city. University Park is a TREMENDOUS open space, Military Park is underappreciated, the Canal IS an open, park like space (even if it isn't green), White River State Park and all it's attractions and Garfield Park (just to the south of Downtown) is the largest of all. Add to that Eagle Creek Park (a mere 15 minutes from downtown - and one of the largest urban parks in the country), the grounds of the IMA (again just minutes from downtown), the Monon Trail, the upcoming Cultural Trail, another large State Park (Fort Ben) within a very short drive. My gosh, I think we have PLENTY of green space and most of it is UNDERUTILIZED as it is. I say DENSIFY, DENSIFY, DENSIFY the urban core while maintaining and possibly upgrading the aforementioned spaces.
  • I would just like to thank idyllic indy for talking some common sense on the mass transit front. I know this might get me jumped on this website, but how about privatizing IndyGo? The city can do its part by designating certain lanes as bus exclusive on the major arterials and belt-line roads. This would allow IndyGo to modernize their workforce and cut it down to a manageable size and allow them to develop truly demanded routes and services. The privatized company would also have access to private capital markets, and would not have to navigate the municipal funding jungle just to purchase new buses or hire new staff. It would also free IndyGo to operate elsewhere in the metro area where it would be profitable.

    We should look to the models used in several South American cities, many of which are similar in size to Indy, where private bus lines run high-end buses in rail-efficient routes to serve high volumes of customers. I might actually have to blog about this very thing.

    As for the Pan Am Plaza, They can do whatever they want with it. I think the most preferable thing would be to raze the site, keeping maybe the rink fronting Capitol but exposing the rink itself. Take down the rest and build a new plaza facing Capitol(where the majority of visitors downtown will be) integrating the rink and flags, and then build an iconic piece of architecture that adds something useful to the urban mix.
  • Gbow-

    As a member of the IRTC for the past 4 years, I attend meetings regularly concerning mass transit in Indy.


    Yes, for the past two sessions I have stated that. These things take time and last year, the property tax fiasco caused the delay. This past session, same thing plus Mayor Peterson's defeat. So, two very big issues caused this to get pushed to the side. I was just in a meeting with the Anderson-area representative/senator and they are both sponsering this for the next session. We shall see what happens.
  • Corey I just attended a meeting also. When I tired to explain the overlapping systems and transfer models i.e., BART, MUINI, Cal Train and F lines steets cars that every ten year old in the bay area understand and gets, they glazed over like they had no idea how in the world to make something like that work. I am not optimistic.
  • Come on Marshall, to suggest that Eagle Creek is an urban park is ridiculous. The only reason it can be categorized as such is b/c of city-county consolidation. Eagle Creek is most certainly situated in a suburban area despite the fact you can get there in 15 minutes. The Art Museum is almost outside the urban core of the city, as is Garfield Park (although this is exactly the type of greenspace I am talking about). As for the greenspace we do have I love it and am probably one of the few people that use it often. If garfield park was about 1 mi closer tho the city that would rock.

    As for the Cultural Trail. I totally agree with you. This will go a long way at changing the perception of open space in downtown. The one worry I have that I am not sure how the landscaping on the trial is going to be b/c now it looks like just a huge amount of hard surface.
  • Anyway back on topic...Yes I think something high density is what is needed at Pan Am Plaza, and no I don't thnk that is a location for a tranist hub, probably something with some vertical size to it. We have a enough green space in the downtown core and it looks like the JW might be planning something along the lines of a surface parking lot set back for it's surrounding buildings. So enought of that.
  • JAK, Garfield Park is NOT outside the city's urban core, unless by urban core you mean the downtown financial district. Garfield Park is the oldest city park (founded in 1873 and renamed to Garfield Park in 1881) and it is located in one of the older city neighborhoods--the area is rather densely built-up and is not suburban by any standard. In any event, even the downtown financial district has plenty of true greenspace/recreation space (not just open space like Pan Am Plaze or Monument Circle)--as mentioned, there is Military Park, the Canal, White River State Park, the War Memorial Plaza, Capital Commons (which though reduced in size by the Simon Building is still there). Also, there are at least a couple of pocket parks and the Cultural Trail is under construction. Additionally, most of the downtown neighborhoods, like the Old Northside, etc. have parks, too.

    Moreover, the closest large park aside from White River Park, is not Eagle Creek, but rather the huge Riverside Park and its related golf courses stretching from18th Street all the way up to 38th Street; also, there is the smaller, but still sizeable Brookside Park--both are about a 5 minute drive from downtown. The old City of Indianapolis area has PLENTY of greenspace--any shortage of greenspace is in the former suburban areas incorporated into the city during consolidation.

    What Indianapolis needs to do is to better maintain its existing greenspaces and make them more accessible to visitors and better connected to each other and the rest of the city (through greenways, etc.)--the city does not need to add new green space, except perhaps along the outer fringes of the city. The city and its residents do not know or appreciate what they have, do not take care of what they have, and always want something else. How about trying the radical idea of maintaining and improving what already exists???

    As for Pan Am Plaza, it is a barren, unkempt, bricked up lot and serves as nothing more than a glorified roof for the parking garage beneath it. I applaud the developers for planning to redevelop the site while turning a smaller portion into a truly functional open space and creating a memorial to the Pan Am Games.
  • By Riverside Park, do you mean Fall Creek park north of 16th? That is certainly with the urban core...
  • I think that every has completely missed my point, picking at the minutia of my comments and not looking at what I am really saying. First, I don't think that pan am plaza should be turned into a park. Second, I never said that Garfield Park was in a suburban area. Third i know about and use all of said mentioned parks. When i say the Urban core I mean the dense downtown area extending about 1-1.5 miles in each direction. The area with diverse land use, dense urban structures, etc. What I was saying was that compared to other cities of comparable size, Indianapolis lacks a large urban park that these have. Example Columbus, OH: Goodale Park, Schiller Park, Nelson Park, Wolfe Park, ETC. Maybe I just believe in the city beautiful philosophy more than most. I have lived downtown for 25 years and I can tell you that these parks just aren't enough (size or amenities wise). When Ralston originally designed the city there were parks at each intersection of North/South/East/West Streets and the diagonals. The city systematically sold them off or redeveloped to save money. I agree that the best solution is probably improving what we already have, but nonetheless something better would be nice.
  • Jak, I certainly don't mean to appear to be starting a dispute with you; however, while I appreciate your support for the principles of the City Beautiful movement, I must state that the you have no factual basis for your concern/criticism that Indianapolis is lacking in sufficient greenspace within its urban core.

    You have defined the urban core to mean the Mile Square and the immediate surrounding area. Military Park, the Canal, White River State Park, the War Memorial Plaza/University Park, Capital Commons, etc. are all located within your definition of the urban core of Indianapolis. Together, these greenspaces comprise a few hundred acres. Few cities have much more greenspace in such a small portion of their central city center.

    Also, I have been to Columbus, OH several times. Quite frankly, I don't know why you think the city has more greenspace in it's immediate downtown area than Indianapolis--just look at a map, Columbus has about the same, if not fewer parks in its immediate downtown. In addition, you mention Goodale Park and Schiller Park--both these parks are 30 acres each, so they do not qualify as large urban parks. Columbus has one large park near downtown--the Lou Berliner Park. However, Indianapolis has the rather large 250-acre White River State Park right smack downtown--and it is larger than the Columbus's Lou Berliner Park.

    Additionally, once the Cultural Trail is completed I believe it will be the jewel that ties the pedestrian network, the historic/cultural sites, and the urban greenspaces together. Also, don't forget that a small park is planned for the Market Square Arena redevelopment site.

    I agree with you that it would have been a good thing if Ralston's original diagonal streets and their corner pocket parks in the Mile Square area had been kept intact. However, since large office towers now occupy a portion of at least two of these original diagonal streets, I am afraid that what was done is done. In any event, Indianapolis had plenty of greenspace in its urban core and the current plans will only improve this greenspace and make it better connected to the urban fabric.
  • Tony, Fall Creek Park near 16th Street is not Riverside Park. Riverside Park begins about 8 blocks to the west of that park and two blocks north of it. But, yes, they are very close to each other.
  • Thanks for the info Chris, I grew up in Warren Township and am not familiar with the near west side.
  • Isn't the Nordstrom wing of Circle Centre essentially catty-corner to Pan Am Plaza? Why not leave the skating rink there, and build more retail/restaurants around & above it? Build a bridge to connect it, a la the Arts Garden to the former Old Navy. Both the Dallas AND Houston Galleria malls have ice skating rinks in them.

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