New airport taking shape

September 25, 2007
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New AirportThe new Indianapolis airport has been in the news lately (thanks to plans for special foot basins for Muslim taxi drivers). We haven't yet discussed the airport, so here's your chance. The $1.1 billion project, slated to open in late 2008, was designed by St. Louis-based HOK. IBJ photographer Robin Jerstad recently toured the new terminal. Check out his photo gallery here. As construction continues, the Airport Authority is working to lease 55,000 square feet of retail space. What do you think of the project? How will it impact the surrounding area? What should the city do with the old terminal?
  • Anyone know the status of the proposed hotel that is be connected to the new midfield airport terminal?
  • I got to go on a tour of this last week. It is VERY impressive. The baggage area alone blew my mind. The design is very modern and open. This will be a jewel in the crown of this city.
  • I'm really anxious to see this. Just taxiing by it on a plane, it looks exciting. I'm especially interested to see the artwork. I think that alone could put us on the map. And I too would like to know about the status of the hotel. As I recall, it was/is to be a Westin, but I can't remember who the developer is. Any news on this?
  • I went past there not too long ago on I-70 and the facility looks amazing! This will be a really nice airport that is going to leave/make a great impression!
  • This thing will be recognized at the national level for it's design and effort to be artsy...too bad they started the design and planning before LEEDS and ' Green' became hip and trendy here locally...PLEASE Airport Authority, don't start mixing 'Religion and State' with this rediculous Muslim foot bath!! If I remember right the Supreme Court has already not allowed the Religious and State mix anywhere else in this country....and any rationalization of 'sanitary' wash, and helping diabetics with a foot bath is an insult to all of us that have lived, worked and paid taxes here to help pay for this $1B Airport...what next a stautue of the Ten Comandments?...a Buddah?...a Star of David?...or just a non-native Religious based Muslim foot bath for a few Taxis drivers that still haven't even learned to use deodorant yet?
  • I support clean and reject smelly. Get over it.
  • Mike - you are a doofus. The purpose of this foot bath has nothing to do with smelly and everything to do with religious practice. This accomodation should in no way be supported by a tax-payer supported project. Kent is right to take this position. This is an important project for the city. The city would never have risked the ire of the ACLU with a Christian edifice and should not be bending over backwards to accomodate the needs of muslim cabbies.
  • The old terminal should be redeveloped as a dedicated International passenger terminal, or a manufacturing/distribution/administrative site for a global aerospace company, or a international multi-modal cargo terminal for the US Postal Service or some other international carrier.
  • Kent -- the airport IS going after LEED certification. This was reported in the most recent newsletter for the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • The old terminal would be a nice location for a aircraft assembly plant.
  • It is interesting to see all the praise for this facility on this board and then pay a visit to the the Indy Star board and read all the uninformewd whining where this facility is concerned. Since the day I first saw the renderings of this airport, I thought that it was a very striking design and that it would provide a source of significant architectural significance for the city. Over on the other board all they do is complain about how ugly and unispired it is. Maybe it's just me, but I don't find either of these sentiments to be even remotely true. I can't wait for this building to open just so I can visit and take it in. This is an airport that we can be proud to have in our city.
  • Hope the new retail space is filled with unique and compelling shops, restaurants, and other business you can't find in every other airport in the US.

    It would be nice to have a local flair that best reflects our communities innovation, art and culture, and global aspirations.

    (No country stores, candle shops, and flee markets.)
  • Kent & berwickguy: Our money and our license's plates already say In God We Trust. Let a few Muslims have a pool of water.
  • Trust me, having these sinks would not be seen as a violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution under any relevant legal analysis. IT isn't even close.
  • For us to be a World-Class city, we need to be open and worldy to others, especially at an International Airport. I have been in a current bathroom when I used to work there, and it is a hazard a maintenance guy is always being called to this bathroom to clean up the floor mirrors and sinks. It's a safety hazard, a health hazard and regardless of who it is geard for, it should be installed. It will only be in one bathroom, not the entire terminal. Most guests won't even see them. If it's the typ eof foot bath that is the problem, then build them as biday's (sp) and have them use that to wash thier feet in. those are seen all over the world, just not often used in the US.
  • Everything I've heard says the old terminal is coming down. However, they are trying to decide how they can reuse the admin building and the parking garage.
  • I don't want to wash my face and hands in a sink after someone just got finished soaking their sweaty feet in. Certainly it makes you think twice before drinking the water.

    It's a hygiene and health issue.
  • Mike-

    I hope you aren't drinking out of sink faucets in the first place! This airport is being built WITHOUT public money and therefore, if the budget affords the opportunity to provide space for muslims, so be it. I suggest going back to the IndyStar Boards where you may be more welcomed with your uninformed comments. In the meantime, please allow those of us who are proud of our fine city, the opportunity to have a well-rounded, educated discussion on the developments of the Central Indiana region.

    As for the old passenger facility, there is absolutely NO NEED for a seperate international facility. The new terminal is designed to accomodate both departing and arriving international flights.
  • Mike what are you doing drinking out of the sinks in the restroom...gross..
  • Well, I've been a fan of this new design ever since it was first announced. Seeing it coming together has been wonderful! I loved the photo gallery on the website, kudos to Mr. Jerstad! Those pictures really do a good job of reflecting (no pun intended) the scale of this project. It will be great to get people's reactions when they arrive in our fair city via air. Now all we need is some kind of ornamental gateways to welcome travellers in other modes of transport.

    I have a buddy who's a flight instructor and next time he's in town, I'm gonna have to have him take me up and I'll shoot some (hopefully) striking photos from the air of this wonderful facility. Already got some nice ones of downtown!
  • I have smelled some cabbies on a hot day. Religion aside, any chance for them to clean any body part if a good thing.
  • These sinks are not secular sinks people!........if these new sinks were not available, they would be using what ever they could so that they could wash their feet to is one thing to erect a 10 commandments monument and quite another to make sure everyone has access to sanitary facilities!
  • It's not the tolerance and international diversity of it all, sorry for the long argument, I mean discussion, but they wash their feet so they can pray to the east 5 times a day, if that's not religion what is? there is no real sanitary factor, just a symbolic religious factor!!!, the man upstairs won't accept their prayers without washed feet...he must be biased...or archaic...once you allow religion in the public space, then the flood gates are open...even the snake charmers can set up shop
  • The terminal should be great. Now we need a rail line to get travelers downtown after they arrive.
  • I agree DM. I do not understand why a train line from downtown to indy is not being built.
  • THANK YOU DM!!! Finally someone said something about freaking rail. It's so dissapointing that the planning stages did not include actual development of a rail line linking the airport direct to downtown. Because I firmly believe a connection like that will make Indy completely stand out as a world-class city in terms of connecting travelers from all over the country and the world to downtown for the arts, culture, shopping, sporting events, lodging, and whatever else reason it may be. That's the ONLY major thing Indy is missing. This is the PERFECT time to start building a rail road or some form of guideway similar to the Clarian People Mover. Hopefully someday... someone with the power to do so will finally wake up... SOON. And get the ball rolling!!!
  • Indianapolis ranks 45th in the number of passenger
    enplanements, only 1/10th of the number of
    Atlanta/Hartfield airport. Enplanements have decreased
    from 2005 to 2006.

    Federal funds do contribute to portions of this project,
    like the control tower and other aviation related
    infrastructure. All airports get federal money for
    runways, etc. This terminal will not change usage at the airport. It will
    remain second rate in that regard.

    As usual, a lot of money is spent for show, without any
    discernible change in the status quo. It may be a
    a decently design terminal, but too bad few will see it.
  • dustin - perfectly said! unfortunately, indiana is myopic in it's love of the automobile and archaic at best in providing thoughtful planning for mass transit. i went to a charette years ago in fisher about the need for light rail/mass transit and absolutely nothing has come of it. that was one in dozens that have happened or had happened at the time. high speed rail has been thrown around for literally decades and again, we are behind our neighbors in funding (like major moves didn't provide anyh money!??). we (well most of us) love our car culture and it's unfortunately not going to change in our lifetime. just down in nashville last weekend and even they have a light rail route, albeit a limited one. i would love to see us get one, but as always we will be the last in line to make any change...
  • The plans were designed in the very early stages with a drop off/pick/up location from something similiar to the People Mover. They even showed a possibly path going along I-70. It was at one of the very first meetings with designs provided. They were told up front that they would not be able to do the rail, however, the building was still built and designed with that in mind.
  • Dustin-

    Correction is correct, the new passenger terminal has been designed to provide for light rail to downtown. This was not over-looked and was integral to the design of the facility. Once the northeast corridor line is constructed, a line from the airport will be built. HOWEVER, I think that an airport line should have been considered first.


    That line in Nashville is a commuter rail line, not light rail. Nashville does not have light rail. The State of Indiana is studying a commuter rail line from Muncie to downtown with stops in Anderson and Fishers.


    I do not share your negativity and I think that you will be hard pressed to find others here that agree with you. Will this attract a hub to our airport? Maybe, maybe not. I would prefer not as it keeps IND a cheaop, competitive market for travelers. This terminal will reduce taxi times for the planes, which will reduce fuel consumption, which will help to keep gas prices down. Therefore, I see a change in the status quo.
  • CoryW thanks for your response. I already understood the passenger terminal was built to provide a future possibility of light rail. As I understood at the time, light rail would be in the planning stages at the time of construction of the passenger terminal. This should have been an integral part of the whole concept of providing feasible means of transportation for out of state travelers as well as international travelers. It's a shame Indianapolis or Indiana is behind on the whole idea of rail transit. And yes... WHEN light rail is being constructed, it should be first considered from airport to downtown. Not the northeast corridor. Or better yet, they should both be constructed at the same time. How great would that be? It takes years to finish construction of such. If the northeast corridor was constructed first, imagine how long we will have to wait for the airport route? Ridiculous!!! We are living in a time where more alternatives are being given rather than being limited. Chicago, New York, San Fran, Atlanta... those cities have it. Phoenix is even building light rail as we speak. The city of Tucson where I live right now... is already in the planning stages of light rail and it WILL be constructed. That to me is development Even Indy has more people and more land size than Tucson, but Tucson is getting the ball rolling
  • I don't think people fully realize the positive effect on urban redevelopment (and the opportunities for developers) that new rail transit systems can create. Developers would have to change their focus from paving beanfields to assembling land near stations and building dense multi-use developments as has been done in DC, San Diego, and many other cities.

    I do think that the exisiting taxi, shared-ride and private parking interests would oppose rapid transit to the airport.
  • Indy is just so far behind in the area of mass transit. Salt Lake City already has light rail. Charlotte is building a system right now. I just graduated college and I'll be lucky if I'll be alive to see any sort of mass transit system in Indy.
  • I saw this article about skin infections and whirlpool foot baths, and wondered if
    this could happen with these foot baths that are being installed in seemingly
    quite a few places? This could present a probable lawsuit problem if people were
    to encounter infections after they used these foot baths. Who would clean them
    to keep the footbaths up to the standards that would be required? That is
    another expense in and of itself.

    Could this happen if the footbaths are installed at the Indianapolis International

    Has the Indianapolis International Airport conferred with the Board of Health
    about things of this nature?

  • I am very excited about this airport terminal, it's going to be awesome. The old terminal should just be torn down, it's too old and requires too much work to do anything with. Maybe they could put some restaurants/shopping/hotels there. Now, it's time for a light rail system, that would be great.

    As for the sinks, I don't really care as long as there are no tax dollars involved. Church and state should be separated eventhough our ugly license plate says in god, we trust and GW gives tax dollars to religous institutions due to his religious beliefs. You should follow your rules all the time, not just when it's convenient for your views, so if a christmas tree has to be called a holiday tree, then there shouldn't be tax payer funded sinks for religious purposes. Now, if we could get rid of these license plates!

    Overall, Indianapolis is a great city and this new airport will only make it greater, cheers!

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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.