New life for Illinois Building?

March 22, 2009
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Illinois BuildingA local developer is working on plans to save the vacant 10-story Illinois Building, considered in recent years as one of the state's most endangered historic structures. Halakar Properties Inc. has put the Illinois Building under contract, and has been meeting with city officials about a tax abatement that could help return retail space to the first floor and turn the upper floors into apartments, industry observers told IBJ for a story published in this week's print edition. The 1925 building at the southeast corner of Illinois and Market streets has generated plenty of interest among potential tenants in recent years. But the building, which last housed a food court and a gym, has been vacant since 2003 thanks in large part to a legal battle between the owners of the building itself and separate owners that control the land underneath. The Halakar contract would bring the parties in that dispute together. The company, which developed the 3 Mass condo and retail project, has been talking with potential development partners for the project. No cost or time line was available. The full story is here.
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  • Wonderful! :)
    This is a great historic downtown building and I am pleased to hear it could be saved!
  • fooooood coooouuuurtt!
  • The developers should contact Klimpton and see if he would like to turn it into one of his botique hotels.
  • A boutique hotel would be great! We don't really have one of those downtown. I like the retail and apartment idea too. It's too beautiful a building to let it sit and rot while the warring factions duke it out. I know the food court was dirty but I do miss a Wendy's downtown for a cheap lunch.
  • Tough to sell a hotel in Indianapolis without parking. Actually, it's tough to sell anythin in Indy without parking.
  • Awesome! This building is very cool and I hope Halakar can pull it off!
  • EXCELLENT news. I really hope this happens. I have had high expectations for this site since the dirty food court closed-up.
  • Very promising, no matter WHAT goes in there. If the Illinois Building stays unused much longer, I fear for its structural integrity.

    Same for the Consolidated Building on N. Penn. I thought that was sold a few years ago. It adds density to an urban core that typically lacks it, but the building shows no sign of life.
  • FINALLY, attention being given to this building. I've longed for this to happen. It's absolutely ridiculous today that this building is still empty not being used for ANYTHING, while closeby businesses and buildings are bustling with activity. Anyway, on the positive side of things, I'm very happy to know that the developer wants to put this building to good use. I always thought another grocer on the bottom level would be great whilst the upper floors are being used as apartments. Even another department store would be nice. Sure, the lack of parking is a big issue, so somehow that's gonna have to be solved. I'm not sure another food court would be a good idea, because that has already been used before, what's the point of repeating that? Reinvent the building's concept, that should be the important thing. Although I do think that downtown DOES need a Wendy's, Burger King, and the like... That is not to say that I am a big supporter of fast food restaurants, but come on. This is DOWNTOWN, downtown should have almost EVERYTHING. That McDonald's inside the Hyatt... amazing enough for what it is, but a more visible McDonald's in another area of downtown would be nice. I mean, the CORE, not the outer downtown area, so the one on 16th doesn't even count...
  • Cory- Any asbestos still in the Illinois building? I've heard that's a real problem with trying to sell the Consolidated Building.
  • Dustin,

    The McDonald's at the Hyatt is gone. Only one left downtown is on the circle.
  • There's a Mickey Dee's on the circle?
  • Oh, wow, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the McDonald's closed at the Hyatt. I always had the feeling that they wouldn't last very long considering how well hidden and dark the restaurant was. There is a McDonald's on the Monument Circle? If so, where? I've not been to Indy in over two years so... Forgive me for not knowing exactly what's going on so far that I haven't read :)
  • There is an Arby's and a Quiznos on the circle, but I don't think there is a McDonalds. If so, my lunch every day would consist of the $1.14 Snack Wraps and $1.00 tea!
  • The Mcdonalds on the circle has been closed for years that is where Quizno's is now. We do need another streetside food court the one in the mall is too small and if you are visiting you would not know it was there. Plus the selection is slim whatever happened to Wendy's and Long John Silver. Now we have too many Arby's downtown.
  • I think the first floor could be a good locale for a Chipotle, given Qdoba's success nearby.
  • We don't need another food court. That would take away from the City Market, and from the success of the Mall Food Court. Don't forget there is going to be a Panera Soon right there as well. I really wish TGIF's would have taken the Illinois Building first floor during the construction of thr JW. I miss me some Pot Stickers and Jack Daniels Chicken.
  • Chipotle does sound good.
    I think the City market is all but dead if they don't increase the hours daily and add weekend hours it doesn't matter if there is a food court nearby or not.
    I suggested another food court because whenever there is an event downtown the Circle Centre food court gets so packed I end up walking to White Castles anyway just to be able to eat somewhere.
  • I am amazed by the insatiable appetite for fast-food. These types of restaurants usually do not bring the quality of an area UP. Not that they would necessarily kill viability along Illinois but a better use for that space can be thought of. In fact office space that wanted a lot of visability as advertising would be a good option along there. The street is packed during the day with workers. With Emmis close by, another broadcasting company might create a radio city corridor along there in INDY. Ad agencies, developers, PR firms etc would be great (and there still would be room for a restraunt.)
  • I'm glad to see hope for the Illinois, but why all this discussion about fast-food restaurants? Booorring! Must be an Indy thing. Whatever goes there, I hope it's more than the usual humdrum you get at any number of suburban intersections in Indy. We're just hoping and wishing here, but good God, aim higher!!

    I also hate posts that veer way off the subject, but the comment on the City Market has me wondering -- is that working, or has it failed again?

    To see urban markets on a doable and manageable scale, you need only look down the road at Columbus' North Market or Cincy's Findlay Market. They are doable, manageable, and viable, and remain a fabric of the community like City Market once was. Even Flint, Michigan has an vibrant and fun urban market. Besides endless remodeling to make it feel more suburban, and bungling politicial favoritism and mismanagement, where did it go so wrong and lose it's mission? Did I just answer my question? Why, do they keep blowing it there?
  • Those markets in Ohio work because they have some evening and weekend hours. Our market here closes at 3pm and is not open on weekends. Most people who work downtown do no have fridges at their offices so you are limited as to what you can buy and bring back to the office. Plus those markets in Ohio have multiple vendors for meat. produce and other items. we are lucky to have one fruit stand or one meat vendor, no selection or variety at all.
    At one time we had a fresh fish vendor and they would not let them fry fish because Libby's, at the time the major renter in the market complained and said their customers did not like the smell of fish. WTF is it a market you are suppossed to have smells.
  • This building is wonderful. What about the Rink Building next door. Is it part of the renovation? Its a nice building also. What would be really nice would be build on top of the Illinois Building. Several more floors of apartments would really be nice if it would work structurally. What a wonderful view all directions. When it was the food court there was so much more activity at this corner.
  • I think a large issue with the city market is the lack of nearby housing........if the old Market square gets redeveloped into some large type of housing, that will bring in more people and a need for longer hours.
  • Apartments would be nice they keep building these over priced condos that nobody can afford. Apartments would work for this building with a litlle bit of retail/restaurant mix on the street level.
  • A Panda Express!

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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