New Pan Am owner has retail plans

July 30, 2007
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Pan Am PlazaA Houston firm has agreed to buy Pan Am Plaza's office building, skating rinks and the plaza itself. The company, Principle Equity Management, is planning a low-rise, restaurant-anchored development that would replace the rinks in time for the opening of an expanded convention center in 2010. Eventually they'd like to do something larger, like a hotel or condos. But for now, they're waiting to see what happens with several other hotel/condo projects. The company is more confident of the market's demand for additional restaurant and retail space. The full story is here. What do you think?
  • Probably a good idea for them to hold off on the larger project for now to see how the market pans out. I just hope that in the mean time, the put some money into fixing up the plaza. It's looking pretty warn now.
  • When do they plan on beginning construction?
  • I hate to be so skeptical about this b/c the redevelopment of Pan Am Plaza is necessary and should be exciting, but the low-rise development worries me. A site like this inside the urban core really should be more dynamic than low-rise development. I know that more significant development, including high-rise, is possible but I don't want more suburban development like we have seen elsewhere downtown. It isn't high v. low-rise I really worry about but density of the development. I hope to see something cool going in here.
  • How low-rise are we talking here? I won't be too happy if they're only planning on 2 or 3 stories, but I think 4 or 5 falls in line with the Wholesale District. Leaving open the option for something larger in the future is smart given the market flux right now.

    I hope they consider having an extension of Jackson Plaza Dr. through Pan Am Plaza, even just as a walkway. It would be wonderful to have both Georgia and Jackson Plaza lined with shops and restaurants.
  • Man, that Armand Lasky fellow sounds like a real treat to work with!
  • I don't mind the low rise mentality as long as they essentially stay in the foot print of the current rinks. I can't see them putting too much money into the plaza other than to update the fountain and fix the basic bones of it. If they truly plan to put a high rise there at some point in, say, the next 10 years, there really isn't a point in spending a ton on where that building would end up. The fantastic draw for a restaurant on the plaza will be the outdoor seating. I'd make a reservation already!

    Yeah, Lasky sounds like a peach. He could end up being like the owner of the garage by the Blacherne!
  • Nick, what did the owner of the garage by the Blacherne do?
  • What kind of restaurant? Are we talking something unique to Indy? Upscale chain? or another Starbucks and Applebees?

    We don't need any more condos or hotels.
  • You know, Sister, what Downtown really needs is a nice Pier One. Or maybe a few more fast food pasta chains. Those seem to have a leg up when it comes to edging out good, local places.

    On a more serious note...

    There is no more serious note.
  • I agree with Spicy Pickle. More Pier One type places would be great. I hate having to travel out to Castleton for these services. I've heard rumors that Peyon might be interested in opening a Starbucks in that location because its across from the Dome. What do you know Property Lines?
  • I think a Red Lobster would be a great addition to Downtown!! I just read in the New York Times how they're redesigning their restaurants to attract a more upscale clientele. Give Oceanaire a little competition.
  • Red Lobster? Can't see it. Rather have a Long John Silver's than that. Seriously though, retail anchor for the spot. Victoria's Secret? Will there be large tax abatements for this project?
  • Ooooh, Vicky's. Count me in, but only if Property Lines is there for the grand opening.
  • I hate to see the rink done away with. It'd be nice if the new developers would consider incorporating a rink into the new development. In downtown Pittsburgh, for example, there is a temporary rink that goes up in the winter. It's great to ice skate downtown amongst the buildings, in the snow etc.
  • What will happen to the Winter Club of Indianapolis, which has called the State Fairgrounds home for years, if I/WSA moves in?

    What about plans to build another rink Downtown in White River State Park?
  • Okay, so all the hype over the proposed & shot-down 45 story hotel on this site less than 2 months ago, which would have been an incredible development for downtown... and now it's relegated to what? Come on!!!
    What is this town coming to???
  • Here's something to consider: Indianapolis only has 2,000,000 in the metropolitan area (by the MOST liberal measure of 'metropolitan area'). As much as I'd like to see breath-taking, architecturally innovative highrises downtown, Indianapolis simply does not, and likely will never, have the market for it. Although Indy has a very good growth rate for a midwestern city, most of the people moving here (I conjecture) have no problem with its sprawling, unremarkable nature. HOWEVER, there is no reason that the low-rise and mid-rise 'infill development' going on downtown can't be more 'stimulating' and 'urban'. I would LOVE to see that in the Pan Am Plaza ...a largely forgotten block of downtown, far past its prime.
  • ianeck, I think you're wrong about high rises in Indy. There certainly is a market for them, although not as strong as other cities. However, there are roughly 5 high rises in the works for Downtown right now. There are enough people moving here and living here that desire an urban living experience, and I think that demand will only grow.
  • ianeck, we have more in our metro area than Charlotte, Nashville or Austin, but they are getting high rise after high rise after high rise. Heck, look at Louisville, they are getting a 60 story mixed use tower.
  • sounds good to me
  • Vicki's Secret is already downtown.. in the mall. I like the idea of restaurants with outdoor dining...that would be a great use of the plaza. It's really not utilizing it's potential as a gathering place. Please dear god, no Red Lobster - yuck. McCormick & Schmick's is great seafood and not as pricey or pretentious as Ocean Aire - and they have the best happy hour ever, they're just a little ways out of the MAIN loop of downtown.
  • How about a Putt-Putt and a suburban shopping mall type food court with an Orange Julius, Hot Dog on a Stick, Wetzels Pretzels, McDonalds and Oriental X-Press? Hmmm, hmm........
  • An INDOOR glow-in-the-dark Putt-Putt...with the food court around it. Now there's a winner!
  • The site is crippled by the muddled mixed-ownership structure. This is the price of the public-private partnership done wrong. Even though the whole block was assembled in the 80's it still needs to be reassembled vertically...ground, garage, and buildings.

    So it will continue to be land-banked. Maybe someone will convert the rinks to a self-storage facility...
  • I think the attitude of the garage owner and the fact that no one has still been able to gain ownership of the entire parcel shows the wisdom of picking the Marriot site of this site for the convention hotel. Nothing like having Mr. Lasky sitting on the key piece of the Intercontinental Hotel and knowing he could ask for billions if he wanted.
  • I don't have a problem with a low-rise either, if as CityFan stated, it is in the 4-5 story range. PanAm Plaza could be very cool and if done in a neo-classical way to compliment the Circle, this could be awesome. I am picturing a square or place like Brussels' Grand Place or in Brugge. Most Lowland-European Cities (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) from Luxembourg to Delft to Leiden all have these squares and they are fantastic. I really hope that this is how they pursue it.

    Oh, and I want LOCALLY-OWNED and GROWN restaurants there. AND GOOD GOD NO RED LOBSTER.
  • Stepping back a bit from what I said before, I think it would be prudent for the new owners of the site to wait to see what happens with the Market Square site before they commit to a particular 'height' of the buildings. The fact of the matter is, we don't need more offices, and we won't need more hotel rooms. IF the condos at MSA sell like hotcakes, I'll concede that I was wrong about Indy having no demand for highrises. However, given that only two developers jumped on the opportunity to build there, I'm still quite pessimistic. Plus, we don't know yet if the Merrill, Penn, or Stutz highrise developments will come to fruition anyway. I WANT to be wrong about this though!!! I'd LOVE to see more highrises in Indy!!
  • well said, coryw - i've seen some of the squares myself and i agree that they are welcoming, fun and cosmopolitan. the way cities should be built. it's funny that carmel is in the process of pulling this off (with a nationally known firm to boot) with two or three plazas mixed into the city center project. excited to see that! people complain about carmel but i truly believe they are much more forward-thinking than many on marion counties development boards...urban development-wise at least.

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