Former City Hall could reopen for planning work

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Vacant for the past six years, Old City Hall could return to active life in 2014.

Department of Metropolitan Development Director Adam Thies hopes to launch a county-wide planning effort, and he wants it to take place on the first floor of the century-old Neoclassical building at 202 N. Alabama St.

“I’m eager to do planning in a space that’s inspirational,” Thies said.

The Metropolitan Development Commission will vote Oct. 16 whether to authorize spending $150,000 from the department’s redevelopment general fund to make the building inhabitable for offices and meeting space—in all about 9,000 square feet.

The $150,000 would cover a laundry list of repairs, including putting chillers in working order and opening three large windows blocked by drywall and masonry, plus a year of cleaning and maintenance.

Thies is still trying to line up a grant that would cover the cost of updating Marion County’s comprehensive plan, which dates to 2004. He anticipates that two or three city planners, plus graduate student assistants, would be stationed at Old City Hall, which would also receive “thousands” of involved citizens over the course of the year.

On Wednesday, Thies announced that he’d hired Brad Beaubien, director of the Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning Indianapolis Center, as the city’s new planning administrator. With the upcoming retirement of longtime administrator Mike Peoni, Thies is splitting the position in two. Former DMD chief Maury Plambeck will oversee zoning, while Beaubien focuses on planning.  

Historic preservation experts will gather in Old City Hall for a design charrette during the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference, to be held in Indianapolis Oct. 29 to Nov. 2. They plan to brainstorm new uses for the historic structure.

Thies said those efforts are welcome, but considering that it would take millions in upgrades to find a permanent reuse for the building, he thinks his is a good interim plan. He hopes that having the building open and occupied will help market it to a long-term user.

The building was designed by local architectural firm Rubush and Hunter, responsible for many landmark structures in downtown Indianapolis in the early 20th century. Its cornerstone was laid on July 27, 1909, according to "The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis." The building opened in December 1910.

City and county offices consolidated in 1962 in the new City-County Building at 200 E. Washington St. In 1966, the old City Hall began a decades-long stint as the Indiana State Museum.


  • Great building, let's hope it goes to good use
    I walked by this building almost everyday on the way to work for about 2 years and it blows my mind the city, state, or somebody has not done something with it. It is a great building with great architecture and obviously great location.
  • War Monument
    Lord know we don't have enough of them.
  • Excellent News
    An open planning facility is an excellent interim use! Please don't allow the Building Authority and Homeland Security to screw it up with the security shake down! Hope the MDC gives Adam the money, sure better to have a clean and occupied landmark than a vacant unmaintained landmark.
  • Strip club
    I think this place would make for a really historic and unique strip club. Most of the windows are already boarded up, and the architecture is stunning. Plus, there are hardly any strip clubs in this neighborhood, so I really think it could be an economic boon for the area.
  • Museum
    We need more draws to the city that visitors can enjoy. Would like to see this as a modern museum of sorts to contrast the war museum that is across the street.
  • Make Notice
    Great building. A major component of Indianapolis' history. Even a temporary interim basis allows the City to showcase the facility. Still think it ought to house the Mayor's Office and serve as ceremonial inspiration to City-County government.
  • hate to see it vacant
    It is one of the first places I visited when I moved to Indy as a child. It is a beautiful place and needs to be utilized.
  • IMA
    I agree with Greg, I think that they should build a modern extension above the building and turn it into a branch of the IMA.
  • Just a Thought!
    Turn this into a 21c and make the existing structure into a modern museum along with some sort of eatery, then use the parking lot North of it to build the hotel portion of it. It would go perfect with Mass Ave just a couple of blocks up.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

    2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

    3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

    4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

    5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.