Outlook grim for Venu

March 13, 2008
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Venu RenderingPlenty of people are holding out hope that Premier Properties USA Inc. can pull off its ambitious, $750-million Venu project at the southwest corner of 86th Street and Keystone Avenue. But the odds aren't looking good. The company is facing an $80 million foreclosure on an Ohio mall, a $10 million foreclosure on a Plainfield property and more than a dozen liens and lawsuits. And that's not all: Records show the company hasn't paid many of its bills relating to Venu, and for its own headquarters in Woodfield Crossing. California-based The Jerde Partnership, the lead designer on Venu, has filed a lien for $437,000. And locally based Schneider Corp. has filed liens for about $70,000 in unpaid surveying work. Premier also owes millions for the buildout of its new headquarters. Locally based Charles C. Brandt Construction Co. has filed a lien for $2.2 million, and locally based Barth Electric is seeking $172,000. Read more here.
  • Stick a fork in it, Venu is DEAD.
  • You can add that 'alley thwarted' hi-rise next to Lucas, Ralston, So-Do (so stupid), that 18 story hotel at the old Grain Dealers and maybe even the JW. I'll be surprised if that 16-story apt building goes up on time next to IUPUI. Like I've repeated time and time again; Between the anal retentive review and disapprove councils/committees that thrive in this regressive, crooked culture combined with light in the wallet developers it's a wonder anything is actually built! If CCMall is able to find someone to move into the thrice vacated department store's 1st floor at Illinoi and Meridian it'll be a miracle. You people even got excited over that young architect's twisted skyscraper. Oh--I knew that was a go from the beginning. Ha ha ha ha !!!!!
  • Gerorge, don't forget about Penn Centre. The delays are just delaying the inevitable.
  • My you people are pessemistic! The JW dead?!? Not likely! There are plenty of propsed projects that WILL happen and ARE moving ahead..... It is perfectly normal that many proposed projects will never come to fruition, that is the reality of development.

    As for the excitment over the twisted skyscraper, you must have been reading another blog george because the one I read, while filled with curiosity and praise of that young mans ambition, was tempered with an overwhelming view of reality. I'm pretty sure that very few people on here actually expected that one to be built.
  • Venu is in a whole different financial situation than any other of the developments you mentioned, georgeorwell.

    There's a difference between a tight market and digging yourself into a deep hole. I don't think Premier would have made this work in the best of scenarios, as it doesn't sound like they know how to manage money at all.

    We've got plenty of evidence downtown showing that many of the projects you mentioned (Ralston Square, Paramount Towers, SODO) have a chance: The Cosmopolitan, Landmark of Lockerbie, The Maxwell, 3Mass, and 707 North East St. are all under construction. I don't know about you, but I see several cranes downtown.

    Real players are doing just fine. They don't bite off more than they can chew, and the certainly don't rob Peter to pay Paul, over and over again.
  • Another local developer is in trobule as well. Lauth is letting another 70 people go this week (the let 80 go in January). They're trying to keep this round of layoffs quiet so they don't get anymore bad publicity. It's a tough economy for developers.
  • George Orwell - commenting on your perceptions is fine, but opening your pie hole about issues you are not in the know about is another matter. Keep it to your perceptions or reactions in the future if you don't mind. And, if possible, try to find at least a little positive in what matters are being done for our city by people that really can make a difference - the developers. More power to them.
  • Hate to interrupt this but I haven't posted in this thread.
    I have no clue who that person is just FYI. The Helen that has posted is not me. Either someone has the same name as I or its a copy-cat trying to make me look bad or something.
  • InTrouble, the news about Lauth is very surprising!
  • Attention everyone, this is the real Helen. I will now be posting as Unionstation13 because of the copy cat.
  • So many pessimists on here. The trouble with Venu was pretty expected. JW will definately be built. It sounds as if Alexander's Merrill Tower will be built. Penn Centre is on track to be built, even if delayed. Ralston Square is on track to break ground this year as well. It's hard to say about SoDo, but you can't just dismiss all these projects unless you've heard concrete news that they will not be built.
  • Honestly, people... Do you think committees or councils have anything to do with these projects not going forward? Have you taken a look around you at the economy? It's going in the toilet if you haven't noticed and we haven't even started to see how bad it's really going to get.
  • Man...I wanted soo badly for this development to happen. It would have completely changed the face of architecture in this city...and you want to know one of the reasons why...Premier was working with an innovative firm with a good reputation nationally (not from Indy). The way they were preaching LEED and the way it dealt with parking, etc. was just the right type of design and something Indianapolis desperately needs. I have more hope for SoDo, but I wish we could take the Venu design and transport it to the SoDo site. They were proposing much more innovative things at Venu that SoDo is. One example...how to deal with parking. Venu proposed buring it and placing green space on top of it...SoDo does a decent job with the parking, but definitely not as well done. Oh well...I won't completely give up yet.
  • While the economy is certainly slowing, lets take a couple breaths before declaring it going down the toilet. In the over-hyped, over-analyzed time of 24/7 news, everyone jumps to conclusions & wants to get face time by predicting things. By definition, it'll be a recession when the GDP shrinks for 2 straight quarters, but as for now its just growing slowly. Is the economy worse than 2 years ago? Sure, but an ecomony based on zero-down mortgages and interest-only payments isn't all that great, either.
  • I just want to say that I think the economy is being over-emphasized here. While I do not disagree that it is bleak and could be worsening, I think the ultimate culprit is the fiscal misgivings of the company. The economic downturn might have been the tipping point, but I don't think it was the substantive cause.

    Sad to see the bad news. I live and work in downtown and was still really excited about this project. I also wish SoDo would take a note from Venu's design and planning b/c it would really make that an awesome project.

    As for Merrill Tower, I hope it does get built, but I am really not sure about the likeliness of this getting built. I am just not sure if this unproven development venture can get $67 Million in financing, especially in this economy.
  • Face it Indianapolis, there is only one retail development company in Indianapolis that can get a project like the Venu built and that is Simon Property Group. The Venu was never going to be built unless Simon got involved. You can take that to the bank.
  • If it weren't for Premier Properties Cory wouldn't have much to write about! Isn't this like the third story this week? Maybe he has something personal against them. The way that he published an inter-office, confidential email still irritates me. Doesn't give you much creditability in writing about underhanded business practices!

    JW Marriot and Penn Centre are both moving forward, by the way.
  • So, Helen, the first post didn't even sound like you!

    Venu sounded fabulous, especially with its LEED impact. Premier Properties got off to an impressive start with the Metropolis, but when I realized that Chris White was the same dirt-bag that left a lot of people holding the bag twenty years ago when he and his brother scammed folks with his exercise center in Castleton, well, the handwriting was on the wall for me. That's the day I knew that Venu was a pipe dream and Mr. White would never have the financial stamina to pull it off.
    Not to mention his spending habits. Sounded like was living better than Paul Kite.
  • Cranky, you hit the nail on the head. You never hear about Simon not paying their bills or being sued by their contractors. A project like Venu needs a developer like Simon who can leverage national tenants who want to be at projects like the Forum Shops in Vegas or Copley Place in Boston. What can Premier Properties offer national tenants?? A location in Planfield.
  • This seems to be a mean spirited attack on Premier and Chris White. There are tons of people in this town that have had economic trouble. Why does the IBJ think the inner worksings of one person and company should be broadcast to the world. This almost seems like an orchestrated attack by Someone via the IBJ against Premier in an effort to slam Venue... hmmmmm? I would not appreciate my issues being repeatedly reported to the whole city. We get it IBJ, Premier is having trouble, enough said.
  • I do have to somewhat agree with juanitodelfuego. IBJ does seem to have it out for Premier and Venu. I'm not really sure why you would seemingly help to destroy a project unparalleled in this city. This would probably be the best development the city has ever seen. You would think that the IBJ would try and give the project more support.
  • I don't really see how the IBJ has it out for Premier and Venu. Sure, there have been a number of stories and posts about the company (including its head) and the project, but that is to be expected b/c this is a huge and possibly ground breaking project and the company and whether it survives or folds is certainly news. I don't see any real bais towards either.

    Cory, you rock. Keep up the good work.
  • It is not the IBJ's job to be a cheerleader and say rah rah rah gooooooooo Premier! They are a reputable paper who MUST report on these types of things. Like the poster said above me, keep up the great work Cory.
  • The real unionstation13? Clever. If you are the real 'unionstation13' then what part of this city do I live in? Honestly I don't know what your motivation is in being a copy-cat as I have little influence here.
    Anyone who reads my posts can honestly tell the difference.
  • Look, folks, clearly this guy was funding an extravagant lifestyle on the backs of subcontractors while playing shell games with them. Did you read the stories? Come on...a 737 business jet?

    It's one thing if your last name is Simon or Eskenazi and you've built a successful company and created huge equity and given a lot of money away to schools and hospitals. People respect that level of achievement, and I don't begrudge them their luxuries.

    A house of cards built on fast talk and outright deception is something else, and it's pretty clear which we're looking at here. When you take a risk and lose, there comes a point where it's necessary to face your losses squarely and deal with them instead of stringing people along.
  • Its sad to see the project go but I never understood the motivation of building something there. The view is basically suburbia and just outside that area of highrises is suburban sprawl.
  • I'm pretty sure the intent of Venu was density and not the view. It's an extremely high trafficked intersection and area. As one of the previous article's mentioned, it's probably one of the best real estate locations in the state. Someone will swoop in and buy up that land very quickly.
  • I still think they should build the Carson Pririe Scott they talked about putting there. It would make an excellent location since Simon didn't want them at the Fashion Mall.
  • This is too bad! Indianapolis is ready for an ambitious project of this scope in the 'burbs! I for one hope that the developer decides to sell their idea to someone that can make it happen. This would have been a tremendous compliment to the Fasion Mall, creating a Lennox/Phipps like shoppping mecca.

    I hope that a developer sees that highrise living is the next step in this area. Why a condo/apartment tower has not been proposed for Keystone at the Crossing is beyond me.
  • No one seems to understand that there is NO way in Hell that Simon is going to allow a retail project to be built across the street from their number one asset in the state of Indiana. If the Venu is ever built, you can bet that Simon will be a partner in the project.
  • Economic ups and downs are part of investing and development. Why are so many businesses so tied to a dip in the real estate and economic markets? Yeah, we hit a down turn, did you think it was going to just continue to get better and better forever?

    Every solid project should focus on a 20-30 year window, not a few quarters or a couple years. I understand Chris White is in hot water, but is every project so fragile in its design/investment phase that it gets tossed in the trash when we have a minor correction?
  • Coryw I assume you are talking about that nice area in Atlanta where the two malls compliment each other. That would be nice and the idea of a highrise/apt tower would work also.
  • It was mentioned before...that the developer for Paramount Towers cannot even pay their bills for Gateway Crossing....a $1,000,000...let alone a $40,000,000 project......

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