Bank taking advantage of billboard downtown location

October 2, 2012
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MainSource Bank IndianapolisLooks like Greensburg-based MainSource Bank intends to capitalize on its new high-profile downtown branch location. MainSource Bank IndianapolisThe bank is set to open within the next few weeks in part of the former home of Borders. Already, the MainSource name appears on nine awning signs along Meridian and Washington streets and on a large vertical corner sign. MainSource plans to operate a full-service retail bank branch in a 4,000-square-foot space on the first floor and a commercial banking and financial advising operation in 5,500 square feet on the second floor. The space has been vacant since early 2011, when the book retailer Borders Group Inc. closed the store as it went through bankruptcy. An earlier story is here. Savvy branding or sign pollution?

UPDATE: The city's planning department approved six awning signs for MainSource, not the nine signs the bank has installed, according to the approval document. Senior Planner Jeff York said he asked the bank to resubmit updated plans that reflect all of the signs. He noted the signage is not unusual for downtown, pointing to the National Bank of Indianapolis awning signs at the northeast corner of Market and Pennsyvania streets.

Second tenant for Borders space is unlikely

The law firm Barnes & Thornburg, which owns and has its headquarters in the building, has not signed a tenant for the remainder of the 22,000-square-foot Borders space. Real estate industry sources say Barnes & Thornburg has decided against filling the space with a restaurant or other outside user. Instead, plans call for a new upscale lobby for the high-powered law firm.

(IBJ photos: Cory Schouten)

  • Downtown space
    Cory - Any update on the former Nordstrom's space?
  • Waaay over the top
    The first time I saw the signs, I thought they were construction materials, like the removable signs on new windows from Pella, or building wrap like Pulte or Tyvek.. In other words, temporary advertising that would be covered up as construction finished up. When I looked closer and saw that they were permanent.. I was pretty close to stunned. It's just waaay too much. I'm surprised that this passed DOCE regulations.. So, how is this permissible while area coffee shops aren't allowed to have simple sandwich boards outside their front doors? It just doesn't make sense.
  • What's going on in the OTB space?
    Cory, The OTB location on Pennsylvania just north of Washington has dismantled their attempt at an upscale restaurant. I'm wondering what plans they have for the space. Did they find there weren't enough smokers to make that restaurant viable?
  • Absolute Visual Pollution
    From someone who works in the marketing industry and with branding companies this exterior looks obviously excessive if not desperate. It is disappoint to see such visual clutter taking away from the inherent beauty of the building architecture. It is obvious whoever designed this signage didn't pass Graphic Design 101. This will stand as another prime example of contentment with mediocrity in Indianapolis.
  • new restaurants at 10th/Indiana/University
    Hey, wondering if you have already shared/posted about all the new restaurants over near IUPUI--Einstein Bros and Delhi Palace have both opened (I think)--in the old Au Bon Pain area? Yats is coming in the stretch along 10th--Moe's, Stacked Pickle, Which Wich are there, & maybe another restaurant coming soon? Providing a lot more options in that part of town. Great blog, btw.
  • Regional Center?
    Doesn't this fall within the regional center boundaries? As such, they'd have had to get a COA to be allowed to do this.
  • City Inconsistency
    I can not believe this was allowed. This clutter has destroyed the beautiful street level historic facade. Why does the City keep allowing this? There are so inconsistent in their approval process. Are we that desperate. The blue color is horrible against the dark green trim.
  • Ridiculous violation
    Where to start?... The thing that contains the sign isn't even an awning. It's a vertical piece of material above the awning. Why does this matter? Because the Sign Ordinance only allows the sign area to cover 45% of the awning area [Sec 734-400(a)(4)], so if they put the sign copy on the actual awning, they'd need a variance. The Sign Ordinance also only allows one building identification sign per tenant per building facade in the CBD [734-305(b)(1)b.] With the projecting sign on the corner visible from both streets, this equals five signs on one facade and six on the other. Personally, I might not object to a high-quality awning sign that doesn't significantly detract from the building's architectural details, but these are completely tacky and overbearing, and appear to cover up historic facade details that should be visible. If the City has approved this, or six of these nine "awnings", well...
  • affirmed again
    Just more proof that the our city affirms "OKAY with UGLY". When will we start passing out bumper stickers emblazoned with our obvious mantra promoting the lackluster and frequently outright awful aestheric acceptable to most Hoosiers.
  • Boo hiss to B&T.
    I can't believe no one else has commented on Barnes and Thornburg's lackluster decision. That beautiful space would have been wonderful for a restaurant, retail...whatever. And now they have to make it a shrine to themselves--shame on them. It also seems foolish from a property management standpoint, since they're missing out on a chance for leasing revenue. Do they really think a grandiose lobby that they have to maintain will generate that much more revenue for them?
  • Borders was the same
    I can't say that I like the way this looks -- in fact, I'd agree that it's pretty hideous -- but someone needs to point out that Borders had exactly the same kind of signage and awnings (they actually had more of them because the used the entire first floor). Theirs were just black and said "BOOKS MUSIC MOVIES CAFE" instead of being a corporate logo. Go check out google streetview if you don't remember.
  • Barnes mismanaged
    This is further evidence of the mismanagement of Barnes & Thornburg. They don't belong in the landlord business, yet here they are. Why don't you guys go acquire a few more Los Angeles partners, since the West coast clients are dying to hire Indiana firms.
  • I'm not surprised...
    This is EXACTLY the type of mentality that does not cease to amaze me anymore. What is it with the city/officials allowing such atrocious, boring, bland, uncreative, flat, stupid, embarrassing, and ridiculous ideas to happen? The majority of new plans for buildings, architecture, exterior design in public areas, ESPECIALLY in downtown continue to show the lack of progressive and creative thinking Indy currently holds. There is NO sign of improvement whatsoever. As a former lover of Indy, I now have the confidence to flat out laugh about Indy's attempt at being 'world-class' anymore. Sickening and stupid... actually...
    • Dustin
      To echo your words: "Yes, you are!"
    • Good point CorrND
      I'm glad you pointed out that these signs are almost identical in form to Borders. I think these look much less attractive than did the Borders signs though, probably both because of the use of the colors and the logo. I would guess that the City probably took the position of thinking that they should let MainSource do something similar to what Borders got away with, regardless of whether it "uglifies" the building. But it doesn't meet the ordinance, and the City ought to be able to understand their own rules and be willing to actually enforce them; otherwise, why have an ordinance?
    • Amateurish
      There is something to be said for repetition -- but not in this case. The logo looks a bit busy, but that's a graphics issue. I do agree with the others that the tenant is pushing the boundary a little too hard. Speaking from experience, the city may allow minor transgressions when they can be justified or mitigated by other factors (like superior architecture or the presence of a national bookstore on a busy street corner). I see no mitigating factors here, other than the fact that the storefront won't be dark anymore, and that's no longer a good enough reason for a downtown as nice as ours.
      What do you get when you combine: banks, lawyers and city officials who spend their day justifying their jobs? Exactly
    • Window graphics
      Just an FYI, all of the window graphics have been removed. Not sure if they plan to reinstall them or not.

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