Developer of Star building dubs project Pulliam Square

May 15, 2013
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Pulliam Square
                              rendering 225pxThe buyer of the Indianapolis Star building has tapped into the newspaper’s rich history by naming a mixed-use development to be built on the property Pulliam Square. The Whitsett Group on Monday finalized its purchase of the 190,000-square-foot building at 307 N. Pennsylvania St. and its 500-space parking garage with the Star’s parent company, Virginia-based Gannett Co. Terms of the deal, which IBJ reported in its May 13 issue, were not disclosed. Eugene C. Pulliam bought the newspaper in 1944, and the Pulliam family led it for more than 50 years before shareholders sold to Gannett in 2000. Whitsett’s plans call for up to 500 apartments in three buildings and a bit of retail space that might attract a bank branch or restaurant, developer Joe Whitsett told IBJ. A new structure would be built near the parking garage at the corner of Delaware and New York streets. The Star building actually is four different buildings made to look like one with the addition of a brick façade. Part of the southern portion of the building is the only piece slated for demolition. Whitsett does not plan to keep the building’s brick façade. The company already is familiar with the area. It’s teaming with Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group to rehab the neighboring American Building at 333 N. Pennsylvania St. into 72 apartment units. Construction of Pulliam Square likely won’t begin until at least mid-2014 as the Star searches for a smaller, leased space downtown. Real estate brokers say the newspaper is considering a few options: Artistry, the redeveloped former Bank One Operations Center by Milhaus Development.; CityWay by Buckingham Cos.; Regions Tower; and BMO Plaza. The architect for Pulliam Square is Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects.

  • Partial demolition?
    From all the renderings, it appears that the developer is proposing removing at least a portion of the tallest section of the existing building. I believe the current building is either 7 or 8 stories at its tallest point, but the renderings show a building height of 5 stories. Do you think they would really remove a few of the upper floors? Has anyone else noticed this? I would be disappointed if that were part of the proposal....
    • Height
      The SW portion is currently 6 stories tall. The middle portion is 4 stories.
    • Moving?
      Is it true that The Star will be moving to a new building currently being constructed on the East side of downtown?
    • Building Name
      Good name. It could have been worst. A lot worst, like Gannett Gardens or Star Plaza. On the illustration, why do they always show the buildings leaning back?
    • Mike
      They're not leaning back, it's called perspective. :-)
    • Why no retail??
      This project should be rejected without more space for possible retail or the ability to turn first floor space into retail.
    • location of rendering
      Based on the rendering, and what appears to be the existing parking garage in the background on the right, my would guess this is the corner of New York and Delaware. If that is the case, the rendering is of the new building Whitsett is putting on the vacant lot south of the parking garage (no ripping off of floors to the existing building on Penn if this is the case). Scott, can you provide any information on the location of the rendering?
    • Correction
      I think you meant Bank One Operations Center by Milhaus Development, Not Buckingham. And BMO Plaza, not BNO plaza
    • Project
      This rendering is the new section that will be built at Delaware and New York. It will be 5 stories but if you look at full renderings (IndyStar) of the remodeled section on Penn, they do retain the higher floors and even build up some of the lower sections so they have matching elevations. I wish the project had more retail too but I think too many developers have been left with excess retail space so right now ground floors will be used more for amentities like apt offices and workout rooms until retail demand picks up in this area (which my guess is will happen shortly with all the apts going up). The good news is that it isn't too difficult to convert to retail if needed as long as you keep the floor plans versatile. Scott O. a couple of things to check on this story. Other posts have noted that construction on this new section could begin as early as September 2013 but renovation to the existing structure is what will not move forward until mid 2014. You also have at the end of your story that Artistry is a Buckingham project when it is actually Milhaus. I think what you meant to say is they are consindering Artisty by Milhaus and City Way by Buckingham. I've heard both are still under consideration in addition to Region Tower and BMO for the new IndyStar home.
    • rendering
      Thanks Kenneth for your insight into the rendering. The error at the end of the blog has been corrected.
      • Project
        Thanks Scott! Appreciate all of your hard work and great project updates on this blog.
      • Pay Attention
        Pay attention. Check his track record. Talk to people who have seen the actions first hand. Pay attention.
      • "Leaning"
        I'm with Mike on this one. All the vertical lines should still be vertical, not slanting. Quality rendering, regardless.
      • taller always better.
        would be nicer if it was taller, like 15 to 21 stories.

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      Sponsored by
      1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

      2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

      3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

      4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

      5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.