Law firm taking former Borders coffee shop space

June 19, 2013
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Barnes Thornburg
                              lobby 225pxDon’t look for another retailer to take the space on South Meridian Street formerly occupied by the Borders coffee shop. Greensburg-based MainSource opened a full-service bank branch last October in part of the Borders space located at the high-profile intersection of Washington and Meridian streets. But the south end of the building has remained vacant. Building owner Barnes & Thornburg LLP entertained several proposals from various restaurants interested in the 12,000-square-foot space—none of which were “very high-end”—before choosing to renovate it for the firm’s use, the firm’s executive director, Kenneth V. Kobe, said. “Nothing made sense,” he said of the offers. “We wanted someone with some staying power, so we started thinking about it for our own interests.” Work has begun to move the firm’s reception area from the fifth floor to the ground level. Conference space will be available on the first and second floors of the reception area, enabling the firm to free up space on the fifth floor for additional office use. The firm plans to renovate the ground-level space by incorporating certain aspects of the 16-story building’s rich history. It was built in 1908 and served for decades as the headquarters of the former Merchants National Bank. The teller cages, for example, remain intact and highly visible. Kobe hopes the renovation will be finished by November. He declined to divulge the firm’s investment in the project, only to say that it’s “significant.” The architect on the project is Schmidt Associates.

  • Yawwwnnnnnn
    Great use of high-profile property. /sarcasm
    • Perfect Use
      This is the perfect use for this space. As soon as Borders vacated the space, the first thing that came to my mind was a formal/official lobby for B&T. They will do this right...and I guarantee the renovation will look very nice from the sidewalk (unlike the Mainsource monstrosity next door).
    • Old News
      We've known for quite some time that this was the plan... too bad they weren't able to bring in another retail use.
    • I Liked it when
      I really liked it better when the space was J. Peterman's!
    • Makes Sense
      Yes, BTLAW, my gosh, how dare someone actually use a historic office building as an office building--sarcasm right back at you.
    • Wow
      B&T certainly has enough of our taxpayer dollars to do this thanks to Mayor Ballard. Given the firm's exceedingly poor reputation in the legal community, the basement would seem a better option.
    • Todd--more sarcasm?
      This is a colossal disappointment. But not a surprise in the least. Why did the potential restaurant use have to be high-end? This gives South Meridian the same profile as a huge portion of Mass Ave--accounting/engineering/law firms that don't need the storefront space for their profitability, but can take advantage of it because Indy has a surplus of retail real estate and a paucity of pedestrians. Rather than keeping this as revenue-generating space for B&T, it sounds like it's going to become glorified Common Area and will more or less go completely dark after 5pm on weekdays and all the time on weekends. What a waste.
      • A Nice Lobby Is Better Than A Low-End Chain
        American Dirt this is private property that historically has been used as office space. There is no obligation, legal, moral, or otherwise to provide "activity" just to promote some New Urbanist dream. You acknowledge that Indianapolis has an excessive amount of retail and commercial space, and then whine that yet more was not added downtown. The market decides whether more retail or restaurant space is needed, and private property owners decide what type of tenants they want in their buildings. Why would yet another low-end chain restaurant or fast-food space be preferable to a nice building lobby? After pouring billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies into its downtown over the past 30 years, is Indianapolis still so desperate for "activity" after 5 PM that it needs to support just any use of property downtown so long as it generates "activity?" Already, many visitors to downtown complain about the excessive amount of chain restaurants and lack of character downtown, so why add yet another boring chain? Barnes and Thornburg made the right move. It is their building and their reputation they should be concerned about, not about providing "activity." Since they could not find an acceptable tenant, they made the right decision to turn the old Border's space into a nice lobby that upholds the decorum of this elegant historic building.

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      1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

      2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

      3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

      4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

      5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim