Capitol Ave. projects could transform downtown area

August 22, 2013
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Redevelopment of a long-abandoned historic building on North Capitol Avenue downtown is beginning to take shape as workers install the large windows that will line the four-story structure’s exterior.

litho building 225pxWhat’s significant about the installation is that workers first needed to remove concrete blocks that had sealed shut the massive window openings. When finished, the 105-year-old building will feature 150 industrial-designed windows to help restore its original look.

The former Litho Press building (top right) is receiving a $16 million rehab from local developers The Whitsett Group and Ambrose Property Group. The project, known simply as 800 North Capitol Apartments, should be completed by the end of the year and will include 111 units.

Perhaps even more significant is that the redevelopment is just one of several projects that could help transform a three-block stretch of North Capitol.

Across the street, buyers of the ill-fated Di Rimini apartment project could present plans to salvage the building to city officials within the next few weeks, co-owner Mike Cunningham said. City officials halted Di Rimini three years ago because of numerous code violations.

Cunningham, a local restaurateur, and contractor Patrick Heitz purchased the vacant 31-unit complex at 733 N. Capitol Ave. in late March from Louisville-based Stock Yards Bank & Trust for $700,000. The bank took ownership of the building last year after foreclosing on a $2.8 million loan to the original developer.

rowland building 225pxAt 720 N. Capitol Ave., a second story is being added to a building (right) that will be occupied by Rowland Design Inc. The local design firm plans to move from its current digs in Lockerbie Square at 701 E. New York St. in October to the building on North Capitol, where it will take the entire 11,200 square feet.

Loftus Robinson Development purchased the building, which formerly housed an ADT call center, in March.

And farther north, at 922 N. Capitol Ave., the longtime owners of Capitol Clutch are retiring and selling their building through a sealed-bid process with a deadline of Sept. 10.

The ugly, one-story metal building has sparked a lot of curiosity, said Ray Simons, a Cassidy Turley broker with the listing.

“The reason they chose an auction is because over the years they’ve had multiple parties that have expressed their interest,” he said. “We all decided what better way to maximize the value of the property than to create a competitive environment for bidding.”

  • 800 Capitol
    The restoration of the 800 Capitol building has been a pleasure to watch on my daily drive into downtown. Is there a new tenant(s) in place?
    • Joe...
      ... the 800 Capitol project will have many tenants... it is an apartment building. And yes, it is very nice to see it progress. I absolutely LOVE those windows! This place is going to have some amazing views of downtown from the upper floors. How tall are the ceilings in this building? The windows look to be nearly floor to ceiling and at least 12' tall.
    • Capitol
      10' tall windows, 13' ceilings that will mostly remain exposed
    • Whitsett Group
      Everything Whitsett is evolved in is a class development! We need more developer's with their vision.
    • Tinted Windows
      I was very sad to see the dark tinting on the windows! This is an design decision that distracts from an otherwise wonderful project.
    • Window Tint
      The window tint was based more on HVAC requirements than a design decision.
    • Tinted Windows
      Unlike Matt, I LOVE the tinted glass and black frames of the windows. Not only do I find them extremely attractive, they will help tremendously with utility costs.
    • 800 Capitol Building
      Drove by the 800 Capitol building last night. It looks great. Always thought this was an amazing building and so glad to see Whitsett doing a quality job on the exterior. Will be interesting to see how they are finished inside.
    • One ways
      This area (along with Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) will not have the development that are capable of until they switch those streets from one way pairs to two way streets. I bike my girls to school near those streets and cars easily hit 50 mph regularly. Due to the timed lights, the cars also travel in packs so it is very loud. Some major traffic calming is in order before that area truly becomes revitalized.
      • Couldn't Agree More
        1 way roads are a thing of the past and Indy needs to get with the times.
        • Weird
          You mean changing out our 1 ways for a sense of community? What a novel idea!!! I would never want to build or live on Central because of the one way nature. Can't wait until the city places more emphasis on community development over vehicular accessibility. Glad to see a few segments changing already!
        • Residents > commuters
          Agreed about the need to switch back to two-way streets. These high-speed one-ways prioritize distant suburban commuters at the cost of local quality-of-life and local property values.
        • Tenant question
          I believe an earlier article in this blog mentioned that the 800 Capitol project was going to be a mixed-income or something similar, but not low-income like Barton Towers.
        • One Way = Wrong Way
          If the city really wants to see Capitol Ave take off they need to change it from a one way street. Downtown Indy has made cars happy for the past four decades. Going forward we should be looking for ways to make people happy.
        • One Ways
          It is interesting that many of downtown's one ways - Delaware, Capitol, Illinois - were put in place to handle state and national highways that came thru the city - like SR 37, US 31, and US 36. Within the last decade, the state redirected all highways to go around 465 so that gave the city back the ability to turn them back to two-way streets. Look for more and more two-way streets.

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        1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

        2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

        3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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