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. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

        2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

        3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

        4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

        5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.