Updated renderings: $25M Millikan on Mass project

June 24, 2014
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Milliken Phase 2
                              No. 1 225pxDevelopers on Tuesday are set to break ground on the second phase of a $25.4 million mixed-use project bounding Massachusetts Avenue and Michigan Street.

Insight Development Corp., the development arm of the Indianapolis Housing Agency, is constructing the five-story Millikan on Mass in two phases across from the Athenaeum on ground near Barton Tower Apartments.

Milliken Phase 2
                              No. 2 225 pxThe larger $13.9 million second phase calls for 64 market-rate apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space that will line Massachusetts Avenue and East Michigan Street across the street from the Athenaeum.
The $11.5 million first phase includes 61 affordable units along East Street that are fully leased and 4,000 square feet of retail that’s occupied by the Nine Irish Brothers restaurant. It opened Friday.

Milliken Phase 2
                              No. 3 225 pxMillikan on Mass is named after an apartment building that once stood on the site. The 21-story, 246-unit Barton Tower was built in 1967. The Indianapolis Housing Agency completed $8 million in improvements to the building, including new mechanical systems and cosmetic upgrades.

The architect for Millikan on Mass is Ratio Architects.


  • Thank goodness
    I was afraid the project was already done, because all the work crews have left. It looks half-finished and completely stupid as it is now. Ideally the whole block would be razed, because no matter what you do the Barton Tower looks terrible and out of place, but I guess this is better than the half-finished job now.
  • Still confused
    I agree with the previous comment that Barton should have been knocked down. It didn't fit the area nor did I hear it was in great shape on the inside. I also still can't figure out who would want one of the apts facing the interior of this new complex. Wake up and look out the window at Barton Towers and some of the questionable characters that are in this building. I really do hope they full lease the place, but I think it will be a tough sell.
  • Ummm...
    Ben, the first phase IS fully leased. What, exactly, makes you think it will be any different for the second phase?
    • At one point a developer wanted to buy Barton and turn it into a more upscale market rate complex. The views from inside the building are incredible. The concrete building is sound, but it would have been gutted and completely redone. That was shot down because well meaning activists were aghast that the City would take away the residents homes that some had known for 20 years and force them to go to other areas. I never understood how living in subsidized apartments gave you any more rights then any other tennant.
    • @Marshall
      Because the first phase was all government subsidized housing, and the second phase people will actually be expected to pay for.
      • Parking Issues Resolved?
        I thought the delay in completing the building was parking for the market-rate portion of the building. Have they solved the parking issue? The Athenaeum didn't get approval for their parking garage, and the Fire Department project across the street is still in limbo. How is this getting completed?
      • parking
        According to Bruce Baird at Insight, it has secured parking for residents in nearby surface lots, negating the need to build a parking garage.
      • Balconies
        I hope there are rules that are set to prevent people from putting flags, xmas lights and etc. on the balconies. The already completed balconies look horrible with flags and such hanging off of them. Makes the building look like garbage in my opinion.
      • Balcony Trash
        I am so upset with how the balconies were handled. Why incorporate balconies into the design and not regulate what is displayed? I pay a lot of money to live in my home overlooking these affordable apartments in my hood. I don't want to look at their overly decorated balconies. No other building in the area has flags and decorations allowed.
      • Balconies look horrible
        I agree. The balconies look horrible. The pride flag displayed at the intersection of East and Mass Ave is so distracting. I pay top dollar to live in my condo and I do not display flags and signs. Why is an affordable housing apartment allowed to put junk on their balconies in an upscale area?
        • Balconies
          My God, stop complaining about the balconies. Did you purchase the entire block of Mass Ave when you bought your condo? I didn't think so. Mind your own business and realize that being an owner does not mean you dictate everyone elses actions around you. Or just move to a neighborhood with a housing covenant so everything looks the same.
          • Really People?
            Does anyone that comments on this blog understand the importance of diversity? Not just racial, but real economic diversity. Segregating low-income people into areas that are exclusively low-income is exactly the reason that we have all of the crime problems that we do in Marion County. By having Barton Tower in this mostly upscale location, crime is reduced in areas where these low-income residents would otherwise live. All of this happens while there are no real increases in crime on Mass Ave. If you want to live in an exclusively wealthy area with no diversity whatsoever, Carmel and Zionsville are only about 30 minutes away.
            • Balconies
              I completely agree with the other posters. The crap hanging off the balconies looks TERRIBLE! I guess when you build housing for trashy people, that's what comes along with it...
            • Negative Nancies
              The urban aesthetic may be improving downtown, but obviously not the suburban mindset.
            • Balconies
              I think the buildings are a great improvement, but I agree they should not allow things hanging off the balconies. The flags and xmas lights make the building look junky. The businesses in the area cannot hang unapproved signs, so a renter should not be able to fly a flag or sign.
            • Balconies
              I believe there should be a balcony tenant policy that restricts decorations to inside of balcony. No hanging items or items higher than railings. I agree that if businesses need approved signs than balconies can have rules too.
            • Balconies
              Please regulate the balconies!!!!!! Pride week is over.
              • Balcony
                I thought it was Nine Irish Gay Brothers because of the Pride Flag above their front door. If I was a competitor I would pay the tenant just above their door money to hang my sign like a billboard.
              • Balcony policy
                I agree. Please incorporate a tenant policy on putting things on the balconies. It is really distracting from the business on street level. Looks bad.
              • Balcony rules
                I was afraid I was the only one that felt that way about the balconies. I was worried when I saw them in the design, but now the reality of the bad decorations and political statements makes me wish they would not allow things other than furniture on the balconies.
              • Gotta look up more I guess
                I was at 9IB on Sunday and didn't notice any balcony decorations at all. Maybe I was just too focused on getting inside to the A/C and the beer.
              • Oh Please
                You get no more say over my balcony than I get over your yard. If you want control, please move to a subdivision because you don't belong in a downtown. Also, June is Pride MONTH. Just because Circle City IN Pride is over, it doesn't mean someone needs to take their flag down. They can have it up all year if they want to. Further, if the LGBT community hadn't stuck with Mass Ave, you wouldn't have your beautiful product of gentrification condominium. So, get over yourselves...
              • Awful design
                This site deserves amazing architecture. This is not it. Phase 1 is a disaster from an architectural and urban design standpoint. Phase 2 is even more of a travesty, especially the "money shot" corner at Mass and Michigan.
              • Flags
                Rainbow flags are ugly and look cheesy, I wouldn't want them hanging up everywhere. I do understand that where gay people move in money follows, so they are partly responsible for bringing the "hip" factor to Mass Ave., but just because you are gay doesn't mean you have to advertise it on a balcony. Lol
              • Really people
                I have a ministry in downtown Indianapolis and we have provided meals for the low income people who live in Barton towers. Do poor people decorate differently than wealthier people, OF COURSE. They don't have the money for fancy decorations. I can't believe some of the posts that I have read here. I always thought of Indiana people as caring, considerate and loving....wow what a surprise. If you don't want poor people living in your neighborhood, be part of the solution. If you cant offer solutions, then you are part of the problem. Blessings!!
                • Balconies
                  Obviously the tenants don't seem to think what is on the balconies are trashy or unacceptable. What one deems trash another may deem appropriate. Lots of the balconies of Riley Towers have some type of lights displayed on the railings. So someone doesn't want a "rainbow" flag displayed? Does this apply to Purdue, Notre Dame and IU flags? Can a Boilermaker fan tell a Fighting Irish fan to take down their flag because they don't support that team. Living in an urban environment means that we come across all types of lifestyles and we all need to learn to accept and get along together.
                • Article?
                  I forgot there was even an article to read. These comments are HILARIOUS! Ah, Honest-to-Goodness Indiana.
                • Balconies
                  No one is saying that low income people decorate differently. Everyone is saying that most urban buildings with balconies have rules on displaying decor. Whether it is a sports flag or a gay pride flag, they should not be allowed. The businesses that are street level cannot put flags and signs up of whatever they want. Most building require all tenants to have the same color window treatments to unify the look of a building. It is all for the purpose of making a building look clean and uniform. So the nasty people arguing that it is a right to hang a flag are wrong. These are renters in a shared space. If you want to hang a flag then buy a single family house.
                • Balconies
                  Clare, the solution to the problem is to have guidelines. I don't think people are talking about just the low income balconies. The next phase will have market rate balconies. They should all have to follow a tenant policy. It is nice that you feed the poor, but please read what people are saying before responding with comments that do not make sense.
                • poor aren't decorating
                  Poor people live in the Barton tower, which has no balconies, but no poor people live in the new 5-story buildings surrounding it, which do have balconies. So, none of the balcony decorations y'all are seeing are there courtesy poor people.
                • Eh?
                  Did this thread really get hijacked by nosey-parkers trying to regulate what other people keep on their balcony? Valid concerns: Safety (no grills; grills=fires), etc. Invalid concerns: "Your balcony decorations look cheesy!"
                • Balcony
                  Robb, looks like you are out numbered. Mary, your comments don't make sense. The flags look bad if the people are poor or not, and these ARE affordable housing apartments. Flags hanging on railings look horrible. I agree with everyone else. They should be removed. This is a great way to make Mass Ave look junky. I don't understand why people think they have the right to do what they want when they just rent. There are rentals where you are not allowed to paint or have pets. Apartments and condos generally have rules to keep this sort of thing from happening.
                  • Nope
                    Clare, we don't want you in our hood either, lol.
                  • Idea
                    Since there are no rules, If I lived in the apartment just above Nine Irish Bros, I would put up a sign that says "food is better at Chatham Tap" until Nine Irish paid me to take it down and keep it down. Should cover my rent.
                  • I agree
                    The renderings look better than the real thing. I hope they redo the sidewalks around the building. I agree with everyone. The balconies were a bad idea if they are not going to have rules. The flag flying on the top balcony is ridiculous. I can see it from several blocks away. No matter what type of flag it could be, it looks dumpy.
                  • Flags
                    Irvingtonguy, I think everyone is saying that no flags or signs should be displayed period. Not because it is a pride flag. Typical to make it into something it is not.
                    • This is getting out of hand…
                      This thread of comments is precisely why "RULES" were brought about. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone is different, thus, opinions are different. HOAs (Home Owners Associations) exist as cooperative entities that regulate the goingson within that collective locale. Individuals OWN their homes and are yet subject to rules for common living. Renters in any place don't even own their space, so logically there should be rules to govern appearance, cleanliness, behavior, etc. on the exterior and interior common spaces. We need RTAs (Renting Tenants Associations).
                    • Wrong Patty
                      Patty, if you had taken the time to read all the comments..."rainbow/pride" flags are what is mentioned in several posts, including "pride is over, take it down" so I really don't think I was making it into something it is not, more "typical" you are trying to trivialize something.
                    • Stop Telling Other People What To Do With Their Own Balconies
                      This comment thread reminds me of how narrow-minded some people can be. Unless a lease has specific rules about decor, legally a renter is allowed to decorate their own leased property as they please. A leasehold is a property right (check out a property law book from the library if you need to be educated on the matter), and it gives one the right to occupy and enjoy the full use of a property, including decorating it as one sees fit, unless there are contractual restrictions to the contrary. This building has no contractual restrictions on decorating balconies. This is private property, and the owners of the building are free to permit their tenants to decorate as they please. There is nothing "junky" about flags, lights or whatever. But, there is something seriously wrong with this obsession by certain posters with what other people choose to do with their own balconies. If you don't like it, don't look up. Alternatively, pick up and move or don't visit the area anymore if you don't already live there. Most people simply don't care about this issue and they will be happy to live, work and shop in the area--flags or no.
                    • Amazingly Short Memories
                      All the people crying about Mass Ave looking "junky" because of flags (and apparently primarily pride flags, based on the bulk of the comments) should remember their history. Mass Ave WAS junky for a long time, until a few urban pioneers made it into a hotspot for the arts and for LGBT people. Now all the swells show up and start complaining that the people who made Mass Ave into something out of nothing should knock it off and go somewhere else. Perhaps they will, and you can have your market rate apartments/condos and views, and your $15 burgers and $12 cocktails, and we'll go somewhere else and make it fabulous and leave you behind. Progress.
                    • Hmm!
                      Are you prejudiced against poor people who need help with rent? Are you saying that government subsidized housing means people live for free? Are you saying that the rich deserve better housing?
                    • Boring
                      Indy keeps building all of these boring low-rise buildings. Pretty soon, Indy's skyline will be overcrowded with two to five story nothing of buildings. Even the new tower at the former MSA sight was downgraded from 52 stories to 28 boring stories. The mayor called it a bold project. How is it bold when it is not even as tall as the currently standing buildings downtown? The 52-story idea that fell through? Now that would have been bold!
                    • Why the delay in Phase 2
                      Just curious - why is phase 2 ground breaking delayed? It was supposed to be July 24th

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