Developer plans expansion of Riley Towers apartments

January 12, 2010
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The owner of downtown's Riley Towers apartments is working on plans for a 5-story expansion at 225 E. North St. that would add 54 apartment units and more than 4,000 square feet of retail space. Barrett & Stokely Inc., which bought the 525-unit Riley Towers in 1993, wants to include street-level retail along North Street with the rest of the first floor and all of the second housing 79 parking spaces. The third through fifth floors would house a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments with balconies. The new building would be across the street from a portion of the Cultural Trail. The project is being designed by Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects. Riley Towers, which includes two 30-story towers and a 16-story building, is about 90 percent occupied. You can check out a PDF with maps and elevations here. More details are here.

  • Ambition?
    This seems pretty small potatoes compared to their other buildings. I suppose it is the highest they can go without losing one of the best assets of the South Tower, which are the downtown views. The only bright side is more retail...
  • Surface Lot
    At least they're taking over a surface parking lot. The design is typical of many new downtown apartment buildings, nothing exciting.
  • Development along Cultural Trail
    As someone on said, imagine this, the Cultural Trail generating new development. Wonder if WTHR will cover this
  • The better story..
    The better story within this story is the 3rd to last paragraph. Can you imagine sometime in the late 60's if the planned development would have gone through. We would have 10!!!!!! 30-story Riley Towers. Talk about urban density. They should have done it.

    You should find the elevations for that when proposed in the 60's! Cool.
  • 10? No thanks.
    I would not want to look at 10 Riley Towers. I hardly can take looking at 2 and a half. It would however be nice if we didn't have to still call Riley Towers the largest residential building in the state after 40 years.
  • Yucky
    This continues the ugly legacy of Riley Towers. Blah!
  • Whatever
    Brandon and Maria - for those of us who have lived in Indianapolis our entire lives, the Riley Towers are a significant part of downtown. Please don't make flippant remarks. They may not be the crown jewel of downtown living, but complaining doesn't help anything.
  • Good News
    It is great to hear that the Cultural Trail is already leading to new developmet! Further, I have always thought that Riley Towers had plenty of room to potentially develop one of the "failed" towers that was propsed when this project was first developed way back in the day! NOW, here's hoping that the interior of the towers gets some much needed love and make-over.
  • We don't need no stinkin' streetscape
    At the sidewalk level, the streetscape has been massacred. The north elevation isn't horrible (due to the storefronts) but the other sides should be substantially more sympathetic to the surroundings.
  • re: streetscape
    I'm not necessarily excusing this design, but as far as the streetscape is concerned, the North Elevation is the only one that matters. The rest of the building will be internal to the block.

    As long as they're building new around the south tower, I wish they had considered relocating -- or doing away with completely -- the swimming pool that fronts Alabama. Such a waste of street frontage.
  • Agreed
    Another mediocre design drawn on a napkin by Browning Day. Apartments over parking spaces - have we seen this before in the Circle city? This building does not relate well to the cool retro aesthetics of the original Riley Towers buildings, and the facades give street scape to the cars and not the pedestrian. Nothing special here.
  • Perkins+Will
    Many ignorant comments here about the merits of the original towers. Before they were poorly renovated, the 2 main towers were very fine examples of work by the respected Chicago firm Perkins+Will. Maybe if Barrett and Stokely had started there, we'd be having an entirely different conversation here. While BDMD certainly has a few very well executed designs such as the Eiteljorg and the IMS tower to their credit, I don't think even they would bestow this project with the title of "well thought out".
  • tired
    OK people...I work in this industry, and with the economic climate, I don't know how you can turn down someone wanting to grow.

    Second, this, as the story reads is a study of what could go there. I don't understand some of you that want urban density, but don't like to see parking garages? Where are these people supposed to park? You really think we are a "car-less" society in Indy. If you want that move to Chicago.

    This design will be refined, the street scape will be refined, and it will turn out to be much better than the existing towers. I think it is a good start.
  • Part of the City
    I am happy to see more bodies living in this area, but at the same time - Riley Towers was a clear thought - this seems to muddy that thought.

    Some of the New Urbanists that think the whole world should be four-story brick boxes on build-to lines hate it, but at least is was something.

    This feels very confused and bored.
  • cut and paste
    more living downtown is always a good thing, BUT, this looks like there trying to add 50 more deck chair on the titanic. 'Make it fit" it don't seem to fit with the existing building/locating. looks kind of crammed in, you have Mid Century with done to death details. did the just cut and paste the elevations from the AOL lots..... something NEW would be nice other then brick panel/glass window/balcony and repeat...

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  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.