Rendering: $85M project calls for Marsh and apartments

January 24, 2012
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Marsh and
                              The Axis Apartments IndianapolisAn $85 million project anchored by a new Marsh grocery store would transform an expanse of surface parking lots in the northwest quadrant of downtown. The plan by Flaherty & Collins Properties calls for 487 apartments, the first new Marsh store since 2004, a parking garage and additional retail space on properties bounded by Michigan Street, Capitol Avenue, Vermont Street and Indiana Avenue. Mayor Greg Ballard, Marsh CEO Joe Kelley and officials with Flaherty & Collins announced the project, first reported at, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Much of the land needed for the development is owned by locally based OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc., which uses it for employee parking. To make way for the development, the city would foot the roughly $13 million cost of building a 930-space parking garage for OneAmerica at the northwest corner of Illinois and New York streets. The total cost of the development, including the city's contribution from tax-increment financing district revenues, will be about $85 million.The apartment community will be known as The Axis. The 40,000-square-foot Marsh, at Michigan and Senate streets, would occupy the first floor and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013. The chain also will keep its store in the Lockerbie neighborhood. What do you think?

  • Great news for Indiana Avenue
    This is fantastic news for those of us that call the NW part of downtown home. I am hopeful this leads to further development in the immediate area and I strongly encourage any additional retail to face Indiana Avenue. We need to ensure we bring life back to this historical street as there needs to be a physical and meaningful connection between downtown, IUPUI and the 16 Tech corridor. New development should also attempt to tip its hat to the history, heritage and culture of the Avenue as it deserves better than suburban architecture and design (no more buildings like Canal Overlook). I will leave the comments on the rendering to the design professionals, but I am excited about the density, disappearance of surface parking lots and other street level retail possibilities.
  • No Vision, No Clue
    If I recall correctly One America (AUL) bought that property for a promised office tower expected growth from Frank OBannon putting legislation through that allowed the company to convert from a mutual ownership to a holding company without giving policy/company owners any compensation. ($500 million gift)

    Now the best use is a grocery store and some apartments?

    Perhaps Mayor Ballard could aim higher and attract a large new employer with high skill/ paying jobs looking for a new headquarters instead of a few temporary jobs that only produce a few low paying grocery clerk and retail jobs.

    His people dont seem to have a clue. No wonder Mead Johnson, Hill Rom, Navistar, GM, Eli Lilly, Rolls Royce, and others are making large investments elsewhere.
  • A great first step
    This is such a great first step to promoting mid-rise development in Indy. If you look at the general downtown area, it lacks adequate urban grocery stores. One of the most vibrant destinations downtown, Mass Ave, has a grocery store right in the district. Adding a grocery store in a currently parking lot-stricken area of downtown could potentially kick-start urbanism in that area.

    As for the design, it is nothing spectacular in my opinion, but let's be honest, it is by far one of the most attractive grocery stores I've seen lately. Although, I seriously doubt that a first floor grocery store will attract people to their outdoor seating, unless they plan to incorporate smaller tenants like a small restaurant or coffee shop.
  • Good deal for One America
    So One America gets to sell the land, and they get a free parking garage out of the deal? How do I get a deal like that? I'd like to sell my house and get somebody to pay for a new one for me.
  • Great...
    Certainly good news and I commend the mayor, F&C, etc. for getting this together.

    One very minor concern, however. As a downtown resident, the biggest problem with the Marsh on NY and Alabama is that it has no real competiion and thus prices are significantly higher than in other parts of the city. This is fine for a quick stop after work for one or two items, but when purchasing a week's worth (or more) of groceries it's a signficant cost difference.

    A second grocery is great for downtown, but the fact that it is also a Marsh makes me wonder if there will be any decrease in prices. I suspect not. Marsh has no real incentive to lower the prices at the new store and will likely price at the same levels as at its existing store.

    Moreover, by saturating the market with a second grocery, Marsh makes it unlikely that another grocery will open in the near future. (Whatever chance there might have been for a Kroger expansion at 16th and Central is probably dead, right?). Seems like a rather smart business decision to me as Marsh protects one of its most valuable properties from competition, and arguably increases its market share by providing more convenience with two stores.

    I don't want this to be interpreted as a complaint, because I support the development and the addition of a second Marsh. But I do have to say that I doubt that the new grocery will have the effect many downtown residents want with a second grocery: a decrease in prices via competition.
  • How Original...
    Like the development, but is this CSO's real proposal for the design? Not bad, but looks like they slapped a Marsh sign on the "Cole" project from Columbus, IN...
    Thanks for the effort.
  • Why there?
    When I read the headline I certainly wasn't expecting to read about further development on the WEST side of downtown. Nobody lives there (except for the new Cosmo Canal thing). That's not in walking distance for the majority of downtown residents (who live in Lockerbie / Mass Ave / Chatham Arch).
  • Plenty live here
    Jimbo, there is a much greater concentration of residents in this area than you acknowledge. In addition to the Cosmpolitan, you have Canal Square, Canal Overlook, Gardens of Canal Court, Canal Court, The Avenue (opening soon), 1201 Indiana Avenue and Lockefield Gardens, which are all sizable apartment communities. There are also single family homes in WaterMark, Ransom Place, Fayette Street and Flanner House. Plus you have smaller buildings such as the Goodwin, The Martens, Senate Manor and others. Lastly, with the addition of the 500 apartments planned for this development and the potential for another 600 residents in a student based development announced last month, we represent a large chunk of downtown dwellers. It's a good sign for downtown as a whole to convince retailers that two groceries can survive downtown. We are excited about having a grocery within a short walking distance of our homes just like those on the east side of downtown have enjoyed the proximity of the Marketplace for what is now nearly three decades.
  • Why not?
    Jimbo, you'd be hard pressed to find that much open space near Lockerbie/Mass Ave/Chatham Arch, especially that wouldn't require historic district design standards/approvals. Anyway, who in Indy walks to the store to buy more than a loaf of bread? Most customers would drive there anyway rather than lug home groceries on foot.
  • Great news
    Doing away with One America's sea of parking is long's great to see an urban infill proposal for this site. This will completely transform the streetscape in that area and I look forward to it coming to fruition!
  • Great for IUPUI!
    Wow Jimbo, you totally ignored the thousands of IUPUI students who live directly off campus in the multitude of apartments that R Jones pointed out. I think this development could be fantastic for IUPUI students, if the grocery prices are reasonable, especially those (international) students who don't have transportation to drive to Southport, 38th st or the Northside to get groceries. Unfortunately the Kroger just west of campus doesn't have a large selection of fresh fruits and veggies and the Marsh off of Mass Ave is way over-priced. The apartments can also help with the expensive and overbooked campus apartments. But I cannot stress how important the prices are.
  • Rental Vacancy Rate
    It will be nice to have a new building downtown, but we are already considered one of the 'emptiest major cities in the country' according to CNBC with a rental vacancy rate of 13.5%.
    • Really?
      Really DC? Statistic for downtown Indianapolis rental as of December 31st 2011 is 97.2% Hmmmm They have been as high as 98.8 as well. Downtown is thriving and the numbers warrant development of this kind. Now the rest of the county is another story. Hence the average of 13% vacancy rate.
    • Nice!
      Love that this project will be happening! EXACTLY the type of development we need more of downtown. On an aside, I get so tired of reading some of these overly critical posts when it is obvious the author has no clue what he/she is talking about. Nobody lives on the westside of downtown? One of the emptiest cities? Really guys? As others have already pointed out, thye downtown rental market is one of the strongest around and there are THOUSANDS of residents (and workers)in very close proximity to this project. Downtown is booming right now, folks and I am excited for the changes that are occuring so rapidly.
    • Strong Downtown Demand
      This vacancy rate in Indianapolis reflects flight from aging suburban apartment complexes to newer suburban apartment complexes. The above commenters are correct - downtown rental demand is VERY high.
    • Walking to the store
      It is very common to walk to the store. In an urban setting, there is little need to load up the SUV and buy a months worth of groceries. When you can simply walk or ride a bike to the deli/store, you can prepare fresh food and healthy food often. Don't try to flex a suburban lifestyle on a potentially very urban setting.
      • Riding to the store
        I agree with Joe that there is little need to drive and purchase a month's worth of groceries. For those residents on the east side of DT, this location won't be an easy walk, but it is a very easy bicycle ride...plenty of ways to easily carry a couple bags of groceries on a bike.
      • 2 Stores or 1
        I'm just not sure why Marsh would run 2 grocery stores 6 blocks apart. I really hope the exiting store remains open, but I can't see why it would, especially if the new store is bigger, has a better selection, and more amenities. This would be much better news for downtown shoppers if it was a competitor.
      • Hiring Architects
        Denser housing is a great idea, but what is it with Indy developers? Can't you afford to hire architects?
      • Hiring Architects?
        Hey Michael, CSO ARCHITECTS are the architects. You must've missed that on the rendering titleblock and the comments here...
      • Apartment design?
        Really hard to tell from the concept rendering, but I really hope these "luxury apartments" will have ample balcony spaces. A majority of people want to have at least enough dedicated outside area to relax - maybe room for a small table & chairs. Past experience has shown people will rent units with a reasonable balcony or terrace over those where they will be shut inside 24/7.
      • The Garage
        I'm anxious about the looks of the garage on the NW corner of NY and Illinois. I've always thought the downtown lots with the very best potential are those on Vermont St. from Illinois west to Senate. So must blank canvas, so close to the park, such a great feel between Meridian and Illinois, a quiet 2-lane road, historic buildings - a continuation of this urban coziness west would be so nice.

        Then, at Illinois Street, you meet the brutal reality of downtown Indy - surface lots, parking garages, four rushing lanes of traffic, and megaliths that generally do a very poor job conversing with pedestrians. Another Central Park on this strip could counterbalance any positive impact of The Axis.

        Hopefully the city will set a high standard.
      • Design?
        Unfortunately the hyped response to the concept will likely mean the developers will spend very little time or money on the design. Very Ho Hum. Likely another missed opportunity.
      • But
        I walk to the store all the time to get groceries, especially in the warmer months, and it's typically a 45 minute walk for me.

        This type of development is LONG overdue for those gaping surface lots in the NW quad. I'd prefer higher intensity development, and the design leaves a bit to be desired, but it's a step in the right direction. Feels like I'm living in a real city!
      • Trader Joe's & Target
        How about thinking of a Target for the convenience of the 30,000 plus student population at IUPUI each year. And a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods grocery for the new upper-class urban community, these projects ~ CityWay, The Block Building, this Block project will bring in ?????
      • Safe
        While the program for the neighborhood will definitely improve the experience for those living and working near this project, the architecture is lacking spirit. White, brick and grey? Really? This is near part of Indiana Avenue - the heart of African American Culture for our City AND near IUPUI! Where are the colors, textures and energy of the sites legacy. As for the building, it is VERY repetitive and awkward where the masses above loom over the pedestrians instead of occasionally landing on the ground to anchor the building. It seems to be the style around town however as a whole series of these jigsaw puzzle buildings are popping up in every rendering to make IBJ lately. Again we need to be more creative in how we develop on prime sites with a historic fabric worthy of new reinterpretation.

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      1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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      4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

      5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.