It's back: Bank hopes to salvage Di Rimini project

February 17, 2012
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Di Rimini IndianapolisThe bank that now owns the troubled Di Rimini apartment project wants to repair the building in an attempt to recoup some of the millions it stands to lose on the deal. Di Rimini IndianapolisTwo public hearings are scheduled for March for consideration of fixes proposed by Stock Yards Bank & Trust, which provided financing for the trainwreck of a project at 733 N. Capitol Ave. The city ordered construction to stop in October 2010 after code enforcement and planning department officials noted developer Jeff Sparks was building an entirely different structure than the one for which he had sought approval. Despite the order, the owners began moving tenants into the building, leading the state's fire marshal to issue an emergency order barring occupancy. The order said the building posed a "serious and immediate hazard of death or serious bodily injury" in part because of brazen violations of the Indiana Building Code including a lack of fire walls between apartment units or a working sprinkler system. The bank is scheduled to make its case at two public hearings, one on March 13 to seek a variance to allow encroachment into the so-called sky exposure plane at the corner of St. Clair Street and Senate Avenue. If Stock Yards is successful, it would then make the case for Regional Center approval of its exterior fixes to the building on March 15, said senior city planner Jeff York. The bank is proposing several fixes including a different paint color scheme and trim accents around the windows (click on the elevation above to see some detail on the proposed changes). It would also have to invest in major improvements to the interior to pass code enforcement muster. "The onus is on the owner to prove they can bring this back to building code standards," York said. Some neighbors of the structure are skeptical, noting there are cracks all over the exterior and parts of the roof have peeled back, suggesting interior water damage. An IBJ story about the project from 2010 is here, and earlier Property Lines posts about the project are here.

  • Demo
    Tear it down. Safety aside, Indy has enough aesthetic problems as is. This is one of the most garbage structures I've ever seen anywhere.
    • Pig
      Lipstick on a pig.....that all. It's still a pig and an unsafe poor quality pig at that.
    • Terrible
      Notice it took an architect out of the state to take this project on! I can tell by the elevations that they do want to make the life safety changes, there's a new stair shown in the top elevation.

      But, I don't expect regional center to approve this. It looks like a crayon box threw up on the building. There is little to no relief in the facade and just randomly changing colors does not help the aesthetic. And, who is going to clean the second story fabric awnings when they get covered in bird crap?

      Goodluck Stockyard Bank
    • Tear it down
      I agree...the suggested changes do nothing to hide the obvious flaws in this building. Tear it down and start over!
    • Eyesore
      This project is an eyesore which is located in an upcoming area. The building design is completly inappropriate for this area. It does not have an urban feel. The window fenestrations, proportions, materials and architectural treatment is wrong for this urban area. Major renovation is needed to make this a sucessful project. I hope the City planners stay strong and not allow this half ass fix.
    • Awful
      I agree with everything that's being said here. This place is just awful and the proposed revision isn't any better. Just tear it down; there's no way it can be salvaged. I would hope the city planning staff would agree.
    • Another example of an out of state bank...
      ...being out of touch with the local community. The bank took a risk without thoroughly vetting the borrower, unfortunately. Local ownership and management often allows the "character" portion of a loan application to be evaluated more fully.
    • Funny?
      There should be a prize for who can make the most hilarious version of this building. I'm dreaming of streaming pink stuffed animals all over it... This think looks like a nail salon in a failing shopping mall... only worse!
    • Inspectors
      When the first issues came up about this project, they concerned the exterior apperance compared to the renderings the City had approved. When people questioned why the changes were not noticed by city inspectors during the course of construction, the answer was that the inspectors where only checking code, and not aesthetics.

      Now that we all know there are code violations, I get back to that original question of why didn't the city inspectors catch things like missing firewalls during the construction?

      I'm not making excuses for the developer, but wonder if there is some shared culpability?
    • I Like The Parakeet
      I really like the parakeet color (green)!
    • Arson
      Where is an arsonist when you need them.
    • Hideous would be too generous
      This is by far the most unattractive modern building I have ever seen in this city. The word hideous would be too generous. Forget code, the entire project should have been rejected from the start based on aesthetics alone.

      Move over Federal Building and Lugar Tower, there's a new competitor for Indy's ugliest!
    • Wrecking Ball
      The shear audacity of the developer to try something like this makes me want to say that as punishment the building ought to be torn down. And that he should be billed for it.

      Then when you take in what the building actually looks like it only doubles my feelings on the matter.

      I have to drive past this thing every morning and was wondering how a developer got permission to build such an ugly building.

      And now I know. He never actually did.
    • There is hope
      I think that this building has potential beyond what you all call a pig. No, it is not's not the "Athletic club" or "Riley Towers" but it has been for years affordable housing (NOT SUBSIDIZED BY THE STATE [YOU]) for lower income families who live downtown.
      • Johnni, you are wrong
        Johnni, the building was only completed in 2010, and no one ever lived in it for more than a few days because it violated city and state fire and safety codes, so there is no way it could be affordable housing "for years," as you claim.

        I don't know what building you are thinking about, but this is NOT it. This building is a piece of garbage that violates multiple city and state codes and should be torn down.
      • Ugly?
        My first thought when I saw this building: "What are they planning on naming this place? Tugboat Arms?" Scrap it and start fresh. With the major code violations inside, I doubt they could bring it up to code for less than they could by starting over. Take the hit, and move on.
      • Universal agreement
        Boy it sure is rare when there is almost universal agreement in a story. Tear it down! Even a parking lot would be better and more pleasing on the eye!
      • Architect?
        Has it ever been determined/ published just whom or what firm is responsible for the original design?

        Was it JT Designers? They list Sarojo Commons on their website and I think this was the original project name. Was there an actual architect involved or just this drafting company? Does anyone know?
        • Architect?
          SBG. And stamped by a plumber, J&T. A winning combination.
        • Project
          The name "Stockyards" Bank almost seems fitting for this horrid project. One more example of a bank out of it's "league". You should be asking yourselves, "why in the name of sense, did we agree to finance this?"
        • City the Blame
          I blame the City for allowing this horrible building to be built. Even if the submitted building was built it still was bad architecture. The City of Indianapolis is too laxed on building approval. Look at all the mediocre buildings that have been built along the Canal. What a waste. The City of Indianapolis needs to learn a few things from Carmel when it comes to planning.
          • hmmm
            Well, maybe the city should force Jeff Sparks to live here while he slowly tears it down himself. Unfortunately, that probably wouldn't 'learn him much'. Or the City for that matter: look at the creation of our hideous canal: Oh to be 50 years behind the times in REDNECK CENTRAL.
            • Micah
              Wow, Micah, you're way over the top. So you think it's "redneck central". Perhaps you should fork over some development dollars to see what you could do. Or, if you think it's that bad, you could just leave. Hello Spencer or Gosport, here comes Micah. He'll fit right in since he knows what Redneckville is like, or so he says....
            • Huh?
              Micah, I am not sure what the Canal has to do with the DeRimini? Also, the Canal was built in the 1830's, and then remodeled into a nice residential and business corridor in the 1980's and 1990's. Moreover, it has generally been praised as an attractive city asset, and I have never heard anyone label it "hideous."

              The developer was some cocky, inexperienced jerk who violated multiple city and state codes and built a crappy building. His project was shut down and he lost his property, whether he learned from the experience or not, I do not know, nor do I care.

              What I think everyone should care about now is that the site gets redeveloped into an attractive and useful building that positively contributes to the community.

            • Pile of Brown Boxes
              Echo with the good luck on modification. Not to change the subject, but what is with the Star parking garage on Delaware and Vermont. The south facing wall no has THREE vinyl signs,one at least three stories high and one still advertising one of their defunct publications. Talk about not approved by the Regional Center Plan.
            • no inspectors
              If the City is working the same way the State of Indiana, The State has gotten rid of the building inspectors, Relaying "PUSHING IT" on the Architect too do the inspections, making sure the building is built to spec. THAT DIDN'T WORK FOR THE STATE!. If your in the field, you heard over Cocktails about that Little DOC dorm project, when they had to fired the Architect, they were not doing the inspections. Costing the state millions to fix and hire a New Designer. The City is push the building code inspections, Back onto the Architects. And in this project, they had a VERY VERY BAD Architect, BAD design and BAD Developer. Who, in the world would want to live with their Front door 3 feet off the sidewalk/road. I can only say CRACK DEN.....
              • no architect
                Bob, There was NO Architect. SBG is NOT an architect. Claims to be, however. What a joke!
              • setbacks
                Bob, plenty of people live with their front door three feet off the sidewalk/road. It's a basic fact of life in northeastern cities. Even elsewhere in Indy downtown, setbacks are minimal on townhomes that claim high asking prices.
              • BerwickGuy
                Hmmm...well to start, I guess I wouldn't waste so much money by taking shortcuts on design since that seems to be the problem with Indy in general. Clearly, the suburb of Indy is at fault here: the 'city' officials--through expensive red tape--enable bad design all over the place, including the canal. Sure there's always hope for redeveloping these mistakes...but it's EXTREMELY costly. So my point is why develop in such a backwards manner? There needs to be more incentive by the city for future investment...rather than taking the cheapest route ALL OF the time. More incentives will leave room for the proper people to develop the City of Indy. Btw, how long are you guessing the DiRimini sets vacant? Well done folks...a 3rd grader could have drawn up a better plan! Lol
              • 'Over the top'
                Btw BerwickGuy, I think the canal is very nice and attractive also. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more for a public space to be successful...such as design and architecture, which doesn't need to be over the top BUT shouldn't be of a suburban nature in the middle of a developing city. The city could paint a pretty picture for all of the locals to stare at if we just want to say "wow, this canal is nice and beautiful". If you want to talk about the architecture along the canal, then go for it...but it is not good for the city. Is it getting better? Yes. But how long will it take this city to invest in good, urban design for people to live? The city dwellers who invest in downtown deserve better and a higher quality of life......LEAVE THE SUBURBAN STUFF IN THE SUBURBS! Having a backwards government stuck in the past doesn't help the situation.
              • this is embarassing
                I am shocked every time I see that someone else has funded millions for bad development. How does this happen? There is so much talent here in this city there is no excuse for generic buildings which have no DESIGN. There are fundamental principles that design is founded on. Scale, balance, flow, harmony - - especially with sensitivity to the envronment.. i.e. location. Any one with an education and passion for architecture and design would never create such poor non-designed buildings. I work in downtown because I appreciate urban design - and this type of structure doesn't belong in the city OR the suburbs. It saddens me that I work hard to try to make Indianapolis more authentic and my work along with other designers, architects, and developers who care,..our efforts get negated by such trite and thoughtless design.
              • this is embarassing
                I am shocked every time I see that someone else has funded millions for bad development. How does this happen? There is so much talent here in this city there is no excuse for generic buildings which have no DESIGN. There are fundamental principles that design is founded on. Scale, balance, flow, harmony - - especially with sensitivity to the envronment.. i.e. location. Any one with an education and passion for architecture and design would never create such poor non-designed buildings. I work in downtown because I appreciate urban design - and this type of structure doesn't belong in the city OR the suburbs. It saddens me that I work hard to try to make Indianapolis more authentic and my work along with other designers, architects, and developers who care,..our efforts get negated by such trite and thoughtless design.
              • it's called brain drain, Liz
                Yes Liz, unfortunately most of the people who are actually passionate about urban design have to go elsewhere for OBVIOUS reasons: brain drain is a real thing. And perception is reality...something most city officials or planners never grasp here.
              • Full story
                While I personally don't care for the look of the original or redesign, I heard a rumor that the building did in fact meet building codes, but the inspector was lazy in checking and failed to notice the sprinkler system. There may well be violations, but I don't think the prevailing story presented by the IBJ is entirely accurate (although not all their fault).

                That leads me to believe the stop work order was primarily political, not practical due to life safety concerns. That doesn't excuse the fact a different building was built from that which was approved, but brings up so many other unfortunate questions related to how buildings are permitted, built and inspected in Indianapolis.
                • Jobu's wrong
                  Jobu, I don't know who your "sources" are, but there are most certainly serious code violations in this building. Such serious violations that the State Fire Marshall himself visited the building and chained the doors to prevent Sparks from allowing tenants back inside. Though the City and State have failed here on multiple levels, the Fire Marshall personally inspected this nightmare and verified the code violations. Not to mention that city inspectors are certified by taking a multitude of certifying exams, and know what they're looking at on site for the most part. It's not due to a lazy inspector making things up about sprinklers and firewalls between units. Tear this thing down already!

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                1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

                2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

                3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

                4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

                5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.