Developer of government building sees potential for more

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A real estate firm founded at the dawn of the Great Recession hoping to break into commercial development has landed its first project: a $4 million office building it will lease to the federal government.

Ambrose Property Group broke ground last month on a 13,000-square-foot building at Intech Park on the northwest side that will house about 75 Social Security Administration employees who are moving from leased space in the Lafayette Square Mall area.

The Social Security office could be the first of many projects Ambrose develops for the government’s General Services Administration. The firm is in various stages of bidding for 15 other government projects as close as Kentucky and Ohio and as far away as Texas and New York, said Patrick M. Chittenden, a vice president at Ambrose who is also one of its founders.

Chittenden said Ambrose spent 18 months getting up to speed on the government bidding process and assembling a proposal. “Hundreds of pages go into a bid,” he said, and the firm wants to put that experience to use to win other government jobs.

Ambrose found out last Dec. 31 that it was the successful bidder. At the same time it learned it had won another project in Muncie, but the government’s budget for the Muncie office was subsequently eliminated and that project is on hold.

The Indianapolis development, at 6745 Network Place, is being financed by M&I Bank. General contractor Shiel Sexton is to complete the building by December. Ambrose purchased the 1.5-acre site in March from an affiliate of Lauth Group Inc., which developed Intech Park.

The one-story building was designed by American Structurepoint. Chittenden said it will include several security features not found in a standard office building, such as shatter-proof glass and a secure perimeter that prevents cars from parking close to or crashing into the building.

Those security features, required by the government, are among the reasons the GSA didn’t simply lease space in an existing building, Chittenden said. They’re also why the GSA will pay more than market rent to lease the building over the course of the 10-year lease.

Chittenden said because it’s a project built for government, the construction wages it requires are higher. And the small size of the building means there are “not a lot of economies of scale” that can be realized. The government is also requiring that the developer pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the project.

John Merrill, managing director of the local office of CB Richard Ellis, said he’s not surprised Ambrose is pursuing government development work.

“The government sector has been one of the few where there’s any activity,” he said. “It’s one of the more active segments of the market. But I don’t know that there’s enough activity for anyone to specialize in that, especially if they’re based here.”

Ambrose was founded in November 2008 by Chittenden, who has a background in construction, and Aasif Bade, a former executive at Duke Realty. The seven-person firm isn’t relying solely on development. It also has brokerage and property management divisions.

Earlier this year, the company was hired by Brenwick Development to handle commercial sales and leasing for the non-residential portions of Village of West Clay, Brenwick’s massive housing development at 131st Street and Towne Road in Carmel. The project includes development sites for office and retail space.



  • Are you kidding?
    This is a joke...there is plenty of cheap vacant space in Indianapolis. This is a total waste tax payers dollars and the reason the government is bankrupt.
  • REALLY ??
    No offense to the local developer for pursuing this project, but with all of the empty space around town, the feds couldn't buy and retrofit a property for 75 people for less than +53,000 per person ???? wow. Is the Social Security Administration THAT much of a target ? double wow. Is there much question why the government is in so much debt ? Unfreakin-believeable

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.