Rink-Savoy, Fresh Market & more

June 12, 2008
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Rink-Savoy honored
A $7.4-million renovation of the Rink-Savoy apartment building downtown (shown here) has won first place in a competition that honors the best in developments that utilize low income housing tax credits. The project, by Riley Area Development Corp. and Mansur Real Estate Services, won in the category of Metropolitan/Urban Housing out of a pool of 43 applications from 23 states. The building at 401 N. Illinois St. has 60 affordable apartments and 5 affordable condos. The Rink was built in 1899 and the Savoy was built in 1898.

Fresh Market opening set
If you've been by 54th Street and College Avenue lately, you've seen the progress on Fresh Market. And now, there's a grand opening set: June 25 at 9 a.m. The new grocery store has planned a free outdoor barbeque, a live jazz band and a free bag of coffee to the first 1,000 customers. What do you think of the building?

Dining notes
The new restaurant/sushi bar at 757 Mass Ave is now open. Forty Five Degrees is a creation of the owners of Blu Martini. It takes the condo building's first-floor anchor space. Check out FeedMeDrinkMe's first impressions. Finally, you've only got a few more days for Devour Downtown and $30 menus at many of downtown's top restaurants. Make those reservations.
  • Forty Five Degrees took up the entire space? Perhaps it is a much smaller space than it appears to be.
  • Not the entire first-floor, just the anchor space. Sorry for the confusion.
  • The Fresh Market design is OK. Nothing outstanding, could be worse. Why couldn't they build this fronting the sidewalk when it has a parking garage. This layout belongs in the burbs, not this (my) neighborhood.
  • Speaking of Rink(s) as in skating.....has any one heard about the proposed outdoor ice rink? The one that Mayor Peterson (when he was in office of course) proposed....is that idea dead?
  • My husband wants to boycott Fresh market because the building is so ugly. Suburban-ish site plan aside, the cladding materials are pretty bad, and poorly detailed to boot.

    I was ready to override his veto, until I heard from a friend that fresh market is even more expensive than Whole Foods - can this be true?!

    I miss Sunflower so much.
  • The Fresh Market design is a slap in the face to the area. It wouldn't be allowed to go in at 116th & college, but our pathetic city allows it at 54th & college.
  • Sophia-

    City DMD staff fought tooth-and-nail (even against the wishes of the 25th floor, previous administration) to get better design.

    As I recall, there wasn't a single member of the community present at the deciding hearing willing to advocate for proper urban design.

    You weren't there then. Why are you complaining now?
  • All-day is correct. What more is there to say?
  • Citizens shouldn't have to be there (in the middle of the work week) to fight for urban design standards most any other metro would enforce. It IS the job of the citizenry(sp) to elect good leadership. Hopefully, we've now done just that! If we're real lucky, Ballard will take some pages out of Brainard's playbook!
  • I don't think the design for the Fresh Market is that bad. It looks better than the other two stip mall Fresh Markets in the state. I also wouldn't say that it is more expensive than Whole Foods. It is comparably priced, but this IS a gourmet grocery store.......not a discount chain. You won't find thinks like Kellogg's and Dinty Moore stew there.
  • Does everyone who complains about this site forget how it looked for 30 years before Fresh Market? Big Ugly painted stone and brick front with no windows, set clear back at the alley with an acre of parking along College. Big Ugly deteriorating foursquare house at the NW corner of the site. Former gas station at SW corner of the site that was auto repair, then Cath Inc.

    If close to the sidewalk is the standard of urban design, the new building has the old grocery store on the site beaten by a mile. And it is much more attractive.
  • Thundermutt makes a great point!
  • Yes I agree with thundermutt the old Atlas site was just ugly.
    I miss Sunflower Market also but at least TFM is still in my neighborhood now if we can just get Trader Joe's to move in there somewhere.
  • The thing that really sucks about the Fresh Market is this: Much like the recently-trashed Villagio, they went to the trouble of building a parking garage, yet still insisted on incorporating a dinky little strip-mall style parking lot out front.

    I guarantee you most people won't realize there's a garage above the store, and will be fighting for the few spaces in front of the building.

    We're also going to see some huge traffic jams at College and 54th. They've put all of the vehicle entrances too close to that intersection which is busy enough as is.
  • ABlerock I remember the original Kite plans that showed the building flush up against the sidewalk so I don't know who changed the plans but you are right it is gonna cause problems if people do not realize that the parking is above the store.
  • Great point!!! As long as I put up something prettier than the last use people should shut up! What kind of logic is that!?
  • Um....what about the big sign that says PARKING with an arrow? I have confidence that people who live in that area are smart enough to realize there are more than a handful of spots!! However, there could be an argument made that the surfact spots were not necessary.
  • Ivo, it's incremental logic. If the new building (NOT new use...it was a supermarket for 50 years before this) is better than the old one, how is that not improvement of the site?

    Perfection is an unattainable standard. Improvement is obvious if you try to quantify it: closer to the sidewalk, check. Less surface parking, check. More attractive facade, check. Clear improvements. Better, even though not perfect.

    Ablerock...the corner handled all that traffic just fine when it was Atlas AND Cath AND a ramshackle office building. People might actually walk there.

    The bigger issue will be finding parking for Yat's. Their growth years coincided with the closing of Atlas and Cath.
  • Now... is it safe to say that the Penn Centre is officially dead?
  • Yes thundermutt, all the points you have checked are true, but I think the point here is that the development should conform to the appropriate development standards for a site of its relative and specific location. This building should have not been set back like it is PERIOD.
  • Erich, where did you hear about that?
  • Thundermutt, I love reading your posts... just thought you should know that. ;-)
  • Erich, yes, Penn Centre is dead.
  • MK Neighbor,
    I don't think people in that neighborhood are idiots. I have friends who live there. BUT, there is a belief ingrained into the contemporary Hoosier's mind that one should be able to park directly in front of a place of business. People either ignore or are oblivious to the most obvious of signs, ESPECIALLY when it comes to driving an automobile:

    No Left Turns? Doesn't apply to me, I need to go left!
    30 MPH Speed Limit? I'll go 45 'cause I've got places to go!
    Entrance Only? I'm in a hurry, so I'll just use it as an exit real quick!
    4-way stop? No one else is here, so I'll just drive through it!
    Crosswalk? I'll just stop my car on top of it to get as close to the intersection as possible!

    Etc. They've presented the possibility of upfront parking, that's what people expect and are used to, so that's what they'll go for.

    Regarding my traffic comments, you're ignoring the boom that has happened in that neighborhood over the last few years. Every corner of that intersection now houses several viable, healthy businesses, all at the same time. It's busier than it ever has been, and adding a big grocer is just going to add to the congestion that's already present. It's not an opinion, it's fact. Putting the vehicle entrances farther back on both 54th and College would have helped immensely. Now you'll have people trying to exit the lots right next to the intersection. Brilliant.
  • I think we all should applaud the people behind the RInk-Savoy rebirth. Great job!
  • Well I will be using the Monon or the bus to get to TFM so I won't have to worry about parking.
  • RInk-Savoy

    I like the place. I wanted to live there but my income is not low enough to qualify as a renter or buy one of the condos.

    Unfortunately, I could not afford to buy the other condos (high-priced)downtown.

    My conclusion is if you want to live downtown, you have to have really low income, or really high income. No place in between.
  • JAK, an appropriate setback at 54th & College is different from an appropriate setback downtown.

    At the nodes along College, the buildings are set back from the right-of-way edge even if the building owner/developer puts concrete or parking in front of the building. I'm thinking of Binkley's at Kessler, the buildings directly across College from Fresh Market, the node at 52nd, the node at 49th...I can't think of a case where the building is as close as five or ten feet from the back of the College Ave. curb. In most cases it's ten to twenty-five feet back, in some cases matching the nearest house or apartment building.
  • Hey Ron, you oughta check out The Maxwell. It's quite affordable from what i hear.
  • I will make it a point not to shop at Fresh Market because of this terrible, terrible design. Pardon my French, but who gives a f*ck what was there before? New construction in Indianapolis shouldn't compare itself to the lowest common demoniator, it should compare itself to the best urban designs in the country. Unfortunately, like someone mentioned above, we don't even try to compete with Carmel. How sad.
  • Then don't shop there. I doubt you'll be missed. I don't get why people have such a simplistic view of urban design that they think being right on the corner is the one and only consideration. The building is not ugly, and it is not a suburban-style design. I think it will be fine.
  • Even Oak Park, IL (which is a rather urbanesque suburb of Chicago has developments like this) if this were 16th & College that would be one thing. Yet 56th & College is hardly truly urban. I'll have to see for myself first before i make any substantial statements. :)
  • As someone who lives close to 54th and College, I am thrilled that we are getting a Fresh Market, as are all of my neighbors. I haven't heard anyone on my block make any disparaging remarks about the look of the building or the placement of it on the corner. We are just happy it is there. It was a long time coming and is an expensive piece of real estate and it could easily have been something so much worse. Let's all get over ourselves a little bit and just celebrate that we are finally getting a store. For those of you who are boycotting the store, fine, you will not be missed. My family and I will be happily walking or riding our bikes to the Fresh Market!
  • Cathy, I bet you don't even live in the neighborhood so why are you complaining. And on top of that, if you want every building to be red brick, then Carmel is definitely the place for you. Oh, and while you are at it, lets put a roundabout at 54th & college also.
  • Erich, the Maxwell condos may look affordable at first glance, but if you calculate the price per square footage, it will cost approx. $200/sq. ft.!

    The condos might be selling at $180K, but those are for 600 sq.ft.
  • thunder-

    I think the point that many of us are trying to express here relates not so much to the quantitative measurement of the setback, but moreso to its function. All the great commercial nodes on College give us, in order: 1) street, 2) sidewalk, 3) building. There's no accommodation of the automobile anywhere betwixt that sacred trinity. Cars are relegated to the side or rear, if they're acknowledged at all.

    Yes, the Fresh Market development is dramatically better than what preceded it. I will shop there, gladly, as I did at Atlas. But it could be - it should be - better.
  • all-day breakfast, take another drive up and down college.

    38th: Parking everywhere
    42nd: Two parking lots right on the corner (one police, one fire)
    46th: Upfront parking at the Double-8, plus a gas station across the street.
    49th: Upfront parking at the barbecue place, the Bottle Shoppe, and the former Steck's.
    52nd: Upfront parking at Sparkle Cleaners and Hollywood Video
    54th: Parking between the awning and the street at Moe & Johnny's
    Kessler: Car repair, pet care, and Fox Stained Glass all have parking between the building and street.

    I'd say cars are very well acknowledged on the commercial nodes on College and your sacred trinity might be a huge stretch.

    I realize I'm not going to convince the whiners, but let's at least deal in facts instead of wishes and profane outbursts.
  • Indy (post #23)-

    Please enlighten us to your inside information regarding Penn Centre, or are you just blowing smoke?

    BECAUSE, last I heard from people involved was that it was still moving forward, so if you have any information, those of us here would appreciate the latest.
  • did I just read the word betwixt?
  • Thunder, I think the point all-day was making was that the ones you didn't mention are the ones that best contribute to the urban pedestrian environment. How many people enjoying spending time outside of their cars at 38th & College? Or in front of Moe & Johnny's, Double 8 Foods or the others you mentioned?

    Yat's, Aristocrat, Taste, Blue Lagoon, the others (including most of Broad Ripple) that do not accommodate vehicles between the sidewalk and the street are places you see people both walking to and walking past both for utility and by choice.

    By the way, what's the least enjoyable portion of B.R. Avenue, between College and the Monon, to walk along?
  • h, oh, oh, I know this one, idyllic: The corner at Winthrop with Cardinal's parking lot, Jimmy John's parking lot and Subway's parking lot!

    The Fresh Market building is ugly because it has a horrible use of materials - look how stupid those red plastic signage letters look sandwiched between the stone cladding (I mean yeah it's real stone but used in such a way as to totally deny it's load-carrying capability, I actually feel sorry for it.) It feels very suburban. Still, I'll be able to bike to it, and if it's less expensive than Whole/Wild Oats I'll shop there. In winter, when the farmer's market is closed.

    Hey, anyone else have formatting issues with the text box here on a mac? I can't scroll back and forth in it.
  • Oops - its not it's; and Oh starts my post - dang weird window problems!
  • So, Idyllic and Donna...what you're saying is that a certain percentage of parking in front of buildings is tolerable. Lots of people walk past Moe & Johnny's or the Fresh Market site to get to Yat's and the Jazz Kitchen. I've done it many times, and there's nothing uncomfortable about it.

    I have always seen lots of people walking through the Broad Ripple intersection that Donna cites. Why? Like the Circle downtown, it's a center of activity and the cars and people negotiate movements.

    I don't believe that getting rid of cars (or preventing cars and people from mingling) is the solution to pedestrian friendliness. I believe the answer is to slow cars down and make drivers watch where they are going at pedestrian nodes.
  • Can't believe the criticisms I'm reading about Fresh Market. Have we completely forgotten what that corner looked like before? Atlas was such a fixture that we stopped seeing it. Parking at Atlas was like bumper cars. While I'm generally not a fan of developers, give some credit to folks who spent a lot of money to put parking on the roof - and, by the way, give some credit to customers who really can READ signs. The Whole Foods concept isn't for everyone, but there are those who don't object to paying extra for quality stuff. The rest of you - just go shop at Kroger!
  • I live at 54th and College and this area is not urban. It's truly the original suburbia. I live in the only high density building for blocks - the old College Court Apts (which by the way would probably never be built with today's sentiment toward density), but 90% of the buildings in that are single (or double) family homes with little yards, garages, gardens and picket fences. ALL of Meridian Kessler is suburban it just happens to be old suburbia with little commercial hubs to service the surrounding residents. It's comical how some readers label the area urban. By the way ... I love living there and I can't wait for the Fresh Market to open.
  • Bill, I don't think the only defining characteristic to determine urban or suburban is simply pure density. The grid pattern of streets, generally fairly short block lengths, sidewalks, and commercial buildings that are at or near the sidewalk are all characteristics that would lead most people to call College Avenue from downtown to Broad Ripple as urban. North of Broad Ripple lacks many of these characteristics , and is thus, much more suburban in nature.

    Thunder, I am not saying that a certain amount of parking is tolerable, but certainly less parking is less disruptive to pedestrians, and provides less conflict for a pedestrian trying to reach a destination. The fact that people will walk past a relatively small, uninviting area such as Jimmy John's/Subway to get from one inviting area to another does not deny that those developments negatively impact the urban fabric of the neighborhood. And I can't say how uncomfortable others feel walking around Moe & Johnny's, but I really don't think a development where cars are invited to enter/exit across the sidewalk at any location along the site's frontage can be considered pedestrian friendly. I understand this is an adaptive re-use, but I certainly don't view it as a model for urban development.
  • Bill, the area is streetcar suburban, platted in the 1890s and largely developed from 1900-1930 before the car became king. The northern part of M-K was originally incorporated into Broad Ripple Village before it was absorbed by Indianapolis in the 1920s.

    You are right that it is not strictly urban but it has many urban characteristics: the neighborhood commercial nodes on College, the standard 40-foot lot width in M-K (with accompanying small side setbacks), alleys, and sidewalks with tree lawns are the main living remnants of that development pattern.

    It was set up for walking. It is far less car-centered than true suburban development such as the area east of the Monon and north/east of Broad Ripple which were developed post-WWII.

    Idyllic, the Fresh Market parking is access-controlled, not free-range like Moe & Johnny's and many of the other examples I cited. There are good sidewalks around the site, so it should present little problem to the pedestrians. The new trees will even provide shade someday...it looked pretty inviting when I drove by last night. I really think the urbanists among us need to choose battles far more carefully.

    One of the concepts lost recently in urban design is the notion of relief from the urban canyon effect at intersections, i.e., not building fully to the corner. (Look in the 1983 Meridian Street plan, which called for relief at certain corners, including 16th.) Open areas, plazas, greenspace, and full space for trees (even when surrounding parking) do add to the urban environment.
  • Folks, the choices at 54th & College, originally, were Walgreens, or Walgreens. It was the neighborhood which went out and literally, found Fresh Market, because a grocery is what the local resident's wanted there. Even that wasn't an easy sell to the property owners. Is the building beautiful? Maybe not, but it's a darn sight prettier than Walgreens. One of Fresh Market's early concerns was that its own staff would eat up too much of the available parking. The roof parking - my guess - will be the primary parking for staff, at least until neighbors get used to it. I guess folks are entitled to boycott based in esthetic preferences, but I can't help but be curious as to where this other, esthetically pleasing, grocery is located? Loogootee?
  • sjudge, nice post, thanks for clearing that up. of course this is better than a Walgreen's, I don't think anyone would deny that!

    labmom, the Broad Ripple Kroger has been completely redesigned and is MUCH, much, much nicer now, with a decent enough organics section for a small mainstream store.

    thundermutt: as you say, slowing cars down so that pedestrians and cars - and even bicycles and strollers! - can share the public space is the key to any and every successful urban place.
  • I am pleased with the Fresh Market and look forward to shopping there.

    Cathy, what can we do to make you happy? You seem to be a bit bitter about a lot of things devel,opment-wise here in Indy. That isn't healthy.
  • But you have to admit Cathy is correct in this statement:

    New construction in Indianapolis shouldn’t compare itself to the lowest common denominator, it should compare itself to the best urban designs in the country.

    Where is the striving? The risk-taking?
  • I disagree with Donna and Cathy's viewpoint. If everything is better than what it replaces, the city on the whole gets better over time.

    As I get older, I find myself repeating those old truisms more...like Rome wasn't built in a day.

    If you want to strive and take risks, do it the same way I did: invest and borrow a pile of money and make it go. Or not. It doesn't count if you merely wonder out loud why others don't. Fresh Market IS taking a risk.
  • It seems to me like a no-brainer that an upscale chain grocery store would succeed at that location, but what do I know? I only invest in my IRA.

    I'm not sure about the whole argument about granting relief at street corners. Landscaping is great, especially since the trees don't generally move into your path when you try to walk past them and into a building. I don't think anyone objects to planting trees along College Avenue, but those are in the right-of-way, and could have been planted regardless of where the building was located.

    Speaking of relief at 16th & Meridian, I saw that the CVS that was approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled for a hearing before the MDC. I thought the staff was recommending approval of that monstrosity. Between the few faux windows along Meridian Street and the loading dock along 16th Street, it should relieve pedestrians of any legitimate reason to be at that corner.

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