R.I.P. Marquis Tower?

October 3, 2007
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Marquis TowerA 24-year-old's dream for a twisting downtown apartment tower has run into a brick wall. Jaron Garrett couldn't raise enough money to exercise contracts on the run-down properties he had hoped to redevelop. His contracts have expired and the buildings are back on the market for sale. Garrett said today that he's still interested in the site northwest of Washington and Pennsylvania streets, and he holds out hope he can find enough investor capital to build the proposed 25-story tower. Garrett—who grew up in Indianapolis but now lives in Chicago—had been working since late last year to assemble properties and design the ambitious plan with the help of locally based WDI Architecture Inc. But the odds of success were long thanks to the project's scope, its lack of parking and financing hurdles, as IBJ reported on Sept. 8. What will work here?
  • Why couldn't he have hooked up with that African American guy who said a few monhts ago in IBJ that he wanted to build here? Why couldn't he have done that! To me, that makes the most sense out of anything.

    Quite honestly, i LOVE the ambition & vision of this guy... I just hope he gets this built! Great luck to him...
  • Lack of parking...sigh. We really need to get over the need to build giant parking garages for every project. There's a glut of parking spaces downtown.

    That said, I never really dug this project. I think a mid-rise matching the heights of the old buildings a few properties to the west would work better.
  • It's a shame..this would have been a great assett to the city. I am holding out hope on this. Maybe he could sell this design for one of the MSA lots or the old Bank One Ops Center at East and Washington. Let's hope it gets built somewhere downtown.
  • Parking is a necessity for residential, in my opinion. I lived downtown for a year and loved it, but you need a car in this city, period. And paying big bucks for a monthly pass at one of the commercial garages and then having to walk to the apartment/condo building just wouldn't cut it...I'm picturing myself with 5 loads of groceries spending an hour going back and forth. I wouldn't rent or buy downtown without a parking option.
  • I understand where you're coming from, I lived downtown and had a car too. Underground parking is the best option, but it seems the vision for the future still lies in building for cars and not for people. Call me a grinch, but I'll probably grumble until minimum parking requirements are dropped by the city.
  • Okay, so we need cars, why? Well, because our mass-transit system SUCKS! A little while back, I saw alot of positive movement toward viable mass-transit, but nothing since. When I was a kid and went to Disney World, I marveled at the monorail system and often imagined something similar to it being built in indy. It would certainly solve quite a few issues: The need for cars, air quality and parking!

    Anybody know why those issues are not more heavily considered in city planning? A building project like this one would certainly be viable with no parking if such a system existed.

    Ever seen Logan's Run? Remember the tubes running from building complex to building complex?

    Imagine riding the tram from your building of residence to say, OMalia's, getting your groceries, taking a small cart home on the tram, unloading your goods, putting your cart back on the tram and being done with your shopping. Am I thinking too Jetsons here? - (sad that I imagined this kind of thing as a kid 30 years ago and nothing like it is even in the planning stages)
  • While possibly visionary in architectural design, my primary concern is whether this design is structurally sound? Not even in Vegas, have I seen twisting towers!
  • The downtown circulating buses aren't too bad, and the red line runs a block from O'Malia's. I'd like to see more of them, but they've helped a bit.
  • It's too bad this project looks like it could tank. In addition to financing, this project didn't stand a chance in this City. 1. he's not a well known developer, 2. too much parking is never enough for the City, and 3. this town is too conservative....we don't believe in too much flash, and if it's not made of limestone or brick it won't fly. We'd rather read about it being built in Dubai versus in Naptown.
  • I read the original article in the IBJ and this guy seems like a nice enough guy and ambitious. But he doesn't have the requisite experience to get this project off the ground and the twisting tower would be a nightmare to build. There's no way you could justify the cost of construction. Evidence of both statements can be found in the lack of anyone foolish enough to throw serious money at the project.
  • I was also a doubter about the project as proposed.

    To Deb - yes, this design would be structurally sound. As mentioned in an earlier post on this project, the design is very similar to the Twisting Torso building in Malmo, Sweden.

    I don't necessarily share the opinion that innovative architecture can't happen in Indy. It's just that there needs to be a push for it. Much like the city's movers and shakers have pushed for amateur sports and now the arts, we could have an effort here that promotes innovative architecture in building that is otherwise going to happen. It takes leadership, plus a little funding to award grants to help offset the cost of the design work. Hell, Columbus did it, why can't Indy?
  • i don't need a car to live in indianapolis.. I need a bike, my feet and busses/cabs. Having a car is a nice luxury and I take advantage of it, but it's not a necessity to live in the city for me.
  • I guess my question is what qualifications did this man have in the first place? I'd like to build a new condo at the corner of Westfield and College in Broad Ripple. Even though I'm not a developer, would I get front page billing in the IBJ for this?
  • HMPPeaceHouse (or anyone who wants some kind of 'modern' mass transit in Indy), have you been to Seattle? Well, my first time there I was shocked to learn that even the people up there are fighting a monorail because they don't want to pay for it. They're building one to the airport, and have a wee one between downtown and the Space Needle, but they rejected a comprehensive system. Furthermore, they hardly even use their carpool lanes!!

    Now, if people in Seattle, of all places, are not keen on the idea of public transit (aside from buses..their system is WAY better than ours), why do you think people in Indy would support it?

    There're some billboards on the way into Bloomington where someone wrote something clever about Mitch making a big mistake with Major Moves and how a light rail would be better. I LOVE the idea, but this is Indiana..people won't use it, at least not now. At the same time, engaging in a discussion about mass transit IS a good way to get the ball rolling!!!

    The moral of the story, in 2007, gotta have parking if you want to build a residential tower...even downtown...period.
  • i hope this can get back on its feet - it is a cool design!
  • We had accumulated a total of 15M in investor capital this is including our own investment portion...After feasibility studies were drafted and proved the project could be a success (being that the building's design, amenities and layout could justify higher rents)...we did run out of time.

    One of the lenders who we have been courting for quite ome time needed us to bring to the table 25M in equity...of that 5M was more towards unforeseen expenditures and other soft costs.

    We are still arranging meetings with private capital investors throughout the US to pull together LOI's just in case the properties are still available once enough funds are gathered.

    I do appreciate the support from all those on both blogs....

    As for parking, we do have a solution for that, but we made a sound decision not to make it public in order not to lose it to another who may be able to hinder those plans...

    And lastly, but certainly not in the least of aspects. It was my original intention not to tear down the historic Washington St properties...and with much effort we did try to conceptualize a design that could salvage as much of the facade as possible. But due to many structural issues and unknowns, it did not seem as cost effective to save it than it would to tear down...True there are many vacant lots downtown...but none available as of now that has the same amount of traffic flow and corner visibility as Washington and Penn.

    I knew and still know my obstacles before me, as one person mentioned previously...but I still remember that hurdles will always be hurdles...and can always be hurdled.

    Thank you all and take care
  • ianeck - I have been to Seattle, but that was over 25 years ago. They did have the small rail system there by the Space Needle back then. I remember marvelling at that too, LOL.

    A rail system linking the airport and downtown I think is a necessity!

    I just hope more residents of Indy and the outlying sprawl could embrace a transportation system that isn't conforming so much to the status quo of everyone owning a car (or two). And hope that someday, the conventional car/SUV/PUV/Crossover/whatever will be a transportation relic, LOL.

    Still waiting for a transportation blog from IBJ.
  • To Kevin: underground parking in Indianapolis is difficult because we have a high water table. If you get much more than one or two floors down there can be serious water infiltration issues which are can't be prevented and are expensive to mitigate. In some places in the SW quadrant of downtown, Pogue's Run is in an ancient brick culvert under the city.

    So structured parking here tends to be mostly aboveground.
  • JMarquis, thank you for the post. Don't give up! We need more people like you developing projects in Indy.
  • I'm actually kind of glad this wasent built.
    The design was amazing, but its location was all too wrong!
    This did not fit in with the urban pattern, now if it was in a different location it would probably work out alot better.
    The demolition of an 1850 brick commercial building would have also been a loss to the city(being one of the oldest structures downtown).
    I hope we get more out of the box thinking like this, but this project was an utter mess.
    BTW, I'v lived in downtown for a few years now and I rarely have to use my car.

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