Sad news: Cosmopolitan burns

March 12, 2009
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A $33-million apartment and retail project along the canal downtown caught fire early this morning. The Cosmopolitan on the Canal project, by Flaherty & Collins Properties, had been nearing completion on a site bordered by the canal, Senate Avenue, Michigan Street and North Street. The three-alarm fire broke out around 3:30 a.m. and also damaged the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana building. More than 100 firefighters had the fire mostly under control by about 7 a.m., and no injuries were reported. But it appears one of only a handful of mixed-use developments downtown in recent years will be a total loss.

IBJ has more coverage here. Fellow blogger CorrND has posted photos at Dig-B.
  • So sad! I was looking forward to seeing a lot of foot traffic in that area and along the canal. The building looked great from a distance the way it was positioned. I'm in the AUL building and enjoyed watching out of my window the progress they made. I hope they are able to rebuild and don't just write it off as a loss.

    Not a good time to not have good Cash Flow coming that they may have anticipated this spring. Hope that doesn't cause any damage to their bottom line and force them into any financial trouble!

    Thanks for making a great attemp F&C, we welcome your development back!
  • What a terrible loss for downtown. I am so sad right now.
  • Cory, a slight correction: this was a 218-unit luxury apartment development, not condos.
  • Any word on arson?

    What a loss for downtown right now. This was a good project that had the potential to transform that area of the Regional Center and stimulate more development nearby.

    I hope their insurance covers a rebuild.
  • Why did it burn so fast?
  • It burned so fast because the upper floors were constructed with wood.
  • This was likely a very unfortunate accident related to temporary heat. We just experienced a very cold evening and day after a weeklong warm-up. Many trades at this point in construction require temporary heat. This is sometimes provided as propane burners or salamanders that can be dangerous. Any other speculation of nefarious activity is unnecessary.
  • There have been numerous housing developments downtown in recent years. However, it is one of the few apartment developments recently, which I think is what you meant.
  • The Star is reporting that F&C plans to rebuild on the site!
  • And while you are looking at CorrND's excellent photos on his Dig-B blog page, scroll down and compare them to his February 10, 2009 photos. They show the Cosmopolitan as it looked just a few weeks ago. Sad, it was really shaping up...

    On the other blogs and e-mails, everyone is suggesting the worst and referencing the bad real estate market as a cause. I hope it was just an accident and it will be rebuilt.
  • We live in the adjacent neighborhood and were awakened by three loud pops around 3:00 a.m. IFD did a fantastic job of managing the situation and we were glad to see 120+ firefighters on the scene!

    If F & C rebuilds, perhaps they will think twice about a multi-level wood structure ...
  • The owners are already announcing plans to rebuild, so hopefully that will quell speculation about the fire being economy-induced.
  • Truly sad, but hopefully they rebuild. Big thanks to IFD for their fast work in saving the Historic Landmarks Foundation and keeping this from being a bigger loss.
  • I second SE Guy's thoughts on the cause. Temporary heat would be needed for a lot trades going through the project ritght now (exterior masonry, drywall mudding and plaster) that, once finished, would have made the building more fire resistant. Additionally, I doubt the sprinklers were active yet. While, obviously, this isn't the best construction type from a fire stand point, it is not unsafe once complete.
  • Sprinklers were not active yet.  Temp. heat was in use in a portion of the building only as many units were in final finish. 
  • Yay! They are going to rebuild!
    Another short-lived stimulus for more jobs in the trades sector in Indy. I'm glad that they are sticking around. This is - and will be a very nice project once they complete it again.

    F&C a few months back stated in an article that they were fine financially. This was not Malicious in any form - pure construction site mishap. Hopefully. Glad to hear they are coming back though. I had a friend that was going to move in there, wonder what will happen to people that have already agreed to move in.
  • They were installing carpet in some units, getting ready for May occupancy and the sprinkler's weren't active yet!? That sounds plainly ignorant.

    I was once an intern in Portland, OR, where a five-story, condo building my firm was working on, situated on a city block in the warehouse district, burned to the ground in 2 hours overnight. It was entirely wood framed, and only had 2 floors of drywall completed. Boy was that an inferno.
  • Let's also be thankful that to my knowledge no one was hurt or killed. If this building was going to burn down, I'm glad it was a couple months before it was completed instead of a couple months after. It's still a big blow to this city, but if the reports are true that they are going to rebuild then more power to them!
  • I'd hate to be the insurance agent for the contractor who left a salamander running unattended overnight.
  • Any news on whether Mo'Joe Coffeehouse across the street is OK?
  • Other than being bummed that they aren't going to have an influx of neighbors next door ina few months, I think they were okay when I went to go park earlier this morning. I think the trucks were in between that building and most of the fire was in the middle to back portions, not the front section near MoJo's
  • Other buildings in the area were damaged or checked by inspectors (windows, roofs). Also, I was visiting an office in the AUL building and there were flames still shooting up at 11 a.m., which really shocked me. There were still 8 ladder trucks that I saw from my vantage point.
  • Nobody hurt: Most important thing to remember.
  • Amen to that Da Hooey, and here I am agreeing with you again! Indy Fire Dept did a superb job.
  • build it with wood and fire takes it away,build it with metal and scrapers take it it with bricks and and concrete and it would still be there least we still got senate manor.
  • Burn baby burn....
  • Even though the developer has stated they will re-build, I have a frightening vision of this being tied-up in insurance litigation. The result would be a half burned out shell of a building becoming an eyesore over the next few years. I hope not, but I'm just saying...
  • I've noticed that a lot of these multistory buildings are using a lot of wood in the upper floors. I figured they knew what they were doing though. Maybe we should rethink how we build these kind of buildings instead of using two by fours and plywood. Advance Indiana's blog has a pretty good take on this. If everything on the canal is built like this maybe we'd be lucky if the whole area doesn't burn up like the Fire of London.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry.

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).