Sour market slows Penn Arts work

September 9, 2008
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Developer Christopher
                              PiazzaDeveloper Christopher Piazza says "difficult market conditions" have led to a delay for his $3-million renovation of the Penn Arts building at 16th and Pennsylvania streets, but the project still is moving forward. Piazza and his firm, Reverie Estates LLC, hope to close on a construction loan with a local bank in October. They are working with locally based Keystone Construction Corp., which is slated to perform the work. A Keystone official said the firm has subcontractors lined up that "could start literally on the day" Piazza closes the loan. Piazza bought the building from JAB Real Estate Investment Group LLC in January for $1.4 million. The Penn Arts is Piazza’s seventh apartment building since launching his company 18 months ago. Piazza, a 2005 graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, plans to add a gym and sauna to the building and also will give it a new façade. The 82-unit building will become 45 luxury apartments. Locally based Halstead Architects is designing the project. Piazza also owns Village at Fall Creek, Monon Court and Essex Apartments. An earlier post is here.
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  • I wish you and your company all the luck Mr. Piazza! The downturn makes getting ALL loans more difficult.
  • I'm sure the construction companies are willing to start asap...not much work out there for construction companies these days
  • How much can you actually do to 45 luxury condos and a commons area (including a gym and sauna) for $3 million?
  • Why not keepe this apartments??
  • They are staying apartment..........
  • Go Piazza!! Can't wait to get going on this!
  • I don't care.
  • This seems to be a great project and will add vitality to the area.

    Oh, and by the way, Dustin doesn't care! Did you hear that everyone, DUSTIN DOESN'T CARE! Guess that means he's taking his lack of interest elsewhere. Oh joy.......
  • I'm glad this building is being re worked. I lived there in the late 90's and really liked my apartment except for the teeny tiny kitchen and small closets. I moved mainly due to space, but also because my car got broken into.

    I would rather though, that they try to keep these apartments for a middle class. Why does everything have to be luxury? When I moved from Penn Arts, I had wanted to stay downtown but just to upgrade apartments a little and could find nothing I could afford. I left downtown and haven't been back.
  • Are there plans for retail in the storefronts on the street level?
  • How much are they going to charge for rent there?
  • I believe I read that Piazza was placing their offices on part of the store front level.......I don't know about the other part though
  • duh...why I thought (and obviously didn't read) this was condos....
  • I live nearby. I'll be surprised if this ever happens. The area is not yet right for either condos or luxury apartments. It would be nice but I don't think it's there yet. And what about parking for these units? If I'm going to pluck down money for a luxury apartment I would sure want to have secure parking available.
  • $3 million in renovations... plus the original purchase price. He's not building from scratch so it's not as expensive (generally..providing they don't find any major structural problems). Downtown needs more apartments. I don't think luxury is over the top as it is now used to describe any apt building downtown with secured doors and a fitness room (take the Continental, where I lived a few years back...great clean apartments, pay extra for secured parking so I was in a a free open lot, fitness room and laundry in the building made it luxury). The waiting list is long for such apartments, and rents aren't outrageous.
  • I'd be surprised if they could do justice to the building or luxury anything for 3M. I've worked on some concepts for this building in the past, utilizing low income housing and historic tax credits to keep it in the affordable housing market and they didn't work. It needs a lot of work. And what about requirements for accessibility. Minor accessibility requirements and the exterior restoration and new windows would easliy reach 450k-650K. I'm guessing 3M represents a quick fix up job and a marketing image sign that says
  • I'd be surprised if they could do justice to the building or luxury anything for 3M. I've worked on some concepts for this building in the past, utilizing low income housing and historic tax credits to keep it in the affordable housing market and they didn't work. It needs a lot of work. And what about requirements for accessibility. Minor accessibility requirements and the exterior restoration and new windows would easliy reach 450k-650K. I'm guessing 3M represents a quick fix up job and a marketing image sign that says luxury.

    At 3M, once you subtract the common area work, the exterior work and windows, first floor spaces and storefront, I'm guessing you are somewhere in the $45-$50 a square foot for renovations to the units. If that much. That would mean not much of any moving of walls (so not much bigger closets), same kitchen configurations, cheap kitchen cabinets, carpet as far as the eye can see, dropped ceilings to accomodate MEP, or exposed duct in an already low ceiling space, and maybe even textured drywall ceilings. Of course they'll have the exclusive chinese granite countertops (juperana gold I'm sure). That said, these will be right in line with downtown Indy's luxury apartment scene. Remember, it's all about the lifestyle image you promise in your marketing literature.

    Seriously, It would be nice to see this move forward. The market downturn is a great opportunity to renovate many of our historic apartment buildings. The smaller size units play right into the notion we all need to live a bit smaller in these times. It's a very good approach to start from where historic preservation is considered. It might even allow for some consideration of sustainability. It would be great if some of our renovation work in this town had some longevity built in. What better use for a historic urban apartment house, than an urban apartment house. The parking for that can be solved a lot easier than for any other use.

    I'm guessing, but does Piazza own the property or just have a development agreement in place? If so, how long till it is up.
  • I've heard from more than one experienced developer that there is NO debt financing out there. If he can pull this off, that will really say something about the young man.

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