Tower would offer balloon rides

December 8, 2008
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Balloon-ride towerWow, you leave on vacation for a week, and miss this: Two Indianapolis businessmen are hoping to build a balloon-ride attraction within a 20-story, tubular steel tower. The French-designed "Aerophare" would not only be an instant landmark, but could give more lift to the city’s $3.6 billion visitor and convention industry, Chris O'Malley reports in this week's IBJ. AeroPhare America has had initial discussions with management of White River State Park—the firm’s preferred location for the $2.5 million structure—about building it there. AeroPhare America owners Tim Coughlin and Tony Sandlin are scheduled to present their vision to the park’s board later this month. At the base of the structure, which measures only about 50 square feet, would be a small theater featuring a history of balloon flight, perhaps with packages tailored to schools. Admission would be in the range of $4 to $8 a head. The owners also see potential for advertising revenue. The tower can be used to put on a light show, and a football-shaped balloon could be ready in time for the 2012 Super Bowl. What do you think? More than just hot air?
  • Gay. LOL. This is about as cool as the giant arch planned for the near Northwest interstate corridor.
  • Please no! I don't care about it's aesthetic value since many landmarks aren't initially considered attractive. But what I do care about it that it's only twenty stories tall so it wouldn't be a must-see view. Plus, there are already a couple of these in Europe and the Indianapolis-based company that bought the American rights has plans to put many of these in American cities, so it wouldn't be unique.

    If they do build it the city should require them to put some money into an escrow account so that, in ten years when there are thirty or forty of these things across the United States and Canada and everyone has been there and done that and ridership drops to nothing forcing the company into bankruptcy, we will be able to tear this embarrassment down without using taxpayer money.
  • I agree with would be cool for a few years and then when the novelty wears off no one will use it........
  • better than a giant corn cob. :gomers:
  • Bungee Jumping 2009. My 2 year old might think it's cool though :)
  • I dunno, it looks easy to tear down if they decide not to use it.

    My question is... How does that hold up to the harsh Indianapolis winters?
  • The perfect attraction/placeholder for the gravel parking lot across Alabama St. from the CCB.
  • Duh Hooey: You should know. All you have to do is bend over and that corn cob will fit perfectly.
  • Yikes, see what happens when Cory goes on vacation. Hey, don't do that again... :)
  • Very cool idea. A hot air balloon ride is way too expensive so this would be affordable. Think of all the convention folks that come to town that might take a ride.

    Great way too see the entire park.

    Does the IMAX have an escrow setup with the city?
  • Sure, why not. My question is will the city have approval over the design? Anyone want some action on this thing having a yellow/black checkered veneer with a faux stone base?
  • Where as I don't see this as an attraction for local residents, neither are a lot of attractions that go into cities. I think this would have a lot more use than one would think. Families at Vic. Field for a game can walk over, people could use it when there is a concert going on at WRSP. Conventioners would go. Hell I would go once as a date or something. I agree it needs to be more than 20 stories.

    Who cares if it attracts for only 5 years or so. If it got people to use the park and come to indy cool. If it caused them to stay downtown - awesome. Why can't this be the start of more for WRSP. I always thought it would be cool to have a drop zone or mini rollercoaster over in that area. Heck Broad Ripple park used to have the worlds largest outdoor swimming pool, and a roller coaster in it! Lets liven up the WRSP and not just put memorials in it.
  • Berwick guy:

    IRL fans: Gomer
    Tenderloins, overalls, PBR, corn on the cob, Sarah Meatball Fisher, Tony George..

    Real race fans: Not Gomers
    Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Wine, (expensive) Cheese, F1 Grid girls...

    enuf said buddy. :lol:
  • Da Hooey:

    Ok, I'll give it to you, I laughed out loud on that one. But, hey, don't forget the tater tots, it's an Indiana tradition!
  • I know it's slow out there but c'mon! Is this it? Is there nothing else noteworthy and more real estate related than this?
  • If you are interested in some former car dealership real estate, I can hook you up cheap. :lol:
  • I'm sorry to be a buzzkill but...a ballon trapped in a cage? A balloon that wants to soar but is trapped in a steel prison? Emblematic of a city that doesn't have high aspirations for itself and prefers to stay safely ensconced in the known? It doesn't look fun, it looks pathetic and impotent. We don't want that as an image of our city!
  • I think this is STUPID.
  • Please help us.
  • Looks like a fun little think. Nothing wrong with that. Not everything that is done in a city ahs to ICONIC and the biggest best thing that ever people have too much time on your hands to think about nothing. Kind of reminds be of Urbanophile.
  • I somewhat agree with Donna. Don't cage it. Why not have tethered blimp rides? Have the blimp shaped as a football for the Colts season or the Superbowl. Have reservation time slots for small groups to have a catered dinner or wedding in the air. Work the same line as, but in a climate controlled enclosed blimp booth, not on a crane.
  • needs to be taller so you can see more.
  • J.J. - so are you in the fifth grade? What an ignorant response.

    j. j. Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 11:36 am
    Gay. LOL. This is about as cool as the giant arch planned for the near Northwest interstate corridor.
  • I farted and the smell reminded me of this stupid ass website. Every time I post something relative to an article, the dumbass Chris Houten finds pleasure taking my posts off. Why don't you get a real job Chris. You're an idiot.
  • oh correction, I meant to say it was CORY. Conservative freak.
  • Conner Prairie is already planning a tethered balloon ride. Not sure why we would want potentially competing experiences. Granted, there is some difference between the two - aside from a cage vs. a tether. It will be a view of downtown vs. a view of Hamilton County neighborhoods.
  • Brian, read the entire article in the IBJ. Tethered ballons do not work year round as would be needed to make money.
  • The tethered Balloon would be better and go higher, but the winds would keep it on the ground most of the time. A tethered blimp would have the same problem.

    Why in a cage??? Becasue of the winds.

    Have you ever been 200 feet in the air in a basket? If not you dont know how much you can see.

    Got a better idea that would only take a 50 x 50 area in the park and cost the park and city absoluelty nothing? These guys have thier own money...let them try it and see what happens. If it fails they can move it to another location at their own expense.

    Like INDYman the entire article....
  • I agree with Sean Carney, it would be something different, and I have been up in a balloon in a basket there is a lot to see at 200 ft. I might use it once or twice, but I would be one more thing that I could take my out of town guest to see and they could get a view of the city. Hot air balloon rides are too expensive and unpredictable weather prevents many rides.

    It would be GREAT at white river park, but that is a slow to move organization. Five others will have bids in before they ever get their heads out of the dark to see the thing.
  • ugh. the first comment is probably more offensive than this caged balloon. STFU, J.J.
  • Oh great, so now gay is offensive but STFU is not? Get outa here.....
  • berwickguy Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Oh great, so now “gay” is offensive but STFU is not? Get outa here…..


    And by the way, nice homophobic corncob joke in your earlier post.

    You seem like a very angry and bitter person. But don't get outa here,
    just get some help.
  • Obviously DucthEastIndie does not know what STFU means in IM/Text/Blog language... because, yes, STFU would be offensive as well... DutchEastIndie, think of that acronym a little bit in your head
  • Nice how gays seem to be offended by any reference to the word that they might not like, yet they are too often quick to call the offender homophobic. We all need to lighten up and quit looking for ways to be offended when there is no intent to offend someone. Sorry Dutch East Indie, not bitter, just realistic. You might give it a try sometime.
  • The corncob reference, and I'm assuming, was not a homophobic comment - just you wanting to think like that. The Corncob comment was in reference to a potential tower or monument or attraction that I think was once proposed for along the river in the WRSP area. I think Cory has posted a picture on here before when once talking a bout the Circle Truss and other Gateway pieces. It may have been in the Urban Indy or Urbanophile Blog
  • It's not the corncob structure concept that could be interpreted as offensive to gay people, it's the comment by Berwickguy that described what could be done by Da Hooey with the corncob that was offensive.

    And I'm sure by gay jj meant, totally cool.

    Both offensive references, and neither really necessary for a blog about real estate. I'm not a prude, but I personally don't appreciate bigoted, ignorant, or demeaning language directed at or about particular groups of people. And if you didn't know they were offensive, you do now. Learn from it.
  • Thanks for self-policing, folks! Let's keep the discussion on topic.
  • Self policing? Get serious!

    1- I know what STFU means. I'm not an idiot. When did I say that wasn't offensive? I only commented on someone's childish use of the word GAY.

    2- I know what the corncob was. A observation tower design by Pelli for the White River State Park. Again. I'm not an idiot. But why does Berwickguy post about it going up someone's anus? Latent thoughts, anyone? 2nd bad assumption.

    3- I am not gay. I just want to keep homophobia out of these posts. There
    is no place for that amongst adults. GROW UP. For anyone who's counting, that's 3 bad assumptions about me.

    So Cory, this so called self-policing has resulted in at least three false assumptions being made about me. Sounds like great work on everyone's part. As moderator, maybe you should take a more active role in that regard.

    P.S. Thank you GobnaitX and Ehtan!!!
  • Wow. Ignorance. Never thought I'd find it in Indiana *sarcasm*

    bewickguy, go back to your tractor and take a few more laps around the corn field. The adults are talking.
  • Get off the gay thing everyone...your train of thought is derailed.

    This idea is just plain goofy. If anywhere, put it at the State Fairgrounds....seems more appropriate for this literal pie-in-the sky idea.

    Kudos to Chris -- let's give them somethin' to talk about.
  • Great, tractors and corn fields, quite a reference. For those of you who don't follow Mr. Duh Hooey and his critical comments, he' s always talking out of his rear end and it gets old. That comment about the corncob is to shut him up, that's all. Again, someone's always looking at ways to be offened when no offense is meant. Must be insecurity ruling.

    And by the way, any time a developer has an idea for a project and can use his own money to do so when it draws an audience, that can't be all bad. Let's just hope that the park overseer's have enough information and the proper insight to make an informed decision about whether this balloon project should move forward. At least someone is trying to do something positive in bad economic times.
  • Why not a 3/4 scale replical of the London Eye?
  • Good call Brian! I have always thought a Ferris Wheel would be a great draw at WRSP!!
  • So, how far CAN you see 20 stories up in the air? I bet it'd be a great view, but from inside a cage?

    About the Conner Prairie balloon thing: it does seem like we wouldn't want or need competing experiences. Plus, with regard to tethered balloons being grounded for winds, Conner Prairie is basically only open during fair weather months anyway, so would it really be affected??
  • Late to the discussion, but I agree with Brian about the London Eye. As I read down this thread, I was picturing a cool Ferris Wheel like the Eye. And while a balloon in a cage might be copied eventually, it doesn't hurt its merits right now. Time was, the ferris wheel was a total novelty. Now they're everywhere, but as Brian noted, you CAN reinvent the wheel. I'm all for being critical, but at some point we have to move things forward.

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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.