Your turn: MSA

April 18, 2007
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Only two teams are competing to redevelop the Market Square Arena site, fewer than many had expected. Both proposals call for mid-rise projects that would include retail and residential components. Check out the renderings and more details below. What does everyone think of the proposals? Which one do you like best? Are you surprised there aren't more competitors?
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  • First, nice blog. Nice to see IBJ getting on the ball!

    As an architect, I know that presenation drawings are sometimes a far cry from the final product. But design wise, one proposal has my attention and the other is ho-hum. The EEK design has some intrigue that I'd like to see more detail on. It's not your typical suburban style design and has some depth to it.

    The Target-anchored proposal, however, is very suburban. Nothing unique about it, really.

    In terms of practicality, the Target-anchored proposal probably interestes downtown residents and workers more, with it being the chic big box retailer.

    I think the city should explore using different developers on each block.
  • I agree with Jason266: The city should definitely use different developers on each block.

    The two architectural styles presented would be much more interesting if contrasted against one another.

    The Target building is much too short. The EEK proposal is set too far back from the Alabama St. R.O.W.

    I was hoping to see some sort of connector/better integration with the City Market. This development has the potential to make the City Market really come alive.
  • While I agree that there should be different developers on each block, it shouldn't be either of these. Neither of these designs are worth building. Shelve the sites until the demand increases and a better design can be achieved (but that won't happen because the Mayor will look bad). All one has to do is look at development in other peer cities to see that Indy is getting the short end of the design stick.

    It's quite apparent that the Mayor doesn't care about the built environment. First the convention hotel and now this.
  • I'm very disappointed there were only two proposals submitted. This particular site should be able to garner the attention of regional and national developers.

    This site represents a prime location in a highly desirable downtown market. I cannot understand why more developers would not have interest.

    Perhaps the cycle of handing project after project to local development firms has deterred out-of-state developers from pursuing these particular development opportunities in Indianapolis?
  • Okay, here's an idea...

    One developer gets both plots and designs something that can link over Market Street (yes, again), artistically creating a mirror image of the architecturally unique statehouse building.

    This would also create a sort of gateway to the circle corridor from the interstate.

    I've lived in Indy all my life, and I've always enjoyed imagining what Indy could look like in the future. Just throwing out an idea. (Any execs listening?)
  • Both of these proposals fall short of what should be the expectation of anyone interested in the prosperity of our city. This project/site has the opportunity to further propel downtown and fuel development on the near east side of the city for years to come. Its high visibility from 65/70 to the east should really put Indy 'on the map'.

    The MSP proposal....hold on---(yawn)--- ok, I'm back, will blend in with majority of the other buildings in the Indy skyline. While seemingly bigger in size, it misses the target on modern-day mixed use building design. On the upside, the green building feature is a plus, and should be pushed by the city. Good size, though everything but exciting.

    While smaller, the MAP rendering seems to integrate the retail component well. It is a much more interesting design with radius walls, metal panels, terrace/balconies, etc. Target as a retail anchor is exactly what downtown needs. This would fill a gaping hole for this market downtown, and also draw interest of many other tenants. Retail is what draws people.

    If anyone partly to blame for us waiting years to get to this point is still involved, any land they own or control should be purchased followed by their ousting from the project team. The city cannot allow any more snaggles, financing or otherwise.
  • Look at our peers....no reason we shouldnt be able to compete with 'cool' comparable cities, even those smaller in size: Charlotte, Austin, Portland to name a few. Has anyone seen 210 Trade going up in Charlotte? (210trade.com). While Indy cant absorb something of that magnitude, no reason this project shouldnt draw the same 'wow' factor on a smaller scale. Too bad the downtown office market is sagging, preventing inclusion of another component.

    Remember what Circle City did for downtown in the 90's? This should be THE PLACE to work, live, eat, shop, etc. for our entire city.....a sort of 'mixed use mecca'. I'm afraid both fall short of these aspirations, though I'm sure the city will take the most economically viable option at this point simply to get out of the ground. But at the least challenge the design and push for a strong retail anchor before trudging forward.
  • I meant circle center.....
  • I believe that thinkingbig and Kevin are totally missing the point. Forget the size of Indianapolis vs other cities. The economy here is stagnant and totally different. Carolina stuff sells for about 50% more /sf than Indy condos and that alone allows projects like 210 & others to happen. Big investors have been pulling out of Indianapolis for a decade, to the point that a lot of our buildngs are now owned by California and Florida private investors instead of the big companies that are needed for big projects like MSA. Why weren't there more bidders? Because Indy is about 80th out of a 100 for places in invest.

    Thinking big is great. Hoping to be cool because we deserve it is unrealistic. The way we get to the top of the ladder is to climb it. The first few steps have been taken with past downtown development, but now we need to earn the middle of the ladder. Go with a proven team that can attract or invest money (in addition to City money) and choose the team that can really pull this off.

    I know Lauth does high-rises. Has Kosene ever done anything taller than 4 stories?
  • I've lived and worked downtown for four years and I guess I have a different perspective. The most important thing is not how the building or buildings look from the Interstate, but how well the site integrates into the downtown lifestyle. The city should focus on finding something that draws people to the eastside, leading to additional private development along New Jersey and East streets. The key to Circle Center's success isn't that it's a 'wow' building, but that it draws people and has contributed to significant development along Meridian and Illinois. The city should go with the project that is likely to bring people and their charge cards to a part of downtown that basically shuts down at 6:00 when the work crowd leaves. That certainly appears to be the MAP.
  • Kudos to Market-Ability Partners for proposing energy-saving elements like green roofs. It's working well in Chicago and it's about time Indy started implementing something that benefits not only the bottom line but our health as well. There design proposal shows more promise than the glass boxes proposed by Kosene & Kosene.
  • I would have to agree with tired of driving... in regards to getting people to come to the eastside. However; design and appeal is also important. I commend the city for making the Marriott group to change their design for the convention center hotel to be more appealing and they should do so as well in this case.

    The retail portion, which should be mix, of the MSA project is very vital to the success of this project for the city. I think working with the outside parking lots and open space that we currently have and focus on trying to develop those areas should be the next in the overall progression of downtown Indianapolis.
  • Boring architecture for both plans(par for the course in Indy)
    The green roof is nice but what about greenspace on the gound?
    Go for the Target but make it integrate to the urban landscape. No big box.
    We don't need big buildings, we need distinctive buildings that people recognize (think Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, LA, Miami. Even Louisville)
  • Basically, I agree with what others have said about the archictect's renderings of the MSA site proposals. Neither are terribly exciting. The Kosene proposal might be slightly more interesting, but not a lot more. I'm not sure what a changing colors box on top of the building adds. As a downtown resident, the more exciting feature of the two is a Target store. I'm all for that. If Kosene can incorporate a Target somewhere, somehow in what they plan, then I'd say go for that. But still, neither proposal from an architectural standpoint excites me.

    What about the revised convention center hotel plans? What's happening there? Does anybody know?
  • See the post, No deal yet on JW Marriott, on April 19. If they have a new rendering, they aren't sharing.
  • Cory, you hearing anything on the MSA site? Wasn't a decision supposed to be made in July? If it goes to Kosene, I hope they are required to tear down the bank processing center immediately as part of the deal. An empty lot there would be better than that eyesore.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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