Tower manager proposes 4th Artsgarden skywalk

September 16, 2010

The property manager of PNC Center is moving ahead with plans to finally connect the building to the Indianapolis Artsgarden, which stretches over the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets.

Reit Management & Research LLC, based in Massachusetts, made a presentation Wednesday to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission for its plans to build an enclosed pedestrian walkway between the downtown structures.

The $1.2 million project would be half-financed by the Greater Indianapolis Bond Bank by using tax increment financing from the downtown district. Reit Management intends to start construction early next year and finish by mid-2011.

Connecting all four corners of the Washington-Illinois intersection was the original plan when the Artsgarden was designed more than 15 years ago. No one currently associated with the project could say why the fourth connector has never been added.

The Artsgarden opened in September 1995, connecting Circle Centre mall on the southeast corner of the intersection with Claypool Court on the northwest corner.

Attention after the mall opened focused on attracting a retailer to open on the northeast corner of the intersection, where the Conrad Hotel now stands. When the hotel opened in 2006, it was connected to the Artsgarden.

Reit Management said the connection is important to the success of the 16-story PNC Center, previously known as National City Center and Merchants Plaza. The company has been sprucing up the interior and front of the office tower since it took over management nearly three years ago.

It has had to compete more aggressively for tenants because it inherited a gaping hole left by mall owner Simon Property Group, which moved its headquarters one block away to a new building at Washington and Capitol streets in 2006.

“We’ve taken great strides to improve the property,” said Dave Buchanan, the Reit Management official who oversees the PNC Center, which includes nearly 625,000 square feet of rentable office space. “And we recognize the importance of the connector,” he added.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is scheduled to discuss Reit Management’s plans—and the city’s financial commitment—on Oct. 6.

PNC Center is owned by HRPT Properties Trust of Boston, which bought the building in 2005.


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