City mulls cuts to plaza project after bids outstrip budget

As 2015 winds to a close, several city-supported projects are in various stages of planning or construction. Here’s a rundown of some of the more notable ones.

City-County Building plaza redesign

Officials are contemplating major changes to the project, after two bids to redevelop the outdoor plaza came in over budget.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has agreed to contribute $5 million toward the $10 million cost of redeveloping the City-County Building’s outdoor plaza. But the bids came in at $16.4 million and $17.4 million.

Lilly is still committed to the project, said Brad Beaubien, acting director of the city Department of Metropolitan Development, despite the switch in mayoral administrations at the beginning of 2016.

DMD is determining what features it might be able to cut to gain efficiencies, but the project simply may need to be rebid in the spring, he said.

The city was expected to request $5 million in tax increment financing funds from the Metropolitan Development Commission to complete the project.

The remaking of the public space on the north side of East Washington Street is set to include a splash park and ice rink, a cafe, game area, presentation platform and outdoor seating area.

IndyGo transit center

There also are significant issues across from the City-County Building with IndyGo's transit center, a 14,000-square-foot hub with 19 bus bays under construction on the southeast corner of Delaware and East Washington streets.

The transit center was supposed to be finished in November. But the timeline has been pushed back until June, after construction crews earlier this year discovered a building foundation and artifacts on the southwest quadrant of the site.

The archaeological work and delays have increased the project’s cost by about $5 million, pushing the total to $26 million, IndyGo spokesman Bryan Luellen said. IndyGo will pull from its capital cumulative fund to cover the additional costs.

A federal grant originally covered $13.5 million of the cost, with the city picking up the rest of the tab.

21c hotel

Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels is set to finalize a project agreement with city officials by the end of the year.  

“We’ll have the financing closed and then it will just be a matter of them getting started on the project,” said Adam Collins, deputy mayor of economic development.

21c plans to build a 150-room hotel on a surface lot north of Old City Hall at 202 N. Alabama St. as part of a $55 million redevelopment of the building. The company will receive a $9.1 million loan from the city and an $11.3 million federal loan through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help finance the project.

The city also is contributing $2 million from tax-increment financing funds, which will be paid back, to help arrange for private financing for the $9.1 million loan.

Mass Ave land swap

A lot of moving parts are involved in this massive project, which ultimately sets up construction of a $50 million, five-story apartment building on Massachusetts Avenue dubbed Montage on Mass.

The project is set to be built on land now occupied by an Indianapolis Fire Department station and the Firefighters Credit Union at the intersection of Mass Ave, North New Jersey Street and East Michigan Street.

Fire Station No. 7 has moved to its new station house built adjacent to the existing American Red Cross building at 441 E. 10th St. The Red Cross is set to move to its new headquarters early next year at 1510 N. Meridian St., enabling the fire department’s headquarters to move to the then-former Red Cross building on East 10th Street

The Firefighters Credit Union on Mass Ave next to the old fire station will move to a new building under construction west of the existing Firefighters Union building at 748 Massachusetts Ave., near College Avenue. Once the credit union moves, construction can begin on the 236-unit Montage apartment project including 36,000 square feet of retail space.

Developers J.C. Hart Co. Inc., Strongbox Commercial and architect Schmidt and Associates won design approval in November from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. Yet to be approved by IHPC is a plan for a “digital canvas” on the building

360 Market Square

Following a few issues with subcontractors briefly walking off the job earlier this month, construction on Flaherty & Collins Properties’ $121 million apartment tower is back on track.

The 28-story building should start coming out of the ground in January, said Jim Crossin, Flaherty’s’ vice president of development.

“Work is full steam ahead; our schedule has not changed,” he said.

The skyscraper being built on the parking lot northeast of Market and Alabama streets where part of Market Square Arena once sat calls for 300 luxury apartments, 500 parking spaces and a Whole Foods specialty grocery.

Completion is set for June 2017. The city has agreed to contribute up to $23 million in financing for the project.

Cummins distribution headquarters

Construction crews have topped off the nine-story Cummins Inc. building downtown and are beginning to install the glass façade.

The Columbus-based engine maker unveiled the design of the $30 million global distribution business headquarters in December 2014. But in August Cummins received approval from the city to reduce its height from 10 stores to nine after the company determined it didn’t need as much space.

New York-based Deborah Berke Partners is the architect for the project, which sports a contemporary design.

Indianapolis-based F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. is the contractor on the project, which should be finished in late 2016.

The Coil

Browning Investments’ $37 million apartment and retail project along the Central Canal in Broad Ripple is under construction, with work under way on the structural support system, company partner Jamie Browning said.

The development, dubbed The Coil after one of the first families to settle Broad Ripple, will feature 150 apartments and a Fresh Thyme specialty grocery.

The City-County Council approved issuing up to $7.75 million in bonds to assist in the development. Browning Investments plans to use $5.7 million from the bond issue to help finance the project. A $1.5 million bond to rebuild Tarkington Park on Illinois Street north of Meridian Street is tied to the development.


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