2016 Year in Review: $260M development planned for Mass Ave

The Indianapolis Public Schools board in May approved a recommendation to sell 11 acres downtown for redevelopment to Hendricks Commercial Properties.

Wisconsin-based Hendricks presented the boldest bid for the land at College and Massachusetts avenues where the former Coca-Cola bottling plant sits. As part of its $260 million proposal, Hendricks plans to build 337 apartments, 339,400 square feet of office space, and 67,225 square feet of retail. It also plans to construct a 132-room hotel and a 41,000-square-foot cinema.

West Elm, the housewares brand owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc., said in September it will operate the hotel and rooftop bar in the former bottling plant.

Hendricks will pay IPS $12 million for the site. “While not the highest [price], [it] represents a strong balance when holistically considering the bids,” an outside committee wrote to the IPS board.

Hendricks is purchasing the property from IPS but will enter into a project agreement with the city. Under the arrangement, if Hendricks can’t complete the purchase within one year, the city will buy the property for $12 million.

Other bidders proposed paying $2.1 million to $18 million but offered smaller projects. The next-most-expensive bid, from Strategic Capital Partners, came in at $217 million—or 16.5 percent lower. Four other bids—two from Milhaus and one each from Browning and Hagerman Group—also competed for the IPS property.

Some competing developers and neighbors argued Hendricks’ proposal is too large for the neighborhood. But IPS board members chose to trust the outside committee’s input, leaving the city to wrestle with the scope and design of Hendricks’ proposal.

The proposal will receive scrutiny from both the Metropolitan Development Commission and the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.•

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