Former downtown bus station in transit to transformation

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The owner of a downtown building near the Indiana Statehouse that originally housed a Greyhound bus terminal is transforming the dated structure into modern commercial space.

Philadelphia-based Amerimar Enterprises since 1999 has owned the six-story building at 151 W. Ohio St., along with the 22-story 101 W. Ohio tower to the east.

The Greyhound structure was built in 1965 and was home to the bus station until 2001, when it moved to 350 S. Illinois St. south of the Crowne Plaza hotel. The building totals 77,000 square feet of commercial space, including the ground floor and basement level. Floors 2 through 6 are used as a parking garage.

The Indiana Department of Education occupied nearly the entire leasable space before leaving in 2013 for the PNC Center at 101 W. Washington St. It’s sat mostly vacant since, complete with out-of-date drop ceilings and other not-so-attractive features.

“We were hoping to lease to one tenant again, but that didn’t transpire, so we had to reinvent ourselves,” said Renae L. Breitbach, an Amerimar executive vice president charged with leasing the building.

Amerimar declined to divulge how much it’s investing in the renovation of the building. Part of the work involves removing the drop ceilings to showcase the exposed ductwork, in addition to restoring much of the original terrazzo floor.

On the outside, the two windows at the corner of Ohio Street and Capitol Avenue have been removed, creating an exterior opening to the building for an entrance to Indiana Interactive LLC.

The company, which moved from Market Tower, is in temporary space now at the Greyhound building but will serve as an anchor by agreeing to take 11,000 square feet. Indiana Interactive, a division of Olathe, Kansas-based NIC Inc., built the IN.gov website for the state and manages it.

“Our team is excited to make the transition from a traditional tower to the more open floor plan offered by this first-floor, mid-century property,” Indiana Interactive President Sloane Wright said in prepared remarks. “The building has numerous great original design aesthetics that have been covered for many years, which through reuse will help to create the type of open, bright and functional space we were seeking.”

The main level, including the Indiana Interactive space, totals 45,000 square feet. Amerimar hopes to land a couple of restaurant tenants and has handed those leasing duties to Brian Epstein of the Urban Space brokerage.

“We have multiple restaurant concepts looking at it,” Epstein told IBJ. “That quadrant is highly dense, from an office standpoint. You have a lot of foot traffic in that area.”

At the rear of the building, Amerimar plans to install two overhead garage doors, to open Indiana Interactive’s space to the outside. A small, indoor basketball court also will be installed for employee use.

Besides the 500 spaces available in the building’s parking garage, 65 street-level spaces are located at the rear and adjacent to the building—an unusual amenity for downtown.

The renovations began in October and should be completed by the end of March. Axis Architecture + Interiors is the architect on the project.

“It is exciting to see it change from traditional office space,” Breitbach at Amerimar said.

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