Elanco’s new HQ project nearing city approval, with a few issues outstanding

Elanco Animal Health is working with Ratio and CSO architects on its headquarters campus at the former GM stamping plant. (Rendering by Ratio and CSO, courtesy of Elanco)

More trees. More windows. A dozen or so bicycle racks.

Elanco Animal Health Inc. should address those items before winning city approval to start construction on its  proposed, new $100 million-plus global headquarters at the former General Motors Stamping Plant site just west of downtown Indianapolis, according to a staff report by the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission.

The Greenfield-based company will lay out its headquarters design Thursday before a hearing examiner, who will rule on the project. The new headquarters has received wide support from city and state officials, including Mayor Joe Hogsett and Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Elanco plans to build a six-story, glass-faced office structure on 35 acres, in a huge project that will include attached laboratory, collaboration buildings, a three-story parking garage, and an outdoor event lawn and courtyard building.

The project is billed as the initial phase of a mixed-use development on the 93-acre site, and could include offices, commercial retail, restaurants, hotel, multi-family dwellings, flex manufacturing and state park use, according to a 42-page report prepared by the Metropolitan Development Commission staff.

The company, formerly part of drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. before spinning off as an independent company in 2019, broke ground in April for the new headquarters.

Elanco announced plans to build on the former GM site more than one year ago after being wooed by city and state officials. The company said it plans to put at least $100 million of its own money toward the project.

The city has committed about $135 million in tax-increment financing bonds, approved in July by the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission. About $64 million of that TIF package will go to Elanco via a project fund, with $51 million going toward public infrastructure improvements and another $20 million used for financing and debt.

The Metropolitan Development Commission’s staff has recommended that the project be approved, on the condition that Elanco address the following items:

  • Elanco did not submit a detailed landscape plan, although the proposed renderings identify “areas of landscaping.” The MDC staff suggests Elanco plant an unspecified number of additional trees along the Henry Street front of the office building, and that the company submit a landscape plan for review, prior to installing landscaping.
  • The office building’s first level along Henry Street should include additional windows as close to the ground as possible to “soften” the building.
  • Elanco did not identify any bicycle parking. Under city guidelines, bicycle parking is required for commercial development at a ratio of one space per 10,000 square feet, which would work out to 22 spaces for Elanco’s proposed 220,000-square-foot headquarters project.
  • Detailed window information was not submitted. The staff recommended that Elanco submit window information before receiving a permit.
  • A photometric plan, detailing light standards for the site, each entrance and pedestrian areas, was not submitted. Elanco should submit a plan before receiving a permit.

A company spokeswoman said that “no material changes” are expected in the design unveiled at the groundbreaking, and the company expects to begin construction before Nov. 1.

“We’re still focused on designing and constructing a global HQ which will be fit … for a flexible workforce with emphasis on innovation and collaboration,” spokeswoman Keri McGrath wrote in an email.

In addition, she said three-quarters of GM’s former crane bay has been removed from the site. The White River State Park plans to transform the remaining one-quarter portion into an event center, she said.

As part of the overall plan, the existing route of the White River Parkway West Drive would be moved west of the existing route and would front the buildings to the east. A new section of Henry Street would be constructed along the south of the site and would front the office building and parking garage.

Elanco’s office building will be primarily glass and steel. The building materials will also include Indiana limestone, iron spot brick, metal panels and cross-laminated timber.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is scheduled to rule on the headquarters project on Oct. 5.

The city will build all the internal roads on the campus, with a year-long construction schedule slated to begin in November. It will also pay for a new Henry Street Bridge, connecting the campus to the larger downtown area. Construction on that project is expected to run from July 2023 to November 2024.

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2 thoughts on “Elanco’s new HQ project nearing city approval, with a few issues outstanding

  1. Im not too impressed with this project. For $100 million, guess I expected a more grand design, let alone a much taller tower. This looks like something you’ll see at an office park in Carmel or at Keystone at the Crossing. The tower at Keystone at the Crossing is actually taller than the proposed Elanco Hq. When hear HQ, it just seems it would mean something more dramatic than a basic office building.

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