IU Health’s new downtown hospital to feature three soaring towers

Plans for IU Health's new downtown flagship hospital call for three soaring towers. (Rendering courtesy of IU Health)

After more than six years of planning, Indiana University Health is moving forward with the next step of its new, $1.6 billion flagship hospital downtown, which will soar up to 16 floors above the street.

The health system submitted design plans Thursday with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission, and said it will begin excavating the foundation next week.

Plans call for the hospital to have three towers holding up to 672 patient rooms, making it one of the most prominent buildings in the Indianapolis skyline.

IU Health submitted two different options, of 14 and 16 floors, to the city for review. The design includes a multi-story base containing an outpatient center. Above it will be the inpatient towers, with hundreds of windows to give patient rooms natural light.

The design could accommodate a fourth tower, with a basement-level extension to the south, to accommodate future growth, the system said.

The new hospital will sit on a 44-acre expansion to the IU Health campus on Capitol Avenue, south of 16th Street. To the west of the building will be a large lawn and the new IU School of Medicine classroom building.

IU Health said the hospital is styled to be welcoming and accessible, with transparent street-level entryways featuring wood-clad entry canopy soffits. The hospital will be linked to neighboring buildings with walkways and tunnels.

Landscaped areas around the hospital would be outfitted with outdoor seating connected by walks and serpentine paths and featuring native plantings and rain gardens.

The new hospital and campus will take four to five years to complete, IU Health said. It will consolidate operations of IU Health’s two downtown adult acute care hospitals: Methodist Hospital, located just north of 16th Street; and University Hospital, located 1.5 miles away.

IU Health first announced plans to consolidate the two hospitals in 2015, and has been working on the design plans since. In 2020, it announced that it would expand its footprint by eight blocks just south of the century-old Methodist Hospital.

“The new downtown hospital will become an iconic addition to the Indianapolis skyline, representing hope and healing for future generations,” James Mladucky, IU Health’s vice president of design and construction for IU Health, said in written remarks.

The architect for the hospital is Indianapolis-based CURIS Design, a collaboration of BSA LifeStructures, RATIO Design and CSO Architects. HOK serves as executive architect.

The construction manager is a joint venture of locally based Wilhelm Construction and Gilbane Building Co. of Providence, R.I.

IU Health said that combining operations of the two hospitals will eliminate “costly duplication” of medical services and help provide more accessible care.

The oldest portion of Methodist Hospital dates to 1908, while University Hospital opened in 1970.

IU Health did not say what parts of Methodist Hospital will stay in their current location and which parts will move to the new hospital, which has yet to be named.

The Methodist campus is a hodgepodge of buildings that have been stitched together over the decades, with mismatched floor plates, uneven ceilings, and a conglomeration of electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.

The health system said it aims to award 30% of the design and construction to certified veteran, women and minority-owned businesses, and achieve at least 50% local business participation.

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11 thoughts on “IU Health’s new downtown hospital to feature three soaring towers

  1. Including a copy of the site plan would be really helpful toward understanding more specifically where the building is proposed to be located.

    1. For a hospital located just about anywhere, 16 stories would be considered soaring. And since it would technically be considered a high rise, I think the description is pretty accurate. I like the design very much.

    2. The towers – even at 14 or 16 stories – will be shorter than downtown’s Market Square Center (aka the Gold Building), the CityView building at the corner of 38th and Meridian, and both the Conrad and Hyatt Regency hotels as well as the AT&T 220 building. Stack the three towers one on top of the other and it adds up to at least 42 to 48 stories, just one shy of the Salesforce Tower. The building will be massive in terms of square footage accommodating hundreds of employees. No wonder two new large apartment buildings also will soon be rising nearby.

  2. Great addition. The consolidation will vastly improve operations. The design is appealing although ‘soaring’ infers a skyscraper akin to, at least, the Salesforce Tower. Anything less than 800 feet truly is not ‘soaring.’

    Will the people mover remain or be updated? Its function to link the separate campuses is clear. The jerky ride is subpar — this can and should be fixed.

  3. Indy really needs to capitalize on the now discontinued people mover, by connecting this new hospital to IUPUI campus, ezkenazi, 16 tech and even as far as the airport. This could grow into a smaller version of the medical campus in Houston

  4. You will rarely if ever see hospitals taller than 16 stories even in Chicago or New York. The average height of hospitals, again, even in New York or Chicago is around 8 or 9 stories. I have seen them and been in them.
    I also love IU health, they saved my life when cancer was at my door.

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