Local firm plans five-story, all-timber office building in Broad Ripple

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gershman office project in broad ripple
An early rendering of the Madera project in Broad Ripple. (Image courtesy of Gershman Partners)

A local developer plans to spend about $20 million to construct a five-story, all-timber office building in Broad Ripple, a block west of the Monon Trail.

Indianapolis-based Gershman Partners is seeking city approval for a variance of development standards that would allow the project on the east side of the 6400 block of Ferguson Street. Construction would begin in mid-autumn.

Eric Gershman, president of the firm, said negotiations are ongoing with a prospective anchor tenant for the 56,375-square-foot structure. He declined to name the group or say how much space it would use, but said it was not expected to occupy the entire building.

The ground floor of the building would be comprised of a 34-space parking garage, bicycle parking and a lobby. While floors two through four are being marketed for single tenants, the top floor is expected to be split into two office spaces with a common area and a 2,600-square-foot rooftop deck. 

The building’s design features mass timber and cross-laminated wood, with concrete floors on every level. Such a design is rare for larger commercial buildings.  The exterior would be wrapped with glass, steel, zinc and other materials.

“The tenant is driven by design, and we care a lot about design, too,” Gershman said. “So this is kind of a marrying situation—like-minds trying to do something really unique up there.”

StructureCraft, a Canada-based firm, has been hired as a contractor and would provide wood harvested and grown in that country.

This would be the firm’s first project in Indiana. It also has worked on the high-profile T3 building in Minneapolis—the tallest timber structure in the United States, at seven stories—as well as projects in Atlanta and Nashville.

The Gershman building would be about 60 feet tall. The firm doesn’t yet have a name of the project.

Colleen Fanning, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association, said in written remarks to IBJ the design is one of several favorable factors for the Gershman project.

“Many aspects of this project are exciting, especially the addition of high wage jobs, evening and weekend public parking, quality of building materials and architecturally unique design,” she said.

The project is expected to be heard by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals in early June. It has been continued from its original hearing date of May 12, Gershman said.

The company is requesting a variance of development standards for several issues related to the site, including permitting fewer parking spaces than required—73 total, including a 22-space paved lot to the south of the structure and 17 street spaces.

The building normally would be required to offer 105 parking spaces.

The project would occupy four parcels between 6407 and 6419 Ferguson St., currently populated by a few short-term rental houses and the former business offices of White Orchid Salon and Simon Sefton’s Farmers Insurance practice. The buildings would be demolished to make way for the project.

The four parcels are under contract, said Gershman, who declined to reveal the price. The firm is working toward finalizing a construction loan in the next few months.

The proposed development would sit immediately west of an unrelated Gershman project in the now-vacated Books & Brews  building at 6420 Cornell Ave., which faces the Monon Trail. Gershman acquired the property in mid-February for $750,000.

The firm is still determining how it plans to redevelop the site.

In addition to various city approvals, the office project must receive an OK from the BRVA’s land use and development committee, which gave preliminary feedback in February. Fanning said a public hearing will occur before the committee takes a vote, but did not say when that might be.

This Gershman development is the second major office project to be proposed in the Broad Ripple area since late 2018. In November, IBJ reported on Indianapolis-based Eight Eleven Group’s plans to move to a new five-story office building at 6207 North College Ave.

That project received city approvals earlier this year, although permits have not yet been pulled, according to city records. Local firms Chase Development Inc. and Veritas Realty are co-developing the project under the name Midtown Development Partners LLC.

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17 thoughts on “Local firm plans five-story, all-timber office building in Broad Ripple

  1. Interesting building that could work in many places. It’s a shame, however, that the original cottage residential-style properties are being removed in BR. The point of BR was that it offered a more “home-grown” look and vibe. The “village” could have gone for a funkier version of Zionsville, keeping what was unique to the neighborhood while adding to it without destroying what made it interesting in the first place.

  2. This is Precisely the positive development that Broadripple needs to support a rebirth of local restaurants and retailers to the area. Mass Avenue and fountain Square have benefited by the enormous daytime traffic within a mile of their location. On the other hand Broadripple, without sufficient daytime population, restaurants and retailers struggle in comparison. Approve this project and redevelop Broad Ripple HS into a Tech incubator and watch the village blossom into the Austin, TX of the Midwest!

  3. Yeah, how is that “density” plan working for you Broad Ripple? Another idiotic development. It’s time to strip “Village” from the Broad Ripple now.

    1. Based on the influx of office tenants, people to sustain businesses, and relatively healthy neighborhood economy, I’d say pretty great.

    2. Yes, another deal that will be pushed through without much thought given to it.

      Make the Developer replace sideways on both sides of Ferguson Street, Re-pave Fergusion Street and repave the Alleyway -as part fo the Development Commitments.

      Also -Lower the height &n Design the Exterior to look better.

    3. So, Marcus would prefer we tell a developer to 10x their budget, do what a board of non-architecets thinks they should do, and tell people who want to spend their money making Broad Ripple better to deal with it?

      This is why BRip is dying…. not because of the bars…

    4. Those of you who are “anti more people living in your neighborhood”. I can understand that not everyone likes to live in a bustling city.
      But can you just move to the suburbs? I mean, Indiana deserves to have at least on real city right?

  4. Oh boy, more condos and density. Fanning would support a two story outhouse, and the purpose of the BRVA is useless. Wasn’t Ms. fanning instrumental in the sell off of a portion of Broad Ripple Park? Yes, take the word “Village” out of the equation, that was lost long ago. Also, I see no way you can ever compare Broad Ripple to Fountain Ssqare.

    1. You are sadly mistaken and misinformed. And the personal attacks are inappropriate, shame on you.

  5. More employees in the area, more people going to restaurants, bars, shops, no parking issues, cool design. Seems like a win to me. People will always complain about something. It’s 2020 y’all.

  6. Can this building design be any uglier and non-distinct? Not against the development per se with some size, height, parking scale / restrictions… the aesthetics are just plain & boring…and with that size in the rendering, hardly appropriate for the neighborhood.

  7. Progress proceeds with a few leading and others kicking and screaming behind. Design mods are possible, Ugly and beautiful are subjective. Indianapolis is not very dense. One building does not create density. More condos, more development and more traffic is perhaps not a bad thing. No condos, no development and no traffic means no growth, no life, no revenue and no future.

  8. This is all about scale. This building would look great along 465 but doesn’t fit in in Broad Ripple, which is much more walkable and accessible than an office park. And what’s the point of building it out of wood if it looks like its built out of concrete and steel? Seems like if you want to make a statement (whatever the statement is), that the building should reflect what you stand for. This just looks like another glass and metal office building.