Local Red Cross unveils plans for new headquarters

The American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis has unveiled plans for its roughly $10 million headquarters to be built on North Meridian Street as part of a larger city land-swap deal.

red cross building on meridian 225pxThe building, with the Red Cross logo displayed prominently on the exterior, would total 44,000 square feet and be large enough to accommodate the not-for-profit’s 64 employees. In addition, 151 parking spaces would be provided.

IBJ first reported on the multi-step site swap in March, which would make way for a $43 million apartment and retail development on Massachusetts Avenue.

Plans call for the Indianapolis Fire Department to take over the Red Cross’ headquarters at 441 E. 10th St.—about four blocks north of the existing IFD complex at the intersection of Mass Ave, North New Jersey Street and East North Street.

To make way for the fire department, the Red Cross would build its headquarters at the former home of the Payton Wells car dealership at 1510 N. Meridian St. The dealership closed in 2007 and the building was demolished in January.

The Red Cross also plans to demolish a two-story building to the south at 1440 N. Meridian St., the former home of WXIN-TV Channel 59, which moved to Intech Park on the northwest side in late 2003.

The final step would have a team of local developers—J.C. Hart Co., Schmidt Architects and Strongbox Commercial—construct a five-story project with about 235 apartments and 40,000 square feet of commercial space on the 1.45-acre Mass Ave site vacated by the fire department.

Renderings of the new Red Cross headquarters, designed by Schmidt, show the building clad in brick and metal wall panels with large windows on both levels.
The Red Cross hopes to begin on the project by the end of the year and be finished in early 2015.

The city is paying the Red Cross $8 million for the East 10th Street property and floating it a $2.3 million loan to purchase the North Meridian Street land, CEO John Lyter said. The not-for-profit will still need to raise about $4 million to finance the project, he said.

"I don’t want to say [East 10th Street] is a bad location," Lyter said. "But one thing we look at, being right on the bus line is important for people who need to do anything at the Red Cross. That’s a great location."

It's also a few blocks north of the Red Cross' former local headquarters at 11th and North Meridian streets, which is no longer standing. It moved to East 10th Street in 1967. The local chapter was founded in 1916 and had been on North Meridian Street, in three different locations, until the move more than 45 years ago.

The city’s Regional Center Hearing Examiner is set to hear the Red Cross’ plans Thursday. Because the site is within the Regional Center overlay district, the project needs to comply with Regional Center Urban Design guidelines and requires initial approval by the city’s hearing examiner.

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