Tom Harton is reporting over at Indianapolis Business Journal that a low-rise office building project is back in the works for the NW quadrant of downtown. The building is proposed for a plot fronting Indiana Ave and Capitol Ave. This land was originally sold by the State of Indiana to Hearthview Residential in 2007 for a 30-unit condominium project with ground floor retail. Hearthview’s plans didn’t pan out and the plot was sold to McGowan Insurance Group in 2008 to be used for office space. Their plans were shelved due to poor economic conditions at the time and they now feel that conditions are better for this sort of project. Here’s what they propose to build:
Simply put, this is not appropriate.
Indiana Ave. is an important street. From the OneAmerica Building northwest to at least West St., it can and should be viewed as an urban commercial corridor similar to Mass Ave. The fact that there’s almost nothing there should not be used as an excuse to accept low density development. Instead, the lack of current development should be viewed as an asset — in many ways this area has more potential because there aren’t entrenched interests to keep density low. If anything there’s incentive to keep density high, as there already exists a high density residential base along the canal (approximately 2000 residents), not to mention the obvious proximity to the CBD. The residential density is only projected to become higher with the Cosmopolitan II and a possible apartment project at 9th and the canal on the horizon.
I suggest that any project proposed for Indiana Ave. be viewed as though it were being proposed for Mass Ave. Would a two story building with poor fenestration, boring architecture and a parking lot fronting the street be approved along Mass Ave. today? Certainly not. And it doesn’t belong on Indiana Ave. either.
According to IBJ, the design will be reviewed by the Regional Center Hearing Examiner on April 28th. More details on the design should be available online as we get closer to that date.