Lugar Tower Renovation and Expansion Breaking Ground

IBJ reported this morning that Flaherty & Collins broke ground today on their new $30M residential project at Lugar Tower along Ft. Wayne Ave. This project involves a renovation of the existing tower building and new construction around the base of the tower. The new construction phase will take underutilized green space and an existing ~50 space parking lot along Ft. Wayne Ave. and build 74 apartments units with 110 total parking spaces. The parking is a mixture of types, with 20 parallel parking spaces along a new entrance road, 34 tuck under spaces (ground floor garages accessed from the interior of the site) and 56 spaces in interior surface lots around the site.

A siteplan for Flaherty & Collins new construction at Lugar Tower.

The Regional Center Hearing Examiner (RCHE) — a regulatory body charged with ensuring that projects built within the Regional Center adhere to the Regional Center Design Guidelines — approved the project on May 26th. This project was to be given the final green light by the Metropolitan Development Commission on June 15th, though it doesn’t appear on the hearing docket. It’s unclear where that stands. The next MDC hearing is July 6th and it’s likely to be heard then.  EDIT 7/1: the case is on the recently released July 6th docket.

A rendering of the new construction at Lugar Tower looking south at the new entrace off of Ft. Wayne Ave.

Flaherty & Collins is no stranger to proper urban design, so RCHE approval was almost a foregone conclusion. The one area that is disappointing is the treatment of the ground level along Ft. Wayne. Retail buildings periodically dot the street front along most of Ft. Wayne’s short four-block run and it would seem fitting for commercial space to have been included in their plan. Unfortunately, Flaherty & Collins has included no leasable space in the ground floor. The Regional Center Design Guidelines recommend “highly active grade level uses” but the RCHE stated that this was “Satisfied with amenity space, leasing office and club house.” Though that particular aspect is not very satisfying, overall this is a well-designed urban infill project.

What do you think of this new project?

Comments 12

  • Amenty space and clubhouse might activate it, but leasing office does nothing except provide a front door for people to come in and chat. Couldnt something like that have been included elsewhere on the premises? It seems like a failed opportunity to create a mixed use environment when there is an expecation of adding more residents to the area. Why not create an opportunity to serve them? Otherwise, I agree that the property looks like it will be a welcome addition. Good massing, right up to the street, pedestrian scaled (at least compared to the tower itself).

  • This project is good, not great. We all have to remember how it feels to pay for 3.20 gas right now: GREAT OF COURSE. This project has proper massing and finally fills in under-utilized green space that left this area feeling desolate. Proper planning for the future, however, should have created commercial space fronting Ft. Wayne Ave. Why can’t these spaces be planned for in the future without having to spend so much $$$$ to fix it 3-5 years down the road. There needs to be an innovative way to bring artist studios with a tax break or something for the forst 3 years while the market adjusts…NATURALLY with people living in these places. Just plan for it instead of taking the easy way out. I will tell you though, this space being filled in with anything is better than nothing. 3 stories seems appropriate.

  • Will these apartments be leased at market rates or are they subsidized low-income units?

    The section of Fort Wayne across the street from this project is blighted or underused,but chanches when you move toward the St. Joseph section of Alabama where there are dozens of townhomes, apartment buildings, and businesses. Personally I would have prefered to keep the green space at Lugar Towers in favor of building a similar project on these blighted lots, but I understand this is government land and that changes the equation.

    In the perfect world we will see the improvements at the base of Lugar tower spur projects across the street.

  • The Lugar Tower project should be welcomed. While I would not describe the current site as an eyesore, the time is certainly ripe for Lugar Tower site become part of the downtown development scene.

  • Jeff, the current site is not an eyesore, like you say. But there is reason you, myself or most people never use the green space. Indianapolis people have this romanticism with ‘green space’ just for the sake of it seeming idyllic, I believe. What’s the use of green space without proper density…like much of Downtown Indy? People & proper architecture create spaces…not green specs on maps or plans. This area feels desolate because of the poor architecture = no sense of community.

  • Strange Michah, you have a different threshhold for urban aesthetics than I do. The land sandwiched between Ft Wayne and Alabama nearest the interestion of those streets IS blighted and underused. Single story structures, unoccupied, chain link fence, cracked parking lots. No question there. So I prioritize development on blighted space over land containing suitable development or greenspace. It’s logical. I have no romantic idea of it, you just inferred wrong.

    Having said that, the development at Lugar Tower is welcomed for all the obvious reasons. I advocate for increased density throughout the city (esp Center Twnshp) fairly consistently.

  • This project is nice, but wouldn,t you guys say and agree that indy needs to start building more 10,15,and even more or a few 30 plus story apartment towers downtown, not only is it good for our sky line , but also meets the growing population of indy. ,and those would like to live downtown but prefer mid to highrise liveing especialy those who have moved here from other big cities chicago,new york ect. It would also create a choice for them, And yes guys, even the past market square arena redevelopers also proposed highrisers on that site, the city leaders also wanted 20 or more stories their as well. So like the chicagoes detroits, cincinnatis, louisvilles and the rest its long past the time for the midwestest (2ed) second. largest city to get on point., and start building more highrises for indys sake. I will have a part 2 on this reply shortly.

  • To me, if developers don’t feel they can actually lease the space, they could develop the groundfloor in a way that can easily be converted if/when the market changes.

  • Se; josh thats the problem with indy downtown developers, they go by the market or ecomy type stuff as aposed to the new yorks,chicagos,miami,minniapolis,etc. they build to suite ,a developer in those cities sees a vacant lot or space , puts a vision to his or her project and has it built, office or resadential regardless of the situation ,They know the property will eventually be filled fast or slow, just ask donald trump , with demand high in downtown indy for more residential you would think developers would zero in on open ugly spots in the heart of downtown for more midrise type projects 15 stories plus, build to suite add much needed stock to the citys skyline for that person,persons,business men , and those looking to relocate here sees a new tower for lease and quickly grabs the space for their needs the same with resadential meeting the demands of a fast and forever growing city.

  • I am a baby boomer who lives downtown and wants to stay there – but when I retire, I can no longer afford the rent of my current apartment. Developers should take this into consideration when building housing downtown. Not everyone has a large 401(k), pension or savings. However, we all need some place to live.

    The perfect apartment would be at least 675-700 sq ft with a small balcony or patio, on a bus line and near a grocery and drug store. If you don’t believe me take a survey.

    becca – a booming baby with just 7 more years to work.

  • PS,

    Plus, I love the walkability of downtown and the location of Lugar Towers is perfect. I can walk to my church. So, if you are not going to ad more units, then you are wasting precious space!


  • My Govt. Spec. bldg is managed in just-about the awfullest way imaginable.

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