College and Massachusetts: A Critical Intersection

The corner of College, Mass, and St. Clair has been on my radar for years now, as it currently features one solid newer building and 5 open lots:


Recently, there have been a few different proposals to change the status quo on the corner, which could become a critical link between downtown and Broad Ripple. First up is a mixed use proposal on the Southeast corner by Milhaus, which appears to be a solid infill project:

Image Credit: IBJ Property Lines


On the southwestern corner, a much-less inspired proposal was recently tabled by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.  The proposal included a surface parking lot at College and St Clair, and a drive-thru credit union.  Keeping the plaza with the artwork on the corner might be ok, but not at the expense of asphalting prime real estate.  Besides, I’d rather see a good flatiron building at that corner.  So I hope this proposal gets a major overhaul.

This corner has a potential to be even better than this similarly shaped 6-sided intersection on State Street in Madison (note the modern glass-sided flatiron).  It can be taller since we are basically building from scratch. Even with all of this activity, there are still 2 empty corners on the northeastern quadrant.  If nothing else, I hope to see that ridiculous dedicated right turn lane from Mass Ave to College lopped off, but I would love to see new buildings in those locations as well.  Further northeast, of course, is the Art Deco Coke Plant that is currently an IPS bus storage facility, but that’s another subject for another time.

Comments 8

  • I guess “taking no action” can be seen as “rejected.” What IHPC essentially did (according to the linked IBJ article) was voice concerns and take no official action. I think the design of the building has a lot of positives, but have major issues with the drive thru at this particular location. It just makes no sense.

    The newest version of the original Milhaus designs are certainly an improvement (thanks IHPC for pushing them hard), but something about the facade still screams institutional to me. Maybe it won’t do so in person.

  • I agree with the institutional comment above. This corner is too prime for a building which tries to “represent the past” in any way, shape or form. Once again: brick for bricks sake. To developers and IHPC: Please let the architects do their jobs. Is Mass Avenue a cultural district?

    • Yes, Mass Ave is an officially designated cultural district. But, why do you ask? The reason IHPC has authority over development in the area is because Mass Ave is a historic preservation district, not because it is a cultural district.

  • Anyone know who owns the remaining 4 lots? I assume the credit union has one or two and IPS the one next to the bud depot? What about the northeast corner?

    • According to the Property Owner data that I have access to at work, the far NE corner is not owned by IPS, but a realty company. The other NE corner is owned by a partnership that also owns the Art Bank. There are some opportunities for building there in each case, but especially on that far NE corner.

    • I’m not sure who owns it now, but I believe at one point Finish Line owned the NE corner of College and Mass Ave and was going to build a store.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *