New Mixed-Use Structure Proposed for Mass Ave’s East End

The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission has posted renderings of a small, 3 story tall infill building next to the former R Bistro on the East End of Mass Avenue:

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These are the types of infill projects that are the signs of a healthy corridor. Historically, there used to be a similar sized building on this lot, but it is much rarer to see new construction of this type of footprint.

Comments 31

  • I’m not a fan of the design. The scale is appropriate. But, there are too many varying materials and the fenestration seems incomplete in placement and composition (particularly the second floor punched openings). Structure articulation is expressed and ignored at the same time (note the tube columns visible through windows).

  • Finally, an infill project which utilizes a small space with proper density while using a mix of materials. Too much BLAND construction with newer projects…especially in our all too often ‘beige’ downtown! I just wish it were 1 story taller…but market demand is a real thing.

    • I think you figured it out already. The market demand constrains what they can fit into the parcel in terms of Floor-Area Ratio, while still providing the 2 spaces per unit that they apparently feel are necessary. Unfortunate that the development couldn’t remain marketable with one parking space per unit–then it could potentially add two more by building upwards. But the price point for which they are looking to lease (or sell?) these units may demand certain amenities, such as two off-street parking spaces per unit.

      Market demand is funny though. These tiny, mixed-use infill projects rarely take place because it’s so hard to find the “sweet spot” of meeting high demand (which probably results in an expensive parcel), charging enough to get a good ROI and still finding room for the accursed parking.. If a development like this fails to secure a tenant for one of the three spaces after a year, it will essentially remain only 66% occupied, which would be a horrible track record and potentially bad enough to cause the developer to default on the loan.

      Props to the Battistas for making this effort. In many ways, this is a more remarkable achievement than an 80-unit apartment building going up along the canal, or Fountain Square, or wherever.

  • We need a lot more of this type of thing to fill in the “missing teeth” all around downtown Indy.

    • Love the “missing teeth” metaphor. Very apt.

      Battista is a reasonably savvy developer, right? So he must think this height is all the market will bear with Coca Cola redev or has some other reason in mind?

      • I know very little, but I think once you get above a certain height, you need different construction methods, elevators, etc that can drive up the price quite quickly and blow budgets. Additionally, if you don’t fill the space in a timely fashion, that can bog down finances.

        I think Tom is pretty savvy but he is also very incremental. I don’t think I’ve seen him with more than one project going on at a time and this is the first new construction I remember seeing from him.

    • yeah we need infill… kinda like this… to fill out all the missing teeth, but objectively look at this project and (ignoring the fact that it’s infill on a small lot) can you really say this is a good project? it’s haphazard and cheap.

      • Yes, I can say that. The people doing it have a track record which is easy to access. They do quality projects. This will be another.

        • Quality isn’t the issue, aesthetic is…. I have no problem with anything else about the project. Only the materials and how they were used. It’s desperate, sloppy and thoughtless, like a milhaus project or something a highschooler would produce…

  • If they are going to make a cool statement with this development at that corner by too getting rid of another empty lot they might as well go with 4 or 5 stories , heck 3 is kind of like a waste of space, this is one of those nice looking developments like the Cummins tower but built too short, but the thing is , it hasn’t been built yet so they still can add hight if they choose too.

  • We also need it done in other parts of The City as well I’m for Density our Farmland is being ate by not have The Proper Spacing of Developing These new Buildings however I been hear One America has plans for skyscraper of 60 stories how about That for Downtown Indy Rumors.

    • 60 stories, that’d be nice!
      Hopefully more design thought would go into it than for their ugly, concrete hulk of a garage!

    • this makes literally zero sense on so many fronts

    • You seem confused. Maybe you meant that Salesforce was going to build a tower. However, that was canned and they are now leasing all of Chase Tower.

      • Salesforce is not leasing all of the space in the Chase Tower – only 250,000 square feet out of a total 905,000 square feet the building has. Chase will continue to maintain a major presence there, but Salesforce will become the larger tenant which gives it the naming rights.

  • What a god-awful abomination, did a freshmen at notre dame design this?

  • Update: The renderings have been updated in the latest IHPC report. Thoughts?

  • I liked the matching-ish upper brick color in the last version. The colors are meh now.

    My favorite view is the view NE from the SW (like from just outside Mimi Blue. The bay window like second floor bump out makes it feel like an old corner store. For an example, look at the building on the NE corner of College and Michigan.

    • Totally agree. It looks like they took several steps back. Subjective in nature – “it looks cheaper”. I am also attempting to think about what this would look like with the proposed Hendricks property behind it.

  • In regards to the IHPC June staff report. I would love for this forum to discuss the development found on page 101.

    Moreover, I can’t believe the following comment, “The design goes too far mimicking a historic building.
    She suggested using more materials and not so much brick.”

    • That comment is crazy. Maybe the most crazy thing I’ve ever heard from IHPC.

      As for the development on p101, I liked the first proposal a little better design-wise, but was glad to see the parking changed. The remonstrance letter looked like a copy/paste job though: Wah, density and mass. Wah, burden on neighbors. Wah, not fitting in the context of the neighborhood. Wah, 35 year old preservation plan. I mean, maybe a few of those are legit concerns, but seriously every remonstrance letter looks the same.

      • The bottom line of the letter was that they deserve to have the city enforce a single family only zone in their neighborhood regardless of A. being a mile from downtown B. It is not currently close to single family only C. Dense apartments built up on the street intermingled with houes was VERY common in this era and there are examples of it in this very neighborhood.

        • Sorry – Paul I’m not following you. Please elaborate.

        • I seriously love the irony that spilleth over when modern people in historic neighborhoods try to turn it into a country club in the name of “historic preservation.”

          The reality is, as you point out, that historically (like 1920s historic, not 1980s historic) urban neighborhoods were dirty, dense, noisy, busy, mixed use, mixed class, mixed race etc.

          Fun example: People in Lockerbie have some misplaced notion that the Glove Factory was not at one time a glove factory or Real Silk was not a real silk factory or Mill No 9 was not just one in a series of nine saw mills or… and so on and so forth.

  • This is not exactly on topic but can we have some sort of annual/quarterly contest for best and worst developments in Indy; Existing, New, in process and Never Built?…. just to throw a little praise/shame on projects that are deserving. I really want to rank the crap out of the blobular “vue” on college and the giant abomination that’s going up on mass ave that wanted to have a digital billboard, and metazoa brewery’s college ave facade (is that crayola red brick or is it painted on?), and also praise Slate, Marietta, Milhaus HQ, Hinge etc.

  • It’s a decent-looking endcap that is needed for the current space. Design is not bad but nothing spectacular. The scale is good but I would like to have seen an additional floor. The developer is quality, and it’s encouraging that they believe it to be a good investment.

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