The 2001 implosion of Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena lasted only 12 seconds, but the downtown site lay vacant for 12 years. With the city’s first high-rise apartments in decades, however, developers Flaherty & Collins and architecture firm RTKL hope to succeed where previous plans have failed.
“Probably by waiting we’re ending up with the better project,” said Flaherty & Collins’ Jim Crossin. “Downtown Indianapolis has been getting better and better for a while.” The glassy tower is sausage-shaped in plan and 28 stories tall, its balconies staggered to create an entwined effect across the facade. “It’s a fairly extroverted design for Indianapolis,” said Keith Campbell, a vice president in RTKL’s Chicago office. “There is this basket-weave notion.” That pattern plays out at street level in a perforated brick screen wall that emits light onto the street at night. Retailers occupy nearly 44,000 square feet at street level, with an unnamed anchor tenant taking 25,000 to 40,000 square feet.
Some two-thirds of the 300 apartments will be one bedrooms. The rest will be two bedrooms. Residential amenities include a green roof on top of the podium, complete with an outdoor swimming pool and fire pits, as well as a roof deck atop the tower.
The podium features 500 parking spaces, 200 of which are earmarked for customers of the retail tenants, leaving one space per unit. The foundation leftover from Market Square Arena’s demolition prevented underground parking, but architectural screening will help integrate the street-level parking garage with its urban condition.
The $81 million project needs $17.8 million in tax increment financing (TIF) funds from the city to proceed. City Council would have to expand a downtown TIF district to include the site. Positive words from council members and Mayor Greg Ballard bode well for the local developer. Four other proposals for the site requested subsidies as well, ranging from $17.2 million to $25.9 million.
With rents reportedly between $1,300 and $2,400 per month, which would be the highest in Indianapolis, the luxury apartment tower has drawn some criticism for its pursuit of financial incentives from the city.
Crossin, whose other downtown developments have seen occupancy rates rise above 95 percent in recent years, said roughly two-thirds of the people living in new luxury apartments downtown come from outside the county. “They’re high-income,” he said, “so they’re a net benefit to the county in income taxes.”