This is the third design for the complex: the original announcement in October 2006, the long-anticipated and widely criticized redesign made public in May 2007, and this somewhat unexpected, under-the-radar redesign that was released yesterday. Reports indicate that Dean White, the billionaire owner of Whiteco Industries, personally selected this design from among eight that HOK and CSO Architects put together. (I'd kill to see the other seven designs...)
Since it's original concept, the total price of the project has skyrocketed from $250M to $325M to $425M. Thankfully, the public subsidy has remained constant at $48.5M, with the additional expense borne by the developers, REI Real Estate Services and Whiteco Industries. The project has similarly increased in height, from 25 to 29 to 34 stories. The final design is 373 feet tall, which will make the JW Marriott the 7th tallest building in Indy at completion.
A full set of renderings are available from the Indy Star here. The "Victory Field Angle" below provides the sole direct comparison of the three designs, as the original design provided a single conceptual rendering. The design morphed from boring cube to boring slab, before settling on this final sleek, tall, gently curving design. While not dramatically less wide or tall, the third design feels significantly more vertical than the second design. The bump in height also moves the building above the height of the general massing in downtown, a difference that should be even more dramatic given it's position offset from the core of buildings in downtown. Unfortunately, while the tower redesign is being widely praised, early indications are that the pedestrian experience has not improved. I'll withhold judgment on this until more detailed renderings at street-level are available.
Original Concept, October 2006
Redesign 1, May 2007