Sunday, November 11, 2007

Development: This 'n That

Three Mass Ave: the pit continues to grow. At this point, I think they're still just removing dirt and shoring up the pit walls. Very soon, we may see some concrete for the underground parking garage.

Cultural Trail: the Alabama St. paving is largely done, just some work left at the intersections. Signs indicating bike and pedestrian sides of the trail (and other information/directions) have been attached to the lights. If the weather clears up this week I may try to grab some pictures.

O'Malia's: the renovation work appears to be in the final stretch. The "wine room" where the cooking school used to be is really shaping up nicely. The temporary shelves have finally been removed, opening up the huge windows in that room (though I like the additional light, is this good for the wine?). An interesting paint job, very different than the rest of the store, has been added to the walls -- you'll just have to check it out. One thing that really pleases me about this renovation is that it hasn't been completely converted into a generic Marsh. There are elements of the "stock Marsh" but you can still tell it's O'Malia's.

Paramount Tower: if you missed the update below, the big news from Cory Schouten is that the Paramount Tower proposal is being moved from its original location on Illinois to the NE corner of Michigan and Capitol, directly across from the Gibson Building. The height has also increased from 11 to 16 stories and an on-site parking lot has been added to the proposal. This figure is included with the IBJ article:

The gap along Michigan St. is an old 3-4 story building that I believe is currently occupied. A 1-to-2 story building on the North St. side appears destined for demolition.

Legends District - SODO: a huge $480M project has been announced for 11 acres of downtown bounded by South St., Madison Ave., the CSX Railroad Line and Merrill St. This is very preliminary and many, many things need to fall in line for this to become a reality. Still, it represents one of the most exciting announcements for downtown in quite a while. The addition of urban-style big-box stores like Target, Best Buy and Dicks would be huge for downtown residential development. The absence of these kind of retail optons is one of the major gaps in downtown living that keep some people away. Here is a rendering, with Madison Ave. in the foreground and South St. at the far left:


Unknown said...

3 Mass: I start work in the neighboring Hammond Block building in January. I really hope they have parking done by then. Also I hope they don't knock over my office in the process.
Paramount: Happy to see more apartments downtown. Though I wonder if that parking lot could possibly be enough for a 16 story 200+ unit building. I would have thought buying the neighboring garage and adding on would have been a better option than a tiny surface lot.
As for Legends/SoDo, wow. Just wow. I so hope that works out. Its almost as if someone out there has been reading all our comments and actually thinking they were good ideas! But does it have any realistic chance of succeeding as a 100% private development? I'm worried it won't get off the ground without some support from the mayor's office, which looks unlikely at this point.

CorrND said...

You're going to work in the Hammond Block?! LUCKY! That building is gorgeous. Have you seen any pre-renovation pictures of that building? It was quite a piece.

Kevin said...

A grand vision that will bring more people downtown (not just to visit, but to live) is always a good thing. And as much as I dislike visiting big box stores, the lack of them is usually listed as a minus by people who want to live downtown.

CorrND said...

I agree, I'm no fan of big-box stores. If mom and pop stores were offering everything people needed (even across many stores) I'd never want a big box downtown. But for many categories, there really isn't any option -- where do you buy an HDTV downtown? -- which simply means that there's a retail gap. I say fill it up.

Jim said...

I don't completely understand those who say they won't live downtown because, for example, there's no Target here. We shop at the Super Target on Southport Road, and it only takes us 10 to 15 minutes to get there from the 30th block of North Meridian.

One of the reasons that I like living in the downtown area is that it contains unique stores, restaurants, and cultural attractions. In other words, it's not the suburbs. It has character. It's not a bland, never-ending reel of strip malls. Perhaps that makes me an urban snob, but so be it.

All that being said, I could live with a few big box retailers in the downtown area as long as downtown doesn't become inundated with them. A Target would be about the only store that I could see downtown needing as far as big box stores are concerned, as Target is a store that contains frequently needed items. But Best Buy or Dicks? How often are you going to buy an HDTV? Once every five years, if that? How often do you need to buy a pair of gym shoes? Why is it so hard to to head to Castleton, Glendale, or Greenwood to buy these things if you don't have to make a trip to purchase them frequently?

CorrND said...

jim -- you've got wonderful points there, but a couple I'd like to touch on.

1. I also shop at the Southport Target and as infrequently as I do (maybe bi-weekly), I wish I didn't have to do it it at all. A bit selfish, but true.

2. I don't think asking everyone in Indianapolis to shop in Castleton, Greenwood or even at Glendale Mall is a good answer. I hate those areas, particularly Castleton, with a red-hot, fiery passion. But beyond my somewhat irrational hatred, is it a good idea to tell people living within 3 or 4 miles of downtown that they should drive 10+ miles each direction to shop for essentials? Is that a good long-term, environmentally sustainable plan?

3. I absolutely agree, the unique character of downtown is the main draw for me. But I would argue that if there's a spot in downtown that seems ideal for this sort of thing, this is it. It's currently a sleepy, non-residential, drive-through fast food, backin'-up-to-the-tracks, forgotten section of downtown. I say allow a couple big boxes in there, concentrate them, force them to conform to urban design and then never let anymore in downtown.

4. The fact that this project calls for adding to downtown culture with a theater is a big plus in my book.

CorrND said...

Aside to Steve (or other wheat beer fans) -- I had a tasty wheat at Rock Bottom last night. The board described it as "Unfiltered German Hefeweizen with hints of banana and clove." Mmmmm....just the way I like it. Also, their seasonal Hoosier Ma Stout is currently an Imperial Stout.

Jim said...

Definitely see your point re: environmental impact. And I agree that allowing a few big boxes that conform to urban architectural styles in a confined area would be fine.

Perhaps my judgment is just clouded by my seething hatred for the post-WWII American suburban explosion. :) I grew up in the burbs of Chicago and wanted to escape them as soon as possible because of their stultifying dullness. As a consequence, I don't want to see downtown transformed into a "burbs lite" version. Looking again at this SoDo project with less of a biased eye, it doesn't seem to me like that's what the developers have in mind. So, I think I can live with it.