Thursday, December 20, 2007

Development: JW Marriott, Take Trois

The big news in the Indy development world is the release of new renderings for the JW Marriott complex. This hotel is the final cog in a long-term plan to reposition Indy to host more and larger conventions. An analysis by Price Waterhouse Cooper in 2003 called for doubling the size of the Indiana Convention Center -- made possible by the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium and razing of the RCA Dome -- and the addition of a single, 800-1000 room "headquarters" hotel. A JW Marriott hotel proposal was selected in December 2006 to serve as that hotel. Coverage of the hotel redesign can be found here, here, and here, with commentary available here and here.

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
Redesign 2, December 2007

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the first design best. It looks like they even took the design of the stadium into account designing it.

That guy wearing the orange shirt is always there. You'd think he'd wear red once in a while.