Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Regional Transportation Plans

As many of you are already aware, the Central Indiana Transit Task Force today released a comprehensive plan to guide transportation planning in the Indy Metro area. Plans for commuter rail lines to Fishers and Greenwood and a light rail line along Washington St. are getting the lion's share of media attention, but everything from expressways to bike lanes is covered. More information on the plans can be found at the new Indy Connect webpage. They did a particularly nice job with the promotional video, so here it is again:

Curt over at Huston Street Racing was able to attend the press gathering for the event and will no doubt have an update for us at some point.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This N' That

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. While there has been noticable progress in the last few months on projects already underway, we're seeing the effects of the economic downturn in that the pipeline for downtown Indianapolis projects is essentially empty. Government-backed and institutional construction continue while private development is nearly non-existent downtown.

Marriott Place
-- The Fairfield Inn (occupying the completely renovated 8-story building that formerly housed a Courtyard by Marriott) officially opened its doors today. The Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites, housed in a separate 14-story tower, are slated to open later this month. The 1005 room, 34-story JW Marriott hotel tower is topped out and the curtain wall is very nearly complete (as always, you can watch the construction progress on the project webcam). Keep in mind that a year's worth of internal work remains to be completed before the cornerstone of this project opens in 2011.

IUPUI -- While the previous two-to-three years featured a significant round of construction projects at IUPUI -- including IU/Clarian Fairbanks Hall, Walther Hall (aka Research III), the Simon Cancer Center, and the Riley Hospital Tower expansion -- those projects were largely wrapped up (or delayed in the case of Riley Hospital) by the beginning of 2009. This left IUPUI in a rare period of zero construction for the better part of the year. IUPUI kicks off 2010 with a brand new round of projects, with the Glick Eye Institute and new Wishard Hospital under construction on the west end of campus and the California St. Parking Garage under construction on the east end of campus. After 11 months of delay, Clarian recently announced that they will resume construction on the Riley Hospital Tower expansion.

A rendering of the Glick Eye Institute.

A rendering of the California St. Parking Garage.

Cultural Trail -- North Corridor construction progressed through the end of the year, though cold weather has brought work to a halt and left the project in an odd state. The segment from Blackford and Indiana over to St. Clair and DMLK Jr. is largely complete though it remains blockaded due to the fact that utility poles on St. Clair are still located directly in the path of the trail. It's unclear why these poles were not relocated prior to construction. The segment from St. Clair and DMLK Jr. east to the junction with the Central Canal is likewise largely complete, though St. Clair as well as the Walnut St. pedestrian bridge remain closed across the canal. This dual bridge closure provides no pedestrian crossing of the canal from Michigan St. north to 10th St., a span of 0.5 miles. I attempted to contact the Cultural Trail about a construction update but have not received a response (which is also odd, as they are normally quick to respond and eager to provide information).

Sarojo Commons -- This project was very recently approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission and represents a rare start in this sour economy. A relatively modest 5-story, 30 unit building at the southeast corner of St. Clair and Capitol, Sarojo Commons is geared toward student renters. The fact that student rentals are relatively recession-proof, coupled with consistently high demand for downtown apartments from IUPUI students likely made this a safe bet for the bank issuing the project loan. Initial project renderings appear to show a small amount of retail space at the corner of Capitol and St. Clair. Site clearing and preparation have been observed in the last couple of days.

A rendering of Sarojo Commons, submitted to the Metropolitan Development Commission.

As time and weather permit, I hope to get out and about and capture some photos of construction projects in the near future.