City-County Council committee approves nearly $17M bond to build out 2 buildings downtown

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A City County Council committee approved the issuance of $16.7 million in construction bonds to help a developer build out two crucial but long-empty buildings in downtown Indianapolis.

Keystone Realty Group is seeking the money and the city’s partnership as part of its $141 million plan to redevelop the Illinois Building at 17 West Market Street and the former AT&T building at 220 North Meridian Street.

The developer plans a 180-room Intercontinental Hotel in the Illinois Building and a mixed-use high rise office and residential building at the corner of Ohio and Meridian Streets.

Keystone Realty Vice President Jasmin Shaheed-Young envisions an international class hotel with four restaurants and rooftop bar rising above the current Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse a block from the Indiana Statehouse.

“It is known as a world brand and luxury brand. This will be one of about 25 Intercontinentals that we have in the U.S. and it’s a global brand so there are several Intercontinentals around the world,” she said, noting the recent addition of non-stop flight service between Indianapolis and Paris. “There’s actually an Intercontinental Hotel in Paris and we definitely believe that with the Intercontinental brand it will bring a diversification of the hotel space that we currently have in Indianapolis that will increase not only international tourism and business activity but also that national business activity because there are so few Intercontinentals in the U.S. That’s just another different landmark that we will have in Indianapolis that will make it even more attractive for those that are looking at convention business here.”

Cost of the Intercontinental project is estimated at $61 million.

Just a few blocks away, at the northernmost entry to Monument Circle, will be the 23-story 220 Building neighboring the U.S. District Courthouse and the Salesforce Tower.

“We’re gonna take the first floor and create retail space that will bring that vibrancy and walkability one block north of Monument Circle,” said Shaheen-Young. “We’re then looking to create three stories of parking, a newly constructed parking garage that will have 300 new parking spaces available to those downtown that are both in the building and visiting to downtown retail shops, and then we’re going to take the remaining floors for a mixture of office and residential so we will have truly urban high rise living with floor-to-ceiling windows that really will rival nothing else that we currently have in the market.”

Of the proposed 160 new studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors, 32 will be priced for moderate income renters.

“The more residents we bring into downtown, the folks who want to be close to their jobs, they will definitely want to live downtown,” said Sherry Seiwert, President of Downtown Indy Inc. “I would like to see some more condos but at least a portion of those units will be made available for moderate income families.”

Shaheed-Young said Keystone, which has already emblazoned its name over the main entrance at the 220 Building, wants to open up the north side of the downtown core to more retail, office and residential development.

“That corner of Meridian and Ohio streets will not be full of retail and we really believe that folks that live in the building, folks that work in the building, are gonna be able to frequent those restaurants. Actually we’re gonna be able to pull from those that are working near the building as well.”

Just a couple blocks away, Simon Properties is searching for a new anchor tenant or usage of retail space vacated earlier this year by the departure of Carson’s at Circle Centre.

“We are hoping that we will create that new development on that corner that will bring even more development so it isn’t as dead and there are people that are actually walking in that area,” said Shaheed-Young. “With creating that new enhanced look that is new, that is vibrant, that is exciting and enticing, people are actually gonna start venturing north of the Circle.”

The city estimates 700 construction jobs and 750 fulltime positions will be created by the projects.

It’s anticipated that the construction bonds will be paid off from the various taxes collected on the employees, patrons and employees at the two sites with the city possibly realizing a five percent share of eventual profits on the hotel project.

Now that the council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee has approved the construction bond, and if the Metropolitan Development Commission does the same later this week, the stage will be set for full council approval October 1st and the beginning of construction leading to the openings of both projects in 2020.