Office space not an afterthought in office building

The six-story structure as it will be seen from Mass Ave, with E. North Street at the right.

Developer Daniel C. Jacobs has received approval to build a six-story office building in the 500 block of East North Street, just off Mass Ave and at the rear of the former Tway Company building which sits at the northwest corner of North Street and Park Avenue.

Most of the existing Tway building, in fact, will be attached to the new structure to serve as enclosed parking for the new building. Its western-most section will be demolished to make way for the new structure.

The $17 million project received approval at the June 6 hearing of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, after having been presented for preliminary review at the April 4 hearing. At that non-binding hearing, commissioners raised several concerns, all of which seemed to have been resolved by the June presentation.

Among those concerns included the treatment of the west façade, which would be seen from nearby Mass Ave. Some commissioners had expressed concern over the building’s height, but in the end the height, which compares to the Real Silk Condos to the east, was not an issue.

Jacobs’s project includes the former McDaniel building at 608 N. Park Ave., which had been renovated into restaurant space for the short-lived eatery known as The Owner’s Wife. That restaurant was connected to the now-closed Outliers Brewery, which operated in the Tway building.

Jacobs said he is exploring ways to activate the little-used alley which runs behind the building between Park Avenue and Mass Ave. He considers the alley access to Mass Ave a major element of the project, and said he hopes to arrive at “a much much better solution for everybody.” He further plans to create basement-level space for what he termed “experiential retail space.”

The project also includes a 2,400-square-foot third-floor deck to be built over the west end of the Tway building, to serve as patio space for a restaurant in the new structure. Jacobs said that – despite the fact that floors two through six will feature 40,000 square feet of office space – the retail component is a priority, not an afterthought as seems to be the case with other Downtown developments.

“I want to be diligent and selective on who and what” fills the retail space, he said. He expects that at least two restaurants will fit that description, one in the McDaniel building and the other in the two structures. But he said the new building will be able to accommodate several different retail concepts.

Jacobs believes his building will be a boost to Mass Ave because the office space will add to the daytime density, and provide workers who will eat lunch in area restaurants and shop in stores. Between the yet-unnamed Park Avenue project and his Block 20 project at the Athenaeum, Jacobs said he expects tenants to add $15 million in payroll to the Downtown scene.

Jacobs hopes to begin construction in the fall.

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