Under a rather scorching sun, city officials, economic development leaders, historic preservationists and community leaders converged upon the former Coca-Cola plant parking lot to break ground on what will soon to known to all as the Bottleworks District.
“One of a kind community asset” is how Mayor Joe Hogsett described the $300 million project which will transform the 12-acre site on the East End of Mass Ave into a complex including a boutique hotel, commercial space, office space and residences.
As “one of the most significant developments outside the Mile Square in recent memory,” the mayor pointed out the project’s major impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, including not only Chatham Arch, where it lies, but also just across the interstate ribbon the neighborhoods of Cottage Home, Woodruff Place and East 10th Street.
Speaking at ceremonies on the morning of June 29, Hogsett praised the intentions of the developer – Hendricks Commercial Properties of Beloit, Wisc. – to “adhere to the city’s history” and to preserve the Art Deco exteriors and interiors. He said the project will “utilize the past to pioneer the future.”
Rob Gervitz, president and CEO of the Beloit, Wisc., company, took that sentiment further. He said he marvels at the workmanship of the facility built by the Yuncker brothers in 1931 to produce Coca-Cola – and feels the responsibility to carry that workmanship forward as the company spends $300 million over the next four years.
“The Yuncker Brothers set the bar pretty high,” Gervitz said. “These guys cared about their employees. Who puts terrazzo floor in the middle of a loading dock?” he added. “That’s our responsibility now. These guys had a purpose, and we now do too.”
Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said the Bottleworks District will generate $386 million in city and state tax revenues over the next four years. Ultimately, the site will generate about 4,000 permanent full- and part-time jobs.
Phase 1 of the Bottleworks project is headed up by the conversion of the former Coca-Cola administration building into a 150-room boutique hotel under the West Elm banner. Kim Phoebus, principal with West Elm Hotels, said the Indianapolis hotel will be the first project to be completed following the retailer’s 2016 move into the hotel business.
Scheduled to open in early 2020, the West Elm Hotel will feature a strong focus on local history, local art and local community, Phoebus said.
While no other specific tenants have yet been named, Isaac Bamgbose, the Henricks vice president of development, threw out a couple of hints of announcements “coming soon.” He said the list includes a high-tech firm to occupy about 40,000 square feet of office space and a firm to open an eight-screen movie theater. The Bottleworks District project features 180,000 square feet of office space, 175,000 square feet of retail space and 240 condo and apartment units. The project is expected to lure at least 25 food and beverage vendors.
For more on the Bottleworks District project, see the coverage in the February 2018 issue of Urban Times:
A video describing and promoting the multi-faceted project can be found at the project’s website: