The jury is out on the fate of the City-County building – Indianapolis Monthly



The current city-county building replaced the original Marion County courthouse in 1962.Photo courtesy of WH Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Years before Unigov was a glimmer in
The eye of Mayor Richard Lugar, the City-County Building (CCB) was designed to consolidate city and county functions. It brought the government of the city of Indy, the nine townships of Marion County, the Indianapolis Police Department and the courts of Marion County under one roof. Prior to that, city and county offices were located around the Old Town Hall, the Marion County Courthouse, and various leased spaces. The CCB opened in January 1962, nearly a decade before Unigov was founded.

It was the first Indianapolis building taller than the monument to soldiers and sailors. The 28-story CCB held the title of tallest town until 1970, when the Tower of Regions was completed.

Many believe that the building is not exactly attractive. Essentially a large rectangle flanked by two smaller boxes, the CCB has been described by a contemporary architecture critic as “almost a negative achievement.”

But the city has recently abandoned several million dollars to renovate the buildingplace of ing. For most of his life, the part of the CCB complex facing Washington Street was lined with a barren concrete slab. This area underwent a renovation in 2018, which equipped it with everything from a water park to giant swing benches. It is now called Lugar Plaza.

The CCB district is a developmenthearth lies. The land surrounding it is already welcoming high-class newcomers like the Cummins distribution headquarters, the 360 ​​Market Square high-rise apartment building and the Julia M. Carson Transit Center.

How, or if, the CCB will participatepate in this bright future is anyone’s guess. The opening of the new community justice campus on the southeast side will leave the CCB roughly half empty, with some believing that the remaining municipal functions (including the mayor’s office) should be moved to the old town hall and whether the CCB is razed or converted to private use. Some preliminary studies indicate that it will cost more than $ 40 million to bring its HVAC and electrical systems up to standard, and make the interior suitable for private use, whether it is a residence, an apartment or an apartment. retail, office or a mixture of the three. It also doesn’t help that the place is absolutely crossed with asbestos.

Some see a case for the bulldozer. “The City-County Building should be demolished, allowing the entire block it stands on to be redeveloped from scratch,” said urban analyst Aaron Renn. “The plaza sits on the site of the beautiful and authentic Marion County courthouse that was demolished to make room for it. It would therefore be appropriate for the CCB itself to receive the architectural death penalty. ”

Some see a case to keep it. The building is one of the few examples of mid-century modern architecture in the city, best represented by the steel and glass skyscrapers that make up a large part of the skylines of most cities around the world. “I think you could save a lot of it and redevelop this site with some additional construction while still retaining something important,” says James Kienle, architect and director of the Historic Preservation Design Studio at Moody Nolan.

It may take a long time for a the final decision is made. A request for ideas on what to do with the site was released last fall by the city’s Office of Finance and Management, sparking interest from around 40 companies who submitted their suggestions for the place at the end of October. The various proposals should not necessarily be seen as final offers, but as a starting point in determining a way forward. BCI plans to review the responses and chart its next steps in early 2022. “It’s important to remember that nothing has been determined yet,” said Sonya Seeder, City of Real Estate Administrator for the City of Indianapolis. “This request for ideas will just help provide the city with basic information to make an informed decision.”

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