August 30, 2023

$140M redevelopment of Old City Hall includes hotel, art gallery

City leaders announce plan for Old City Hall. (Jill Sheridan/WFYI)

City leaders announce plan for Old City Hall. (Jill Sheridan/WFYI)

Indianapolis’s Old City Hall is getting a long overdo makeover.  Plans for a new skyscraper in the lot next door and other mixed use development were unveiled this week.

City Hall’s cornerstone was laid in 1909 and the large neoclassical building served as the home to city government for more than 50 years. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 but has sat mostly unused for nearly two decades.

On Tuesday Mayor Joe Hogsett said developer TWG will head the $140 million project to overhaul the building and the adjacent parking lot.

“What is coming to this site is precisely what we know, our city needs more places to live, more places to work, more places to play, all in equal measure,” Hogsett said.

The historic building will be restored and house a new 21c Museum Hotel art gallery. The city will work with TWG to determine other mixed uses for the building.

The other part of the redevelopment project will build a 32-story tower in the site north of the building that is now a parking lot. The boutique hotel will anchor that building and also offer nearly 200 new residential units. A restaurant and retail space will also be part of the development.

Hogsett said the project adds to downtown Indianapolis’s resiliency.

“Where we see over $9 billion of development, where the residential population is growing at a rate not seen since this building was first constructed,” he said.

This is the second plan for a 21c Museum Hotel to open in the Old City Hall space.  The first development project was announced in 2015 but financing plans fell through two years later. 

City officials said this deal is different because it offers more housing and mixed use options. A new TIF district will be proposed to help fund the project.  That agreement will bring a handful of affordable units for residents.

TWG CEO Tony Knoble Knoble says they will work closely with preservation experts on the city hall building.

“When you get involved with historic preservation groups a lot of things that they find significant will continue on so the shell definitely, hopefully will bring back the old windows,” Knoble said.

A central rotunda will be preserved and other parts of the historic lobby area.  The city will work with TWG to determine other mixed uses for the building. 

Knoble said the construction project will likely bring more than 800 jobs.

A proposal to approve the TIF funding will go before the City-County Council in the coming months.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org

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