by Dan Rafter
It doesn’t rank as Hendricks Commercial Properties’ first Indiana purchase. But buying downtown Indianapolis’ Century Building? That qualifies as a major splash.
The Century Building is one of Indianapolis’ iconic buildings, a 153,849-square-foot historic Class-A office building. When Hendricks acquired the building earlier this year for $14 million, then, it ranked as one of the most significant commercial deals of the young year here.
Rob Gerbitz, president and chief executive officer of Beloit, Wis.-based Hendricks Commercial Properties, said that the Century Building was too prime of an asset to pass up.
“The vintage nature of it, that 1901 quality is something that did attract us to this building,” Gerbitz told Midwest Real Estate News. “We like that product type a lot. We were also attracted to the mixed-use aspect of it. We like that there are retail and restaurant uses on the first floor.”
The building’s location — 36 S. Pennsylvania St. — doesn’t hurt, either. The Century Building sits in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It’s an active area, one that features plenty of foot traffic.
And as with many of the downtown neighborhoods of the Midwest, this section of Indianapolis is attracting a steady stream of new residents eager to live within walking distance of shops, restaurants and public transportation.
“The popularity of downtowns certainly isn’t limited to Indianapolis,” Gerbitz said. “We see it in Chicago, Milwaukee and even in Beloit where we are located. Back in the ’90s and ’80s, you saw a flight out of the cities to the suburban areas. A lot of that dynamic changed after the recession.”
It’s not just young people who are moving to neighborhoods such as the one surrounding the Century Building, Gerbitz said. People of all ages are renting and buying in downtown core neighborhoods, he said.
“You see younger tech-oriented people all the way up to retired people,” Gerbitz said. “Where the Century Building is there is so much going on, so much to do.”
Cushman & Wakefield|Summit closed the $13.85 million sale of the Century Building, marketing the property on behalf of its former owner, Zeller Realty Group. Hendricks Commercial Properties ended up paying $90 a rentable square foot for the property.
The Century Building was first developed as a speculative warehouse in 1901. Its owners in 1984 converted the property to an office building.
Gerbitz said that he doesn’t expect the Century Building purchase to be his company’s last in Indiana and Indianapolis.
“We really like this area,” he said. “We’d like to do more deals here. Indiana really is a great state for businesses. And certainly Indianapolis is a great place to live and work. We think this market is only going to get stronger.”