Cummins making big investment in downtown Indianapolis; Building 10-story office tower where Market Square Arena once stood

A rendering of Cummins' 10-story office building under construction in downtown Indianapolis.

A rendering of Cummins’ 10-story office building under construction in downtown Indianapolis.

by Dan Rafter

The former home of Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis has sat undeveloped for more than 13 years.

That will soon change.

Cummins Inc., a Columbus, Ind.-based diesel engine manufacturer, is building a 10-story office tower on the four acres of land bordered by Market, Alabama, Washington and New Jersey streets. The $4.3 million project won’t be complete until late 2016. But the process of turning the former home of the NBA’s Indianapolis Pacers into a modern office tower began today at the project’s official ground-breaking ceremony.

Jon Mills, director of external communications with Cummins, said that the downtown location gives Cummins an ideal presence in the heart of Indianapolis. At the same time, it gives Cummins a chance to contribute to the revitalization of the city’s East Side.

“We wanted to be part of helping the city grow,” Mills said. “We wanted to provide a boost to the city’s economy and improve its quality of life. This location is the gateway to the East Side of Indianapolis. It’s exciting for us to be part of the activity in this part of the city.”

It helps, too, that the site is close to the Indianapolis International Airport and sits within easy travel access to most of the country. The site will serve as the headquarters of Cummins’ distribution business, so easy access to rail, air and highway travel options is key.

“We serve customers in 109 countries throughout the world,” Mills said. “We are going to build a structure here that reflects our forward-thinking and global approach to business. This is a great location to do it.”

Cummins’ office tower is just the latest bit of good news to hit downtown Indianapolis. Like many Midwest downtowns, the center of Indianapolis is seeing a steady rise in commercial real estate activity and new residents.

A growing number of people want to live in the hearts of major cities. They want to ditch their cars and walk to public transportation, restaurants, shops and entertainment options. Downtown Indianapolis provides all of this to residents.

Donna Hovey, a broker with CBRE who specializes in retail properties, says that the Cummins project is a big one for the East Side of Indianapolis. But it’s far from the only big deal in Indianapolis’ Market East neighborhood today.

A steady stram of new multi-family, retail, office and mixed-use developments are either being developed or opening in this neighborhood, Hovey said.

“If we hadn’t gone through the economic downturn we had, all this development on the East Side might have happened even sooner,” Hovey said. “We are seeing a resurgence in the number of people who are interested in living in downtown Indianapolis. We have companies like Cummins wanting to set up operations here. The city is cultivating a plan, too, to create a livable, walkable downtown. The whole area is attractive, not just to businesses but to people who want to live here.”

Hovey is playing an important role in the Cummins’ poject. CBRE was selected to be the leasing consultant for the first-floor retail space of the new Cummings building, roughly 10,000 square feet. Hovey is now marketing the space.

Cummins bought the former site of Market Square Arena from the city of Indianapolis for $4 million. It is spending $30 million to build the tower.

The office tower will house about 250 employees after construction, though it boasts enough space to accommodate about 400 workers. Cummins also plans to build a conference center and parking garage on the downtown site.

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