Local developer buys downtown’s One North Penn building

Local developer buys downtown’s One North Penn building

IBJ | April 5, 2017 | Scott Olson

A local real estate developer has acquired its second historic high-rise building in downtown Indianapolis in just over two years and plans to renovate this one as well.

Loftus Robinson LLC closed March 24 on the purchase of One North Penn, at the northeast corner of Washington and Pennsylvania streets.

The company acquired the 16-story building from Hollywood, Florida-based Naya USA Investment & Management LLC, which owned the building for just more than a year.

Naya USA bought the 109-year-old tower in February 2016 from Albert M. Donato III—the son of Albert M. Donato Jr., the longtime CEO of the Acorn Group real estate firm who died in 2012. The late Donato led a group that acquired the building in 1992 and renovated it.

Loftus Robinson declined to divulge how much it paid for the 82,565-square-foot building. County records show Naya USA purchased it for $4.9 million.

Drew Loftus, a Loftus Robinson partner, said he’s not sure why Naya unloaded the building so quickly, but the property never officially hit the market.

We’ve pursued this building in the past,” he said in an email, “and our timing was right this go around.”

We’ve pursued this building in the past, and our timing was right this go around.

Loftus Robinson’s acquisition of One North Penn follows its purchase in 2014 of the then-vacant J.F. Wild & Company State Bank Building at 129 E. Market St. Constructed in 1923, the J.F. Wild building now houses the company’s headquarters.The developer finished a $7 million renovation to the 12-story building in November.

“We have a lot of momentum at the J.F. Wild office building on Market Street and plan to build on that here,” Loftus said about the One North Penn building.

One North Penn, built as the Odd Fellows Building in 1908, is roughly half-occupied. Centier Bank on the ground floor anchors the building. Pita Pit is the other street-level tenant.

At 212 feet, One North Penn was the tallest building in Indianapolis when it opened in 1908. The 245-foot Merchants National Bank Building at Meridian and Washington streets, now known as the Barnes and Thornburg Building, surpassed it in 1909.

Robush & Hunter designed the building, which originally housed the Odd Fellows fraternal organization. The organization located its three-story assembly hall on the 13th floor.

One North Penn’s proximity to the Cultural Trail, access to nearby parking and steady activity in the area made the building attractive, Loftus said.

Loftus Robinson is “evaluating its options” for the building but plans to renovate both the exterior and interior, with the help of federal historic tax credits.

“We’re hopeful the façade can be returned to its historic form along with the upper two floors—reclaiming the tall windows and views of downtown,” Loftus said.

Meanwhile, Loftus Robinson is progressing on its $50 million Wilshaw mixed-use development in Speedway. The company hopes to get zoning approvals this month from the town to begin construction soon on the project adjacent to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The development includes a 150-room hotel, 10,000-square-feet of retail, 90 apartments and a parking garage.