Thursday, March 12, 2009
Cosmopolitan On The Canal Project Destroyed By Fire
A major early morning fire in downtown Indianapolis has destroyed the Cosmopolitan On The Canal luxury residential project in the 300 block of West Michigan Street. and surrounding buildings. This five-story, $28 million, 200-unit project is an undertaking of Flaherty and Collins. All buildings destroyed by the fire are owned by Flaherty and Collins. The project fronts the canal on the west side. When that part of the building collapsed during the fire, it collapsed into the canal from the view of WTHR's video footage. The project included street-level retail and a state-of-the-art fitness center and inner courtyard with a pool, an area of the building firefighters had difficulty reaching according to WTHR. The Indiana Historic Landmarks building suffered some damage. Firefighters have been on the scene for nearly three hours fighting the fire. According to the Star, 125 firefighters were called to the scene of the fire, which broke out around 3:30 a.m. Smoke from the fire is billowing throughout the downtown area.
Here's a quick observation of mine about why this fire was so intense. Although the first floor of this large building appeared to be constructed of steel and concrete, the upper floors were constructed using a light frame, wood-studded construction. I was aghast when I drove down Michigan Avenue the first time after the upper floor construction had begun to see all the wood. I thought at the time what a fire trap that building would become. And that is exactly what it became early this morning as it now lies in ruins. The photo of the fire is from WTHR's website. The other photo is an artist's rendering of what the project would look like when completed. The top photo of smoke drifting over the downtown skyline early this morning was taken from my rooftop deck in Lockerbie.
Check out these photos taken earlier in the construction of the building to see what I mean about the wood construction.
Update: Jerry Collins of Flaherty and Collins tells the Star that the owners plan to rebuild. That's good news for this downtown neighborhood.