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.

10 comments:

varangianguard said...

If I were the insurance company, I would be advising my best loss investigation team to be prepared to come out here right away.

Odd that the fire was so intense, so quickly, wood construction notwithstanding.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

As I listened to WIBC coverage of the fire this morning, their news it was a still empty condo complex, and the fire started about 3:30 am when neighbors (witnesses) were sleeping, my first thought was arson. Anyone done any digging into this company?

artfuggins said...

In this poor economy, the company should take their insurance money and run..................

guido said...

In most cases a fire will double in intensity for every minute or so it burns. This can of course increase or decrease depending on the fire load. As is obvious this structure had quite a fire load. Also consider that not all firestops would be in place due to construction and the lumber not being encased. As always thank god no one was hurt.

Downtown Indy said...

Most everything that's residential up and down the canal, indeed everything that's 'low-rise,' is constructed similarly.

Not that I disagree with the riskiness of that.

I heard one report that suspected homeless squatters. Given the current market conditions, I am sure they will be looking at the financials of the company building them. That's a lot of condos/apartments (have heard reports that conflict) potentially sitting empty if they truly won't start signing leases until May - and if people won't be beating down their door to sign up.

Carrie said...

SOunds mighty suscpicious.

Shorebreak said...

Considering the state of occupancy, if I were Flaherty and Collins I'd be counting my ble$$ing$.

Jon E. Easter said...

Nice view!

spooknp said...

I too saw the wood construction, especially the plywood, just before they started putting up the siding and windows. While this obviously would burn good, they did plan on installing a sprinkler system in the building within the next couple of weeks. It sounds to me that if your going to use all wood framing, one should look at installing the sprinkler system ASAP.

spooknp said...

Oh, also, it is Michigan St., not Avenue.