Recently, there has been quite a bit of talk regarding the amount of Downtown Greenspace in the comments section of Property Lines blog. My feeling is that this should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
First, there’s the Simon Building, which replaced part of a public space known as Capitol Commons Park. I liked this park and felt it was a bit underutilized. My major problem with Simon locating in this park is that they did not aggressively look for purchasing a surface lot first. Simon gave the lamest excuse in the history of lame excuses, and lamented that if they were to build on a lot their employees might have less opportunities to walk to lunch spots. The city, operating out of fear of losing Simon to the suburbs, caved easily. I don’t hate the actual design of the building, and it’s good that we kept them headquartered downtown, but developing on a park as opposed to a surface lot has to be seen as a loss to the city.
Second, there is the hotel planned for the grassy lot on the canal across from the Indiana Historical Society. There are environmental groups protesting this development and hoping to turn it into a park. I’m more torn on this issue. Yes, it is now just a grassy lot. That does not mean that it can not serve a greater purpose and be converted to a more attractive green space featuring local grasses, plants, and trees. However, I also wish the canal could be more of a 24-hour destination and this hotel could provide the jolt that it needs. Either way, it can be seen as an opportunity; and no matter what, something should be done with the lot.