For most of its first century, the building that sat in the triangle between College and Mass Avenues served very utilitarian purposes, housing a Coca-Cola plant for decades and then an Indianapolis Public Schools bus depot. In 2017 a developer began repurposing the 12-acre site with the vision of creating a unique entity, one that melded office space, living space, retail and restaurants. The result, the Bottleworks District, has sparked a proliferation of similar “mixed-use campuses,” that is, one place that holds offices, shops, restaurants, and sometimes even apartments.

Driving this trend is a mix of factors, experts said. These include a growth in resident population downtown, the post-pandemic demands of consumers wanting convenience in work and leisure routines, and the revitalization of former factory sites in historic, defunct industrial areas.

The Stutz, which sits in a former automotive factory along North Capital Avenue downtown, has gone through its first $100 million, phase of development with Amelia’s Bread, Café Patachou, event space and a vintage car museum. For three decades, it had been home to dozens of artists’ studios.

The New York-based developer SomeraRoad, Inc., is planning offices, retail and apartments for the second phase.

“I think that these projects have done well and are kind of the future of development from a residential, office, and hospitality standpoint,” SomeraRoad Vice President Brock Kenyon said. “I think the era of suburban office and downtown high rises is saturated and there will be less of those projects built.”

Downtown population growth fuels mixed-use retail campuses

 The downtown neighborhoods where these mixed-used campuses are being developed are becoming increasingly popular for young professionals to live, work and play.

“The Stutz, you know, is kind of its own little colony there,” Edward Battista, co-owner of Amelia’s Bread, said. “There’s nothing around.”

He found that during holiday pop-ups Amelia’s held before it officially opened its Stutz location, doctors, nurses and hospital staff from the nearby IU Health hospital came in droves, saying they were sick of eating hospital cafe food, he said.

Since Amelia’s opened at the Stutz, he said, the bakery has relied heavily on the downtown working population, as well as drawing residents from the surrounding food deserts.

“There’s a whole lot of potential here,” he said. “It’s been kind of this corner that has been overlooked for a long time.”