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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Ironworks Hotel Indy Celebrates Industrial Past

INDIANAPOLIS—In the late 1800s to mid-1900s, Indiana was catapulted into a booming industrial age after the end of the Civil War as factories took hold. It was a means for unprecedented growth at the time and that progress has only continued. According to the state of Indiana, it is leading in terms of manufacturing job growth and home to the second largest automotive industry in the nation.

Inspired by this era—the manufacturing as well as the architecture—the design for Ironworks Hotel Indy, a boutique hotel on the north side, aims to revive and pay homage to its venerated past.

Slated to open in mid-September, the new-build celebrates “the blue-collar worker of days gone by. The experience, atmosphere and amenities are curated to today’s business and social travelers,” said Susan Griffin, director of interior design for Hendricks Commercial Properties LLC, developer of the project. “As goes our tagline: A hard day’s work deserves a soft place to lay your head.”

Hendricks Commercial Properties purchased the land that was home to a former retail business, which was demolished to prepare the lot for the new hotel. According to Griffin, the vision for this project was based off the original Ironworks hotel in Beloit, WI.

“We based our initial design and vision from the Ironworks brand promise: ‘Easy isn’t always better. We do things the right way—that stand the test of time.’ Our brand essence states ‘building America’s character,’” said Griffin. “We do this by reuse and recreation of times past, repurposing materials, creating the unexpected and oddities that stand our boutique hotel apart from others.”

The current aesthetics are a combination of vintage industrial, metals, wood, brick, leather and a touch of the city feel, using new and repurposed materials. 

“The building structure design replicates a turn-of-the-century factory building.  The distinctive entrance is well identified by a repurposed crane and factory entrance doors designed and fabricated by Scathain of Milwaukee, WI,” she said. “Our key piece is the American flag mounted on the wall of the lobby. It is constructed of wood paper patterns from the former Beloit Corporation Foundry in Beloit, WI. Built with a craftsman’s hands and American heart, each piece of this artwork echoes our hardworking tradition.”

The main reception desk is constructed of old beams and a concrete countertop that is stained and rusted. Numerous pieces of furniture, such as the guestroom desks and nightstands, were built of repurposed materials. Antique battery boxes are used for the lobby lighting. Throughout, there are leather tufted couches, artwork by artisans and more. Beyond the design, the comfort of guests is paramount, noted Griffin.

“From soft, supple bomber jacket leathers to the cashmere-like wool upholstery and pinstripe on the beds and pillows to an entire bespoke lighting package in rich antique brass and blackened steel appointments in every guest suite—all of this leads to a well-tailored menswear-inspired look by Curate Design,” she said. “Guest bathrooms have upscale and luxurious amenities, including rain showerheads and beautiful vintage-inspired tile floors. The fifth floor suites have outdoor seating with a fire pit and amazing views of Indianapolis.”

And the historic touches keep coming as the hotel will also have two large port cranes on the front of the hotel, both transported from a World War II ammunition plant in Rockford, IL. These cranes will also be functional, with a second-story outdoor patio.

Hendricks Commercial Properties enlisted a team of professionals to get this project off the ground—Curate Design, Ratio Architects and Shiel Sexton Co.

“We had an amazing team with unique and innovative visions and ideas. We remained fluid throughout the entire project, allowing the building to inspire us.  A combination of everyone’s input and out-of-the-box thinking allowed us to create properties, such as Ironworks here,” she said. “We are constantly inspired throughout the entire building process, out pounding the pavement for the cool stuff and the people that create it.”