New heights

Tribune staff reports

Indianapolis

Cummins Inc. has unveiled plans for its 10-story

office tower in downtown

Indianapolis to house its

global distribution business headquarters.

The Columbus-based engine maker presented its plans Tuesday to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission, which could vote on the proposal as soon as Dec. 17, Cummins said in a news release.

The $30 million building, which will include retail on the first floor and feature a large public greenspace, will be constructed on four acres where Market Square Arena — demolished in 2001 — stood. The property includes two parcels, both of which have been used as

parking lots.

The company said it expects to break ground on the building, which could house up to 400 Cummins workers, early next year and open it in late 2016.

When Cummins announced its plans in March, the company said more than 100 employees who work in two downtown Indianapolis offices — Capital Center North and OneAmerica Tower, both on Illinois Street — would relocate to the

new facility.

“This will allow us to create efficiency and consolidate our Indy offices,” Cummins spokesman Jon Mills said at the time.

When it opens, there likely would be about 250 employees working there, he said.

Global distribution employees who would work in the segment’s downtown Indy headquarters would have corporate functions such as human resources, finances and information technology, Mills said.

Besides housing its distribution headquarters staff, employees who will work in the building will represent a range of departments, such as corporate communications, corporate

responsibility, information technology, safety and security, and legal.

Also, some top company executives will have offices there, even though they will spend the greatest amount of their time while in Indiana at the Columbus corporate headquarters, Mills said.

Building architect Deborah Berke said the building will include flexible office space with abundant views and lots of natural light, according to the news release.

“The floors are designed to provide a modern, flexible working arrangement that caters to employees’ diverse preferences and work styles,” she said.

Tom Linebarger, Cummins chairman and chief executive officer, said the office tower will build on the architectural legacy that Cummins established in Columbus and around the world.

Cummins employs about 48,000 people worldwide.

“This space will create a dynamic place to work for our employees and customers, while contributing to the city’s landscape,” Linebarger said in the news release.

“Cummins’ innovative design for its new downtown Indianapolis campus will serve as an anchor for redevelopment in the Market East district and bring new vitality to the area,” Indianapolis Mayor Ballard said in the release. “This project raises the bar for architecture in Indy and will stand as a bold and visually compelling gateway into the city.”

As part of the commitment, the city of Indianapolis is contributing $7.5 million to purchase the property and for infrastructure improvements.

The company’s plans for the site — bordered by Market, Alabama, Washington and New Jersey streets — also include a conference center and a parking garage.

When Deborah Berke Partners was selected for the project in mid-September, Cummins Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose said the New York firm would partner with RATIO Architects Inc. of Indianapolis, the local architect of record, and Indiana-based Wilhelm Construction, the construction manager.

In 2006, Deborah Berke Partners designed a branch of the former Irwin Union Bank, which is now the location of a First Financial Bank in Columbus.

Cummins distribution operations

Distribution — the moving of engines, services and support from one place to another — is one of Cummins’ four primary business units. The other segments are engines, components and power generation.

The distribution segment closed 2013 with $1.1 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, an 18 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2012. The distribution segment’s 2013 year-end sales of $3.7 billion represented a 14 percent increase from 2012.

However, the global distribution business does not have a home base as do other company segments. The engine and components businesses are based in Columbus, and power generation is headquartered in Fridley, Minnesota.

Pull Quote

“This space will create a dynamic place to work for our employees and customers, while contributing to the city’s landscape.”

Tom Linebarger, Cummins chairman and chief executive officer, on the proposed downtown Indianapolis tower