Driving Forces Of The Stutz

 

 

Photo by: Tony Valainis

JULIE JOHNSTON

OWNER / VisionLoft Events Stutz

With 8,000 square feet in the pedestrian-only courtyard, VisionLoft is the place where weddings, corporate events, and luncheons will make elegant use of a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. Events can extend into the new 10,000-square-foot Stutz Car Museum across the plaza.

WHAT SOLD YOU ON THE STUTZ?

SomeraRoad recruited us almost three years ago. I’d been attending events there for years. How could I turn it down? It might sound like an exaggeration, but I am actually honored. The Stutz is an icon.

WHAT KIND OF PUBLIC EVENTS WILL WE SEE?

The Stutz has an event team that will schedule community events like holiday markets and yoga in the courtyard. VisionLoft plans customer-driven private, corporate, and nonprofit events, and weddings.

YOU ALREADY HAVE A LOCATION DOWNTOWN. WHY ANOTHER ONE?

SomeraRoad was really willing to work with us and asked us how much square footage we needed, and we were the first business to open. Now we have a bigger menu of options—outdoors, more intimate, a larger space.

WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY WITH THE BUILDING?

I’ve been friends with some of the artists over the years, and even before that, I always attended the open houses. There’s just a feeling when you go to that building, and it’s inspiring to me. But it needed an upgrade. The courtyard was a blacktop road with potholes that people tried to drive on, and now it’s so beautiful with the brick and courtyard lights. It will be a place people will enjoy for years.

THE COURTYARD WILL BE A PRIME DESTINATION FOR THE PUBLIC.

SomeraRoad handpicked the businesses to activate this courtyard very intentionally. You have your coffee shop, the lunch spot, coworking [spaces], the bakery, the event spot, and then the brewery. It’s symbiotic. We can send our grooms for weddings down to Turner’s brewery to hang out an hour before the wedding starts. We can send the brides to Cafe Patachou for their brunches. They can have their happy hour in the car museum and their reception dinner in our space. We’re talking to Industrious about using their conference room and library for corporate events that want to do breakouts. These collaborations are organically happening and will continue to as these spaces open and we get to know each other.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

ESTEBAN ROSAS

CO-OWNER AND CO-CHEF / Julieta Taco Shop

Rosas and fellow chef Gabriel Sañudos joined forces to open a tribute to counter-service taco joints in Mexico, most notably slicing tacos al pastor off a traditional vertical spit called a trompo.

WHAT FEATURES MAKE JULIETA AUTHENTIC?

The feeling is quaint, fast-paced, and open. That’s why we wanted an open-kitchen concept, so everyone will be able to see what’s going on. It should feel like people are coming in and then going about their day.

A TROMPO IS A RARE SIGHT IN INDIANAPOLIS. WHY IS IT A BETTER WAY TO PREPARE TACOS AL PASTOR?

Vertically layering pork on the trompo changes the cook on the pork, the texture of it. It’s 100 percent different than calling something tacos al pastor just because it has adobo and pineapple on it.

IT’S SORT OF LIKE CHILI IN THAT EVERYONE HAS A FAMILY RECIPE FOR THE MARINADE, RIGHT?

Yeah, some areas in Mexico City have 50 different taquerias and they’re all busy because they each have a unique taste. We’ve been working on our recipe for quite some time. We bought our trompo two or three years ago and I think we have honed in on it. It’s anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds of layered meat and you have to stack it in a certain way so it slices nicely.

YOU ARE ALSO MAKING FRESH TORTILLAS FROM CORN IMPORTED FROM MEXICO. IS THE CORN DIFFERENT?

The types of corn we use—red, blue, yellow, white—have specific uses. There’s a big variance. Some are better for table tortillas, some better for sopes, some are more starchy so they help out with tamales. We are sourcing corn from a couple different co-ops in Mexico and California that import from small farms in Mexico. We’re making tortillas on tabletop machines, and we’re really excited about that.

WHY GO TO THE TROUBLE?

It seems so simple to just go buy them, but I equate it to a bakery that makes its own sandwich bread, like Amelia’s and Leviathan. It doesn’t matter if the fillings are great—the extra attention to the vessel makes a big difference in the end.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

AMANDA GRIFFITH

OWNER / Grounded Plant & Floral Co.

One of the first dedicated houseplant boutiques in Indianapolis, Grounded outgrew its original spot and is planting new roots in a 2,300-square-foot corner storefront with enough indirect southern exposure to keep its urban jungle thriving.

HOW DID YOU WIND UP AT THE STUTZ?

SomeraRoad reached out to us. I was most drawn to the community feel. We’ve always been a destination store, and it sounded great to be part of a full building. Not only restaurants and coffee shops, but the art studios above us and Pattern next to us—a cool community that we were invited to join.

SOUNDS LIKE A NO-BRAINER.

We are headed into our sixth year, and we are thrilled plants are still popular. With the new space, we have more foot traffic, which is changing our demographic a bit. We’ll always be a plant store, but we want to expand our inventory. People tell us often that they come in for gifts. So we want to cater to that.

HOW IS THE LIGHT?

We’re on the corner of the building so we get sunlight from north and east. It’s beautiful.

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH SOUTHERN EXPOSURE FOR SNAKE PLANTS AND BASKETS?

Our south-facing window looks out onto a courtyard, so it’s not so much direct exposure.

WHAT IS GROUNDED’S VIBE?

I hope people come in and feel what the store says—very grounded and at peace—but also wander and get lost in there in a sense. We want to help make your home feel like an urban jungle, as well. The other inventory helps elevate your daily routines.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

PHIL TADROS

GENERAL MANAGER / Industrious

The coworking studio anchors the street level with 27,000 square feet and draws a stream of 350 workers who enliven the Stutz during the day.

WHY IS THE STUTZ A GOOD FIT FOR YOUR THIRD LOCATION IN INDIANAPOLIS?

In part because of the proximity to IUPUI. We were excited to jump on it knowing all the work they’re doing to develop the area.

WHAT REALLY SOLD YOU ON THE STUTZ?

Traditionally, we were in central business districts, but we’re shifting our focus to more mixed-use locations. We’re in a lot of Class A buildings—not a lot of historic buildings—and we’re doing that more and more, where you have the restaurants and amenities right there.

HOW DOES THE SPACE HONOR THE STUTZ’S PAST?

SomeraRoad did our build-out and design. The windows are one of my favorite things. They are historic replicas of the originals, which weren’t in the condition to be kept. We have partnered with artists in the building. They are creating a rotating art program in our space that preserves the history of the artistic community, and the color scheme with reds and yellows was done with the intent to keep the history of the Stutz building.

WHAT DEMOGRAPHIC IS DRAWN TO THIS LOCATION?

Small, hyperlocal businesses that can appreciate being in a smaller building and having all the amenities they need throughout their day—a gym at Myriad Fitness, Patachou, and Amelia’s [and] knowing breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all covered within walking instance. There’s a different clientele that wants the Class A building with a grand entrance because they are bringing in clients.

WHAT SEPARATES INDUSTRIOUS FROM OTHER COWORKING HUBS?

Our hospitality—breakfast every morning; free coffee, soda, and flavored water; weekly happy hour. Our community manager is there Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., operating as an extension of each member’s team—greeting visitors, restocking amenities, appointing security, making sure pens are available in the conference room, solving any Wi-Fi issues. We create an environment within the building that draws creatives and local small businesses that are treated the way they deserve.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

CHARLIE MCINTOSH

HEAD BAKER AND PARTNER / Amelia’s

Amelia’s, a purveyor of scratch-made sourdough, laminated pastries, and locally sourced provisions, debuted gelato and espresso menus in the third location of its cafes, which are open “half the time all the time” (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily).

WHAT’S NEW AT THE STUTZ LOCATION?

The store will be a combination of the two we already have. The Virginia Avenue location has no seating, but we do have a lot of grocery offerings there, more than the Windsor Park location that’s actually bigger. The Stutz will have a substantial grocery selection.

WHAT SOLD YOU ON THE STUTZ?

It seemed like SomeraRoad had a good idea of how to remake this building by involving local people. That’s the only way to do it well. They have been pretty easy to work with, and they’re taking a historic piece of Indy and doing good work on it. They’re not just throwing facades over it. I just liked their approach.

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SURPRISE YOUR REGULARS AT THIS LOCATION? Selection, for one. Both the grocery and pastry section. Each place will have a lead baker who will have the leeway to make a couple signature items. Also, it will be a fun place to hang out. I’m excited to see what events happen in the courtyard and what the vibe is like on summer evenings.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

MARTHA HOOVER

OWNER / Cafe Patachou

The sixth Cafe Patachou location will front Capitol Avenue as a gateway to eat-and-drinkeries lining Restaurant Row, revamped as a pedestrian-only plaza strung with lights.

YOU COULD OPEN A RESTAURANT ANYWHERE IN THE CITY. WHY THE STUTZ?
I love the entire scope of the project. It will have a remarkable impact on an entire quadrant of downtown. The area between Methodist, the IU Health campus, and IUPUI was a dead zone for new development. The Stutz will create a lot of energy and momentum and will add to, rather than replace, a neighborhood.

AND PATACHOU IS A NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT.

We started 34 years ago [when] the vast majority of retail restaurants and community development was not being done in neighborhoods. I initially thought the Stutz would be an office environment, and now I think it’s going to be much more of a neighborhood environment.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

I think it’s going to be remarkably diverse. It’s going to be a continuation of the artist lofts and shared workspaces. It will also have a large office environment. There are plans for housing, and SomeraRoad is also working with the city and IU Health to add some residential, retail, and restaurants to an entire quadrant that’s going to support the needs of IU Health and people who live there currently.

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE SOUL OF THE BUILDING?
The developers talked about this from day one, the necessity of not ruining the building. But the building had some internal weaknesses. Public bathrooms and parking were not really sufficient. It hadn’t been updated. I feel sorry for anyone who was displaced, but I know several people who are excited to come back to the Stutz with the improvements that are happening. Patachou made sure to put a lot of attention to historic notes, including materials, patterns, and colors that are consistent with the time the building was constructed. The development team was very pointed, at least with me, in being excited that we weren’t fighting to reimagine the building as new and modern, but we were really wanting to embrace its history and add to that.

CAN YOU PREVIEW THE DESIGN?
I’m a big people-watcher, and I love hotel life. I like lobbies that invite you in and make you feel really welcome, where you want to sink in and have a glass of wine and listen to the music. We’re creating something where people will want to just come in and watch people with a cocktail. It’s a very pretty space.

WHAT’S THE SHOWSTOPPER?

The cozy custom furniture. We hope that people will want to sink into it and think of the restaurant as an extension of their living rooms.


Photo by: Tony Valainis

POLINA OSHEROV

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / Pattern

Pattern, a publisher and engine for Indy’s creative community, was tapped to oversee the selection of programming in the Stutz from its new 2,800-square-foot headquarters.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY AT THE STUTZ?

Art and culture are the things that make most of our spaces interesting and dynamic.

AS PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF THE STUTZ, MUCH OF THE BUILDING’S SOUL IS IN YOUR HANDS. HOW DID YOU KNOW SOMERAROAD WAS SERIOUS ABOUT RETAINING ITS PERSONALITY?

They are trying to walk a very difficult line by staying true to two things that don’t live well together—monetizing a project that costs a lot of money, and the coolness of a community of artists. If people are open to an evolution of what a creative community looks like, then I think they will be excited.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHANGES AFTER OPERATING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO THERE?

I have loved walking in and seeing art on the walls and knowing artists are working within those walls. One of the challenges was a lot of those spaces were not used during the week frequently. They were storage spaces for artists. Will it be different? Yes. Will it have its own cool features when it coalesces into its own community? Yes. I have no doubt.

WHAT KIND OF CREATIVE COMMUNITY, EXACTLY?

Inclusive. We want to get people thinking about the creative economy and arts and culture outside of museums, classical orchestra, and ballet. Just because photographers, web designers, and content creators can be commercially successful doesn’t disqualify them from being part of the broader arts community and [or disqualify them from] funding.

My argument is [that] it’s economic development. It attracts visitors, keeps people here, and contributes to mental well-being.

THE STUTZ HAS ALWAYS BEEN HOME TO A VARIETY OF CREATIVE TYPES, INCLUDING ARTISTS AND STARTUPS. WHAT’S DIFFERENT NOW?

The vision was always to be a hub of national recognition. There are artists here who show regularly and have national representation. There’s nothing wrong with being a hobbyist, but the bigger picture for me—based on a quote I’ve borrowed from [local civic-engagement guru] Michael Kaufmann, “The city has done a great job enabling hobbyists at the expense of supporting more serious artists and creators”—is that we get better at supporting individuals who want to make a living while practicing creative expression.

IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS, HOW DOES THIS TURN OUT?

 For a long time, I’ve advocated for a citywide strategy around culture and arts like we have for sports and tech. I hope that will come to fruition and the Stutz will be a key player. Just give us time. This whole neighborhood is undergoing a huge transformation with the IU Health district. The Stutz is part of that, and there’s more to come.