Coca-Cola Bottling Company
858-868 Massachusetts Ave.
Indianapolis Indiana Circa 1931
The day I visited Indy Reads Books bookstore in the Chatham Arch Historic District, I spotted this gem waiting to be photographed. Using my IPhone 7 camera, with limited time, I managed to take a few shots.
Being curious, I did a little research. Coca-Cola moved their bottling production in 1964, further out from downtown Indianapolis, to Speedway (think Indy 500). The property was subsequently sold in 1968 to the Indianapolis Public School (IPS) district, used as a central kitchen and house school buses. In 2017 IPS sold the 11-acre property to Wisconsin-based Hendricks Commercial Properties LLC for $12 million. Hendricks $260 million redevelopment plan calls for 400 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space, a cinema and a 120-room West Elm hotel.
There is one problem. Contamination from the plant was found seeping into the surrounding Chatham Arch neighborhood and remediation is ongoing. Hendricks is seeking money from the city and state to help with costs. There are no further updates available.
“The Coke plant, which opened in 1931, was designed by Rubush & Hunter, one of the top Indianapolis architecture firms at the time. Rubush & Hunter also designed the old Indianapolis City Hall, Hilbert Circle Theatre and other landmarks.
The 285,000-square-foot Coke plant was once the largest Coke bottling plant in the world. It is known for its terra cotta facade and impressive interior spaces. The art deco design includes details of flowers, fountains and sun rays. According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, the design was intended to enhance ‘the hygienic image of the spotless bottling plant.'” (Briggs, 2016).
Briggs, J. (2016, March 08). How much of old Coke plant, art deco features will be saved? Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://www.indystar.com/story/money/2016/03/08/how-much-old-coke-plant-art-deco-features-saved/81472696/
Olson, Scott. (2017, February 9). Contamination at former Coca-Cola plant site extends into neighborhood. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://www.ibj.com/articles/62464-contamination-at-former-coca-cola-plant-site-extends-into-neighborhood
Chatham Arch-Massachusetts Ave Historic Preservation Plan A 150 page pdf detailing the history of the area.