Luxury Living and Fire Protection in Indianapolis’s Mass Ave Arts District

When the Indianapolis Star moved its offices to Circle Center Mall, their former home on N. Pennsylvania Street – prime real estate for a growing downtown – was left vacant. TWG, a well-known real estate developer, purchased the property in 2013, with the hope of preserving much of the existing structure. However, the old Indy Star building proved too difficult to work with, due to how it had been constructed and renovated over time. TWG changed their plans for this property, which took up nearly a whole city block at the southern tip of the Mass Ave Arts District, while still focusing on increasing retail and living space in downtown Indianapolis.

Beginning the Project

After demolishing the old Indy Star building, TWG set out to construct two mixed-use buildings consisting of 479 apartments, and connected by a sky bridge. The first building, Pulliam Square, opened to tenants in September of 2015 and also houses The Tap restaurant on the main floor. Construction of the second building, known as The Whit, began in early 2017, and has been accelerated in order to open to tenants later this summer. Because of their long-standing relationship with TWG and reputation for quality installation of fire protection systems, Ryan Fireprotection was enlisted to install the wet and dry sprinkler systems in both Pulliam Square and The Whit.

Construction of The Whit is being completed in two phases. The North phase features street level resident amenities such as a fitness center, storage units, and restrooms. The remaining eight floors are dedicated to almost half of the 334 luxury apartments. The South phase, which is nearly identical to the North, consists of the remaining apartments, a lobby and leasing office on the main floor, and a penthouse on the top floor.

Project Features

All fire sprinkler systems for this project were installed according to NFPA 13, with additional attention given to the specific guidelines for high-rise construction.  As with most newly constructed multi-family projects, the sprinkler system for The Whit consists primarily of wet systems, with a required dry system in the pool equipment room where there is no temperature regulation.

The sprinkler system includes zone shut-off valves on each floor, allowing one floor at a time to be controlled. Due to the height of the building, the system included a 1,000 gal/min fire pump which provided the necessary flow and pressure to propel water to the top floor in the case of a fire. Also per NFPA 13 regulation, stand pipes were installed in the stairwells for system access for the fire department should the need arise.

Project Challenges and Solutions

As with most major construction projects, the developer and contractors spend a significant amount of time planning and designing on the front end so the project can run smoothly and without major delays or increases to budget. During the design engineering of The Whit, Ryan Fireprotection discovered an issue with the steel I-beams that connected each apartment. If construction were to continue as initially planned, there would not be enough room to run the piping for the fire sprinkler system. Ryan worked with the rest of the team to coordinate over 2,000 holes pre-drilled into these I-beams for piping to run through. This saved a significant amount of time and money compared to if the issue had been discovered after construction began.

To work at optimal efficiency, Ryan Fireprotection utilized flexible hose adapters for the sprinkler heads. This flex system allows for hydrostatic pipe testing to be conducted while continuing installation without re-opening the ceiling during the project.

Continuing The Project

Construction on The Whit continues at an accelerated pace to address the ongoing need for downtown living space. TWG estimates the final phase to be completed in November 2018, at which time the remaining apartments can be occupied. Once construction is complete, Ryan will continue its relationship with The Whit and TWG by conducting periodic inspections and testing, to ensure the system remains operational and effective.

To learn more about our recent multi-family and mixed-use projects, please visit our Industries section. You can also request a quote on your next fire sprinkler installation project or any upcoming inspection and testing needs.

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