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Preserving A Rich History

Bottleworks Indianapolis Tech Industry

The Bottleworks District is beginning to take shape as we work to reimagine the iconic Coca-Cola bottling plant that’s been around since the 1930s.

With a history as bold as this one, you can bet that there’s a story behind much of what you will see brought to life. RATIO, a global multidisciplinary design studio, is leading the effort to preserve the site’s original buildings, transforming a portion of the original structure into Indianapolis’ own Bottleworks Hotel. Recently, we caught up with Jeff Milliken, principal of RATIO, to learn more about the transformation from an architect’s perspective.

A Coca-Cola Icon Reimagined

The iconic Coca-Cola bottling plant that anchors the east end of Mass Ave in Indianapolis is getting a major makeover as we transform the plant and the surrounding 12 acres into a culinary, arts, and entertainment hub. One of the largest urban adaptive-reuse projects that Indianapolis has seen, Bottleworks will reflect the Art-Deco style of the original buildings while making room for an entirely new vision.

The 140-room Bottleworks Hotel - Indianapolis will embrace the Art-Deco features inherent to the space with a modern twist. Our goal is to preserve the impeccable character of the buildings’ many historic features while converting the space into an architectural statement that will stand on its own, even in today’s day and age. We're overlaying this strong Art-Deco design with a modern, almost mid-century aesthetic, that pairs well with the already existing style imbedded in the original buildings.

A New Story Begins

We’re really envisioning a whole new purpose to this building. Given the design legacy of the historic district, we’re committed to restoring those signature elements of the space. But we are also working new aspects into the architecture, to improve so that we can accommodate the unique aspects of the hotel. Wanting to open up the space and create a more welcoming atmosphere, we decided to cut out the middle bay of the building to create a courtyard in the center of the original structure. In addition, spanning across the courtyard we plan to add catenary lighting, accenting the new white brick walls that are reminiscent of the white terracotta on the historic exterior. A small detail, but yet another example of our plans to blend the old with the new.

In order to create a more active and engaging environment, we also plan to bring new life to old streets, including Carrollton Avenue, which will connect Mass Ave back to 10thStreet. The idea is to take these great old buildings and re-introduce them to the public. A roof deck will also be added on the west side of the building overlooking Carrollton Avenue, helping add vibrancy to the neighborhood.

Restoring a Namesake

While we are adapting the space in a new light, we also want to keep many of the historical features that make the building so iconic. One example are the intricately detailed garage doors along Carrollton Avenue, which Coca-Cola delivery trucks once drove through. Once restored they will open up for restaurant seating to spill onto the sidewalk. This is just one of many elements you will see featured in the final concept. It’s details like this that will stop visitors in their tracks, bringing them back in time.

We hope to put a new twist on the original features of the building, like the green glazed brick that you can find just about anywhere you turn. As we re-work the layout and transform the space to make it hotel ready, we’ll be restoring the brick throughout, setting the stage fora one-of-a-kind hospitality experience.

The original bold-colored tiling in the lobby (think muted oranges, teal and mint green) is such a statement piece that we couldn’t envision the new hotel without them. So we called on local artist, Barbara Zech, to help restore and recreate this iconic look for you to enjoy.

In addition, the original pieces, like the intricately detailed brass doors that we couldn’t say goodbye to, will be fully restored to their former glory. Other features, like the original drop ceilings, will appear in the new design but with a more modern feel that combines our overarching vision as well as the building’s Art-Deco elements.


Bottleworks District will revitalize a previously underutilized space into a legacy for generations to come. In addition to the restored buildings that will become a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience and the city’s first food hall, The Garage, later phases will include brand new retail, office, and residential opportunities.


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