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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Developers expect the first half of the long-planned Bottleworks District on the north end of Mass Ave to open in early 2020.

A ceremonial groundbreaking at the old Coca-Cola bottling plant property starts the countdown toward the opening of a boutique hotel in the 87-year-old Art Deco administration building. The West Elm Hotel will be the first in the home furnishings chain’s new hotel division. The company has announced plans for a first wave of six hotels, in partnership with Williams-Sonoma.

Hendricks Commercial Properties CEO Rob Gerbitz says the rest of the Coke complex will feature a theater, office and retail space, including a 30-thousand-square-foot festival marketplace with more than two dozen food vendors and other businesses. He says he’s hoping the market alone will draw two-million visitors a year to the development.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the Bottleworks District creates a tourist destination that will leave visitors feeling they’ve experienced something unique to Indianapolis. He says it’s the first significant development in years beyond the downtown Mile Square, and says it creates a bridge between downtown and near northside neighborhoods while preserving the architecture of the bottling complex.

Coca-Cola hasn’t occupied the complex since 1964. More recently, the Indianapolis Public Schools used it for storage, a bus garage, and a central kitchen for school lunches.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)