International Office moves to Carmel

International Office moved into its new building at 1036 South Rangeline Road in Carmel, Indiana, on Jan.16, 2018.

Read more about the move, location and building below. Then keep scrolling to watch our video tribute to 3450 Founders Road.

The following text was originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Themis magazine.

By Staff Writer Christy Marx Barber (Alpha Psi Chapter)

“Location, location, location,” real estate agents say, is the primary rule in buying property. In July 2015, the ZTA Fraternity Housing Corporation began to search in Carmel, Indiana, for the ideal location to build a new International Office. After 18 months and dozens of site visits, the FHC has found that perfect location—without the need to build.

In December 2016, the FHC purchased an existing building at 1036 South Rangeline Road in Carmel that will, after renovation, meet the Fraternity’s three primary goals of relocating—a proper tribute to our history; adequate space for staff support and training; and a strong, thriving location.

“The key to our decision was the building’s location in Carmel on a street with excellent new development all around it,” said FHC President Julia Marthaler Hill. “The building is in impeccable condition and renovating it to meet our needs will be much more cost-effective than building from scratch. We feel very fortunate to have obtained this property.”

The new building in Carmel is just 9.5 miles northeast of IO’s current location in Indianapolis. Carmel is one of the nation’s fastest-growing communities and now the fifth largest city in Indiana.

The four-level building is twice the size of the current IO, which was completed in 1993 at 3450 Founders Road in northwest Indianapolis. That building doubled the size of the first Indianapolis IO, completed in 1977 at 3330 Founders Road. The two Founders Road offices were constructed on empty lots and had more traditional exteriors. The Carmel location has a more corporate, modern exterior that both Mrs. Hill and Executive Director Meghan Vicinus Parker believe represents the current forward-thinking vision and growth of ZTA.

“The building reflects where we are today,” Mrs. Hill said. “We are a sisterhood with a wonderful heritage, but we are also a thriving business with three successful entities and a staff that provides essential services to our chapters, members and volunteers. This building matches the size and scope of the work we do now and will do into the future.”

“This building will honor our past and move Zeta Tau Alpha forward as an organization,” Mrs. Parker said. “We will have space to host daily visitors like National Officers, other fraternity/sorority representatives and our vendors and suppliers. It has wonderful potential for us to be more collaborative. Those partnerships and that collaboration will complement each other more effectively in this new space.”

Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Parker join ZTA National President Carolyn Hof Carpenter, ZTA Foundation President Becky Hainsworth Kirwan and Vice President Alumnae II Alicia Patten Williams as the International Office Building Committee. This committee has contracted with Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf and its principal and partner, Jonathan Hess, to design the renovations. Browning Day is the premier architectural firm in Indianapolis with multiple major projects in its portfolio, including the expansion of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the renovation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s “Project 100” public spaces, and the remodeling of corporate offices for Eli Lilly and Company. Browning Day also designed ZTA’s current International Office.

The first floor of the new IO will feature a reception area, Crown & Co. retail store, executive offices, a board room, and the ZTA archives with historic photos, memorabilia and interactive exhibits. The renovation plan also includes climate-controlled storage for precious archival items. “This was such an important need for us because our history is our foundation,” Mrs. Hill said. “Visitors to the new IO will experience our past and learn about our current programming and growth.”

The second floor fulfills a major need with its existing large training room. “We will be able to host our own leadership academies, train our Traveling Leadership Consultants and host interfraternal meetings and workshops,” Mrs. Parker said. “It’s a large, comfortable, functional space that we don’t currently have and will allow us to move forward.” The second floor will also include employee work spaces and a catering kitchen for meetings and staff lunches.

The third floor will have more employee work spaces and collaboration areas, plus a solarium and rooftop patio, perfect for hosting outdoor receptions and providing a sunlit space for brainstorming and creativity. From the rooftop patio, you can see Carmel City Hall, with its Japanese garden and gazebo park, and the Monon Trail, a popular walking and biking path.

The lower level will become the mail and supply room, utilizing existing easy access for delivery trucks via the large parking lot.

An Archives Development Committee and a Building Renovation Committee, comprised of appointed members of the three national boards, are collaborating on the design plans with the Building Committee and the Browning Day team, with the goal of moving by late fall 2017.

“We’re moving ahead with an outstanding team of professionals and ZTA leaders to give us the most effective use of the new space,” Mrs. Hill said. “We believe everyone will be thrilled when the renovations are complete. We can’t wait to call 1036 South Rangeline Road our new home.”