You shouldn't necessarily care about the Emmis HQ. But I personally find it to be a telling reflection on the philosophy of the founder, in the kind of work environment he desired to create, and the way he views "his" people...in setting up and designing a building that makes for a work environment highly conducive to both productivity, and a "humanistic," vibrant, and stimulating atmosphere. The building was built nearly 15 years ago. Yet it feels like "new" inside, still. And for "modern" architecture (which I usually hate), it's really quite brilliant, and uplifting, in its design ethos. And it is kept up with pride. It's in a beautiful area of Indianapolis, on Circle Center. Whether or not it helps with long term value generation, I'll allow you to debate that...but part of value creation is having a decent corporate culture...and I think the "openness" of the floor plan of the building really quite mesmerizingly pays a certain respect and tribute to an open corporate culture that I DO find quite evident at Emmis. It's a culture that should be successsful over time, even if Emmis has had a lot of difficultly, the last few years, from overleverage, and the secular and cyclical decline in radio and publishing. (I guess the question is: what was the success of the company in creating value, prior to, say, 4-5 years ago, when the bottom fell out, for much of the industry players that were overleveraged.)
I actually do care about their HQ. I care that it sounds like wasteful spending and that makes me nervous as a long. There's something to be said for taking care of employees and creating a positive corporate culture but not to excess and not on a sinking ship.
Well, it was built in 1998. Times were different. Besides, it is hardly "over the top"....but it does give the company important visibility, cachet, and "mind share" on the highly important Monument Circle.
I think the investment was probably "pound wise". But if someone wants to argue a specific comparative cost situation on why it's not, I'm willing to listen.