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Cosmopolitan apartment fire prompts lawsuit

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The insurer for Indiana Landmarks is suing the developer of a downtown apartment project that was partially destroyed by fire last year in an effort to recoup a claim for damages sustained to its client’s building.

Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America filed its lawsuit in Marion Superior Court against Flaherty & Collins Development LLC and its construction division, claiming negligence.

A March 2009 blaze destroyed portions of Flaherty & Collins’ Cosmopolitan on the Canal project in downtown Indianapolis and spread to the roof of the adjacent Indiana Landmarks’ headquarters at 340 W. Michigan St., causing about $1 million in damage.

Travelers’ lists no specific amount in its request for damages, and the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer’s attorney did not return phone calls.

In a written statement, Flaherty & Collins acknowledged it has received the lawsuit and said “attorneys for our insurance carrier are looking over the claims and will determine the appropriate action.”

The Nov. 29 complaint charges that Flaherty & Collins failed to install a proper and operational security and fire protection system to prevent the spread of the fire.

“Defendants breached their duty of due care by negligently, carelessly and deficiently constructing and erecting the building, [and] by failing to follow the applicable plans and specifications in constructing and erecting the building,” the lawsuit said.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi in May dropped arson charges against a homeless man who had been accused of setting the fire that destroyed the $27 million complex. Flaherty & Collins has since rebuilt the complex and opened it to residents and retail tenants.

No further information has been released regarding the details of the case.

Meanwhile, Indiana Landmarks refurbished the historic building damaged by the fire and is selling its longtime headquarters with a list price of $3.1 million.

The not-for-profit’s planned move in the spring to the former Central Avenue Methodist Church at 12th Street and Central Avenue is prompting the sale.

Indiana Landmarks in October tapped Cassidy Turley to market its canal-side headquarters, known as the Williamson Center, which it has occupied since 1991.

The building contains 15,734 square feet of rentable space.

Indiana Landmarks is the largest state preservation organization in the United States, both by size of its endowment ($35 million) and membership base (8,700). With nine offices across the state, it is second only to the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 

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  • actual culpability
    It's too bad actual culpability for setting the fire apparently cannot be determined. What a waste of capital, energy, and natural resources!

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