Work is progressing on the massive renovation of a historic downtown building in hopes that it will be ready to house a pair of art galleries in the spring.
The 11,200-square-foot building at 42 E. Washington St., which dates to the 1830s, is believed to be the oldest commercial structure in downtown Indianapolis.
Its four-story façade has been stripped and is awaiting a custom awning that will be shipped from Japan. On the inside, perhaps the most visible design element is the two-story foyer that’s been created by removing a portion of the second floor.
By opening up the entry, visitors and passersby should be able to get a glimpse of the second level, where the Second Floor Art & Entertainment gallery will be located.
The JHL Properties ownership group has commissioned Chicago artist Boban Ilic to recreate the statue of Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan that welcomes fans to the United Center. The piece will be on permanent display on the second level, which will feature a sports and entertainment theme.
“The hope is that you’ll be able to see it from the street,” said Curt Hunter, a part owner of Second Floor Art & Entertainment.
For resale, pieces of local sports stars Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers have been commissioned, too, Hunter said.
Gallery Forty-Two on the ground level will showcase traditional artwork.
The three outside window casings on the third floor will be opened up with an overall goal to restoring the building to a late-1800s design. The renovation will preserve areas of original flooring and some woodwork, brick and wallpaper from the late 1800s.
The building has been mostly vacant for years, except for an occasional first-floor retail tenant (most recently a jewelry store). The Antonopoulos family completed a stabilization project in 2011 before selling the property to the current owners, who live in Johnson County.