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Cause, origin of apartment building fire undetermined

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Investigators are trying to determine what caused a three-alarm fire that destroyed a newly built apartment apartment building downtown Friday night.

Indianapolis Fire Capt. Rita Burris said investigators remained on the scene Saturday and had not determined the cause or the origin of the blaze that caused $3.5 million in damage and sent black smoke wafting into the sky.

The fire destroyed a four-story, 60-apartment building under construction in the 16 Park development by the Indianapolis Housing Agency. The building was due to open this fall.

16 Park, which was expected to cost a total of $34 million, is replacing the former Caravelle Commons housing development north of East 16th Street between Central and College avenues.

Lt. Larry Tracy says one firefighter was injured and was treated for a possible broken wrist.

Caravelle Commons was a 65-unit, low-income-housing property built in 1975. The seven-acre property had become a magnet for crime, with dead-end streets and fenced-in apartment homes surrounding crowded parking lots. But the Indianapolis Housing Agency was betting the new project would  jump-start more interest in the area.

“We really think this is a transformational development that’s really going to change that part of the neighborhood and that part of the city,” said Bruce Baird, IHA’s director of strategic planning and development, told IBJ last year.

IHA bought the complex in March 2009 from the Near North Development Corp., which took over the Caravelle not-for-profit complex in 2003. Near North stepped in to refinance, renovate and stabilize the property with an eye toward eventually selling it to a more appropriate owner.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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