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City, development group agree to protect Mallory site

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The city and a neighborhood development group have agreed to seek historic protection for a four-acre industrial complex they hope will be a catalyst for redevelopment of a stretch of East Washington Street.

The centerpiece of the P.R. Mallory complex at Washington and Gray streets is a three-story, 125,000-square-foot brick structure that’s been vacant for decades. The building and four smaller structures on the site are owned by Southeast Neighborhood Development, a not-for-profit that’s working with the city to convert the complex from an eyesore into a magnet for neighborhood jobs.

SEND, the city and state historic preservation officials recently signed a memorandum of agreement to seek protection for the structures by placing them under the jurisdiction of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission and by nominating them to the National Register of Historic Places.

It could take as long as three years to put the historic protections in place, but SEND and its partners aren’t waiting that long to promote redevelopment of the site.

REW_Mallory_15colEfforts are under way to redevelop the former headquarters of battery-maker P.R. Mallory. (IBJ Photo/Perry Reichanadter)

Julie Beaubien, SEND’s interim executive director, said her group is working toward issuing a request for proposals late this summer or early fall to find a developer or developers interesting in rehabilitating the main Mallory Building.

“The Mallory building is a major redevelopment challenge and opportunity,” said Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services for Indiana Landmarks, which has been advising SEND on the project. The building could be used as office or light industrial space or could accommodate apartments.

SEND and the city have been working on acquiring the various Mallory properties over the last three years.

Other structures on the site that would be protected by IHPC are a small power house, the Mallory employee cafeteria building, a gatehouse and a smokestack that is a landmark in the neighborhood.

The property also includes undeveloped land that abuts Washington Street. That site was cleared last year by SEND and the city using federal grant money to demolish a former dry cleaner and clean up contamination of the site. Another building within the boundaries of the proposed historic district will be demolished soon because it is considered too deteriorated to save.

Immediately south of the proposed historic district is a city-owned, 60,000-square-foot building that could have a tenant soon. Beaubien said her group is negotiating with a company interested in occupying it and bringing jobs to the neighborhood. She wouldn’t identify the potential tenant.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Mallory site hosted baseball fields where the Indianapolis Indians played their first games. It was later the site of Wonderland, an amusement park that was destroyed by fire in 1911.

General Electric built the main building in 1921, but never moved in. Mallory bought it from GE in 1929 as a location for its tool-forging operation. Mallory, which later manufactured its trademarked Duracell battery there, expanded the complex in the 1930s and 1940s and employed 1,500 at the site by 1966.

Employment began to decline in the 1970s as Mallory sold off various business units. All that remains is CMW Inc., which bought Mallory’s electrical-contact manufacturing operation in 1978. CMW, which also produces high-density metals and welding products, employs about 110 people in buildings that were formerly part of the Mallory complex. Those buildings are south of the proposed historic district and are not part of the redevelopment effort.
 

 

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  • FORD-RETIREE
    WE NEED TO SAVE THIS BUILDING TOO MALLORY WAS PARTNERS WITH FORD TO MAKE THE BATTARYS AND OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS FOR CARS AND TRUCKS.
  • the old mallory
    yes please save it we want to save the old ford building on washington to at the 1300 block
  • Toxic
    The city wants to buy a former duracell battery plant that was shuttered decades ago because of environmental contamination and they are considering putting apartments on the property?

    The city needs to think real hard before they take this property off the tax roles and pick up millions in environmental clean up costs that belong to others.

    Perhaps an EPA enforcement action is more appropriate.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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