IBJNews

Developer launching rehab of vacant College Avenue retail building

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A long-vacant retail building a few blocks north of Massachusetts Avenue is about to undergo a major renovation and could be ready for occupancy in the spring.

Built in 1927, the 6,700-square-foot eyesore at 1101 N. College Ave. has sat empty since the early 1980s. But neighborhood developer Larry Jones, principal of Teagen Development Inc., believes the building is worth saving.

“This is one that I’ve driven by three times a week for 30 years,” he said. “It’s always been there; it finally became available.”

11th college photo jones REWThe 86-year-old eyesore at 1101 N. College Ave. has been vacant since the 1980s. (IBJ Photo/Scott Olson)

Jones agreed last year to buy the building from John Thompson, who had owned it since 2005. Thompson had applied to the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission for permission to demolish the building but withdrew the request when Jones stepped forward to buy it.

Jones declined to disclose the purchase price but told IBJ in October 2012 that he had agreed to pay "in the mid-five figures.”

IHPC has jurisdiction over buildings that fall within the city’s designated historic districts and typically disapproves of their demolition. The building at 11th Street and College Avenue is in the northeast corner of the Chatham Arch historic district and is just south of the Old Northside Historic District.

“It was always a building that I was hoping would be saved one of these days,” said David Baker, IHPC administrator.

Jones has built a career revitalizing urban retail properties. His company developed the Chatham Center, a building at Ninth and East streets with 9,100 square feet of retail space and 11 apartments. He also developed Lincoln Park Shops at 25th Street and Central Avenue and is a partner in the entity that bought and improved the Murphy Art Center, a 44,000-square-foot building at 1043 Virginia Ave in Fountain Square.

11th college photo jones REWThe developer hopes to fill the finished product with three retail tenants. (Image courtesy Blackline Studio)

Construction on his latest project is slated to start in December. Jones said he’ll spend about $600,000 to renovate the one-story structure whose collapsed roof has left much of the interior exposed to the elements.

The plan is to stabilize and restore the front and south facades and replace the east and most of the north concrete-block walls. The original clay-tile roof will be preserved along with masonry and the wood-and-glass storefront.

One of the biggest issues for the building has been a lack of parking. Modifications to the sidewalk along the dead-end spur of 11th Street should provide for nine spaces. Jones also has asked the city to rescind parking restrictions along the east side of College from 11th to the Interstate 65 overpass, giving the building a total of 31 dedicated spaces, Jones said.

That’s helping to attract interest from prospects. Jones hopes to fill the space with three tenants and already has a letter of intent from a small neighborhood market to occupy 2,700 square feet of the space.

The market will offer restaurant-quality prepared entrees to go, he said, and will have a limited amount of counter and exterior patio space available for on-site dining. Other tenants could be service providers such as a dry cleaner or a real estate or insurance agent, Jones said.

He plans to charge $16 a square foot, a rate cheaper than what’s commanded on Massachusetts Avenue, where foot traffic is more abundant. Still, Jones thinks the building has potential.

“It’s got good traffic and good visibility,” he said.

He’s named it Ovid and Calvin Commons in a nod to the original owners of the property, law partners Ovid Butler and Calvin Fletcher. Butler is best known for founding Butler University.

He had planned to start a college on the site but later established North Western Christian University in 1855 a few blocks north at 13th Street and College. The university took Butler’s name in 1875 and moved to Irvington. It’s been at its present location, at Sunset Avenue and West 46th Street, since 1928.

Jones’ building at 11th and College originally housed the Great A&P Tea Co., a barbershop, a shoe repair business and a laundry. Over the years, it also housed restaurants and a delicatessen.

“I’m delighted that somebody is trying to tackle it and make something out of it,” said Sally Spiers, president of the Chatham Arch Neighborhood Association.
 
Blackline Studio is the architect on the project.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Storm damage
    Demolition of all but the front and south walls had already taken place. Unfortunately, the storms that rolled through knocked half of it down. Not good news for the developer in wanting to preserve and restore the building's facade. I assume the entire thing will be torn down now?
  • Great!
    I lived in the apartments across the street for four years, and I always wished someone would save that building. As a Butler Grad, it's awesome to hear ole Ovid used to own it. How interesting! I think with the amount of residential in that area the right retail could prosper, though something will need to be done with the intersection of 11th and College to make it a bit more pedestrian friendly.
  • Grandview
    I thought it was on Grandview….10 minutes away….
  • Wonderful News!
    I used to live in the apartments across the street and this really is a little gem of a building. I'm so happy it is being saved and expanding potential economic growth along College Ave.
  • Retail?
    I hope it succeeds since I live close. Retail might seem a challenge. I always thought a few small apartments with walled courtyards in front might work. Make entrances front rear if possible.
  • Excited
    I drive by this every day noticing the unique details on the facade. I'm glad someone is willing to invest in the future to save an old neat building. I am hopeful for some nice useful tenants.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

ADVERTISEMENT