Rebirth for Ambassador?

June 9, 2008
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AmbassadorTwo local developers have submitted bids to redevelop the Ambassador apartments adjacent to the Central Library. Van Rooy and Buckingham both proposed mixed uses for the Ambassador building, with street-level retail and commercial space and 60 one-bedroom apartment units on the upper floors. Van Rooy wants to buy the building for $1 million and spend another $3.7 million to update interiors and add features such as a business center, fitness room and a movie theater for residents. In Buckingham’s proposal, the company offers to buy the Ambassador for $865,000 and spend an undisclosed amount to create “high-quality, market-rate� apartments that would rent from $800 to $1,000 per month. Built in 1924, the Ambassador is on the edge of the historic St. Joseph neighborhood. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. A key issue will be parking. To read more about the proposals, including plans for parking, read reporter Chip Cutter's story here.
  • Is being old (wow, 84 years...) the only thing that makes this thing historic? It looks like a pretty ordinary brown brick building to me.

    To comment on the article though, it looks like either proposal will be nice.
  • I think this has potential.

    Its in a newly birthed area and both proposals are not going for condos. Perhaps the area doesn't necessarily warrant high end apartments, but I'm curious what 'high end' goes for in Indy... $700?
  • I'm for either development as long as there are no surface parking lots.. I'm also glad it's being planned as apartments and not condos. Sure parking is an issue, but the location is perfect for people who bike/walk instead of driving everywhere.
  • I really hope Buckingham gets this project. They have much better taste than Van Rooy.

    As far as being historic, this building has some great details on it, and one of my favorite arched entrances in the city.

    Here are some shots of the Ambassador I took a few months ago:

    If you don't think that's beautiful and worth saving, I can't help you.
  • I live right across the street in Cathcart Apartments on 9th and this is very exciting to see. This building is a huge disappointment to see sitting undeveloped and has huge potential. I also hope Buckingham gets this one.
  • very nice Ablerock, I've only seen it driving by......The details up close look great.....
  • wow, that quote saying the building has no character is ridiculous!
  • i too hope buckingham gets this the subject - has anyone heard about any progress for leasing the ground floor of the gibson building? the last i heard it was supposed to be filled with a grocery store and possibly other retail stores. thanks!
  • Benjamin, go back and reread the quote. It's in reference to the one-story building across the street, and is quite true.
  • One bedrooms with new fixtures in that area will go from about $700 (at probably 600 square feet) up to $1,000 or more for larger apartments with good views.

    The Van Rooy proposal seems more viable to me, as the amenities in the building are necessary to compete with other downtown buildings. Most of the refurbished apartment buildings (Turnverein, Vermont Place, Block, etc.) have exercise rooms at a minimum, and often much more.

    Just curious, why is everyone favoring Buckingham? Better plan, or better track record for the company? Van Rooy has done several of these, with good success. Just seems like it is the more viable choice.
  • When I lived at the Ambassador, I paid $585 per month in rent with free parking. I'm a bibliophile , so for me the bldg's proxmity to the library was its greatest feature. I'd like to see it renovated once again, so others can experience life there. I'm familiar with Van Rooy and I prefer the amenities they offer, but I think their monthly rental rates are too high.This is not Chicago. I believe $700-$800 is what a one bedroom apt. should cost in downtown Indy.
  • Well, I pay $1900 for my one bedroom in Los Angeles, so any of those rates being tossed around seem like heaven to me!
  • From certain apartments at the Ambassador it wouldn't even be necessary to leave your living room to read books in the library!

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