IBJNews

Grocery, housing projects could rejuvenate stretch of 16th Street

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A troubled low-income housing project called Caravelle Commons has a new owner with plans to redevelop the complex to better connect with the Herron Morton Place neighborhood.

Next door, the grocery chain Kroger has revived efforts to acquire land and plan a new supermarket at 16th and Central Avenue to replace a cramped, old-format location. The chain bought the corner a few years ago, closed on a vacant parcel that was previously part of Caravelle earlier this year, and is negotiating with the owner of another vacant lot.

Together, the developments could represent a turning point for a blighted stretch of 16th Street that has bedeviled the surrounding neighborhood for years. Community groups aren’t getting hopes up just yet; talk of redevelopment along the stretch has been buzzing for at least a decade.

But they are encouraged by plans to either drastically revamp or replace the 65-unit Caravelle, which sits on about seven acres north of 16th Street between Central and College avenues.

The Indianapolis Housing Agency bought the complex in March from the Near North Development Corp., which took over the failed co-op 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, said Michael Osborne, the group’s president.

Demolition likely

The 1970s suburban-style complex sits in the middle of a historic urban neighborhood and invites crime with its dead-end streets and fenced-in apartment homes that surround crowded parking lots.

The housing agency, which administers the federal Section 8 program, used a grant of about

$400,000 from a city housing trust fund to acquire the property and begin drawing up plans for redevelopment. The agency already has won stimulus grants it expects to apply to the project’s cost and also plans to apply for low-income housing tax credits. The group declined to provide an estimate of the project’s ultimate cost.

At a minimum, the Indianapolis Housing Agency plans to reopen Park Avenue, which now dead-ends in the complex, and take down fences that surround the apartment buildings.

But there’s a “good chance” the plans will involve demolition of the existing complex, at 1643 N. Park Ave., and the construction of a more urban-looking replacement, said Bruce Baird, the group’s director of strategic planning and development.

“We don’t like the layout—it’s very nonurban,” Baird said. “It’s a typical 1970s urban renewal project that doesn’t fit within the neighborhood at all.”

The agency would like to rebuild the apartments on an expanded footprint; it just bought a boarded-up home adjacent to the existing complex and is talking with city officials about taking over a city-owned parcel at the northeast corner of 16th Street and Park Avenue that would be ideal for a mixed-use building, Baird said.

Neighbors are eager for improvements they see as long overdue.

“We are dying for something to happen there. We are waiting with bated breath,” said Kellie Welborn, a board member of Herron Morton Neighborhood Association.

Welborn said her group wants to improve the neighborhood for all residents, including those of Caravelle.

The housing agency hopes to hold on to current residents of the complex, which now is 100-percent occupied. The group has promised the neighborhood an update on its progress in December.

Grocery coveted

Neighbors are so eager for a full-service grocery store that they briefly considered boycotting the existing, 22,000-square-foot Kroger before deciding that visiting frequently could be more persuasive, Welborn said. One worry for some: the impact on the neighborhood of a potential Kroger fuel station.

Kroger already owns about an acre at the northeast corner of 16th Street and Central Avenue and has an option to buy another parcel to the north from the King Park Area Development Corp. It bought a vacant portion of the Caravelle property behind its existing store, and the chain also recently opened negotiations with the owner of a vacant lot at 1625 Central Ave. that’s listed for $49,900.

“There’s been talk of a Kroger going in there for eight years,” said Mark Jones, whose locally based Copasetic Investments bought the lot from a bank about 18 months ago. “I think it would be a savvy move on Kroger’s part. There’s not a newer grocery store in the area, and with all the growth I’d say there’s a need.”

Kroger spokesman John Elliott said the chain has had trouble acquiring all the real estate it would need for a new store but hasn’t given up. The chain is in an “expansion and investment mode” in Indianapolis; it just opened a new store at 71st Street and Binford Boulevard, is building another in Nora and a third is in the works for West Carmel.

Workers last week were installing new fixtures in the produce section and doing other work to spruce up the 16th Street store. Kroger will monitor whether that investment provides a boost to sales before it decides how to proceed, Elliott said.  

A few properties could prove pivotal to a potential new Kroger store: A row of three boarded-up and graffiti-covered 1930s apartment buildings that occupy a large lot between Central Avenue and the existing store. Two of the buildings are owned by local investors John Sherby and Steve Blankenship of S&B Investments and a third is owned by an affiliate of Countrywide Mortgage.

S&B had hoped to acquire all three for a redevelopment but couldn’t secure financing to buy the last one, so the company is offering its buildings for sale at $49,917 each, said Stacy Sheedy, the registered agent for the company.

“He would be more than happy to sell to Kroger if he could,” she said of one of the two owners.

The third building could be tougher to acquire: It is saddled with more than $100,000 in liens, more than the building likely is worth.•

ADVERTISEMENT

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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT