Former jail up for sale

July 27, 2009
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former downtown jailThe owner of a former Community Corrections jail facility at the southwest corner of Delaware and Maryland streets has put the building up for sale, with an asking price of $1.5 million. The 30,900-square-foot former warehouse, built in 1900, features tall ceilings, huge windows with skyline views and a brick exterior with historic features. It also has remnants of its former use, including opaque windows covered by steel fencing, open stalls of toilets and showers, raised platforms used by jail guards and rows and rows of bunks. The corrections department late last year agreed to move inmates out of the building as part of a lawsuit settlement with the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. Most potential buyers see the historically designated Wholesale District building as potential office space, maybe with a restaurant or fitness center on the first floor. Read the full story here.
  • Once again an overpriced building went to the market for reaction. Let me see... I predict vacancy. It will cost far more than $1.5 million to renovate, and no bank will lend money for the project. Do any of the brokers or building owners in this town really know what real estate is worth?
  • That will take a lot of money to remove all of that stuff.
    I like the building, it is charming and historic.
  • Absolutely beautiful building! I hope a good use can be found.

    As I think about the current use, I have to comment on the ICLU and the fact that taxpayers have to tolerate their continued use of lawsuits to force taxpayers to provide a more kind and gentle space for prisoners. We used to have a penal system and now it is a rehabilitative system. Note how well that works. Perhaps we need something where repeat offenders go to the penal system - no TV, no college study, no beneys, just chain gang work. And wouldn't it be great if they were next to the ICLU lawyers for wasting the taxpayers' money.
  • When did Bill O'Reilly start reading this blog? Please BerwickGuy, tell us more about crime, punishment and social justice.
  • Berwick Guy - Those who are incarcerated and then released into society need more than just hard labor and chain gang work the whole time. It helps everyone to try and rehabilitate as much as possible those who are spending time in prison. Since when is educating people a negative? There's a captive audience in jail - why not require them to learn something useful in addition to getting some free labor out of them? Geez. Thanks for the compassion.
  • Boomer and Billy - read again, I said for repeat offenders. If they don't get it the first time through help and assistance, then perhaps hard time would be a deterrant. Ok?
  • Perhaps, as a form of incarceration, we should have these building owners and brokers live and work in the buildings they think are worth so much. They could then experience their overpriced vacant dumps the same way we, their neighbors, do. Did I say that out loud?
  • SE-guy, maybe their property should immediately be reassessed at the asking price. :)
  • Ha Ha. Or perhaps they should list it for somewhere near what it appraised for when they had it appraised for tax purposes.
  • Berwick-
    You like to group large numbers of people (minorities, the poor, homeless, criminals) based on your assumptions. So, let me make a few guesses about you based on what you write on this blog:
    1- You're a scared white male
    2- You had an overbearing father but a very weak mother
    3- You have no close minority friends
    4- You are mildly paranoid
    5- You live in a suburb
    6- You have no compassion for animals
    7- You listen/watch Fox News a lot
    8- You're relatively well off
    9- You have no faith in any system unless the motivation is profit
    10- You are incapable of doing good, so you assume everyone is incapable, too.
    11- You have little faith in your fellow citizens

    I'd love to know how many are true. And I'd be happy to let you know how I came to each of those conclusions.

    But ultimately, if any points of my little experiment are wrong, well, that just goes to show how stupid assumptions are. SO STOP DOING IT!
  • Dutch:

    Ok, I'll play your little game. 7 is true. 9 - I have a very deep faith, however it is not in the system of government as it is headed (as opposed to how it was designed) I do not think profit is the number one motivation personally, but from a business prospective it has to be one of the prioities at the list in order for that business to potentially succeed.

    Of course, everyone is capable of doing good. We just don't most of the time because of our inherent sinful nature. I do have faith in my fellow citizens and that is why I try to be of help when I can. Trust , well that's another matter.

    All I'm trying to point out here is how things get shifted too far. We had a penal system. Was it humane - no. So our society changed it to a corrections system. Unfortunately, with the always willing assistance of the ACLU/ICLU, the focus became unrealistic. People getting raped in prison - shouldn't happen, ever. Second time offenders - apparently they don't want to change - so perhaps we should go back to the penal system for those guys that don't care. We certainly can find many cases of sociopaths that aren't going to change no matter how nice we are to them.

    Perhaps if we weren't spending so much time and money being nicey nice to the hardened criminals, we wouldn't have so many repeat offenses. There is a difference you know.

    So, Dutch, it's not that I don't care about people, it's about those people that don't care about us and will never change. Put them in the same category as Alqueda Terrorists - they won't learn to love us and be nice to us just because we are nice to them and want them to do so.

    Can we agree on these points?
  • Perhaps I am thinking of another building, but wasn't this supposed to become a Police Officer/Fire Fighters museum?
  • I'd rather this blog focus on real estate and design (though i'm sad to think the design end is very unambitious) and not social and political confrontation...

    dutcheastindie - very presumptuous
    berwick... they do have that sort of system in many countries - ones we didn't used to like until they purchased most of our currency.

    Back to the topic, I think the building is very solid and can't wait for a new use.
  • BerwickGuy-

    The idea of the penitentiary as an instrument of reform and rehabilitation over punishment and retribution has its origins in the enlightenment, not with 20th century civil rights lawyers.

    Many founding fathers of this country advocated for penitentiaries during the 18th century and stressed rehabilitation over punishment, probably most notably Benjamin Rush (signatory to the declaration of independence) and Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler. These efforts at reform continued for 60 years, and most states fundamentally altered their criminal justice systems in the first 50 years of the 19th century.

    It's a myth to suggest that our twentieth century society with the help of civil liberties lawyers converted a penal system to a corrections system. It happened long before that. If you are going to make an argument on history, get your history right.

    And not from FoxNews.
  • Levi:

    I do not believe nor did I imply that our system was changed to a penal system during the Twentieth Century. I heard no such thing on Fox News, by the way. I merely stated that our system had changed from being penal to rehabilitative. My own personal conclusion is that the pendulum went too far. I pointed out that only those HARDENED CRIMINALS that are second time offenders perhaps should be whisked away to something more deserving of their penalties - no frills, simply a penal system. Apparently, they don't want to change or can't.

    If you were a family member of a victim of a crime by a shooting or a rape, for example, of a repeat offender, perhaps you might agree. As for the ICLU, they have their own agenda which is not conducive to the needs of society's best.
  • Can I just echo what most of us reading this dialogue are thinking? SHUT UP!

    Strictly speaking, the building is being sold for $49 per sq. ft., so really, it's not THAT bad of a price. A Renovation could cost as much as $200 psf, dependent on how much interior demolition of the existing jail will cost.

    Beautiful building, but it's going to take quite of change to adapt it. However, the exterior facade looks to be solid and in great condition and is a great example of late 19th century downtown development. Hopefully someone will come in, snatch this up, and make a profit.
  • Anne: I'm not sure, but I think the building where the police museum is (might be) going is at Georgia and Penn.
  • Obviously, someone needs to start a penal-system blog. This is fascinating.
  • FYI Berwick Guy, according to Article 1 (The Bill of Rights), Section 18 of the Indiana Constitution of 1851 the penal code shall be founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice. The concept of reformation and rehabilitation has long been part of our justice system and is not the product of the ICLU (or ACLU). Get Real.

    As for the building, another huge plus for the building, whether office, commercial, residential, or etc. is that the surrounding area has become a culinary center over the last year and a half with the addition of Scotty's, Fogo, Adobe, and Taste of Tango to a robust list of already good restaurants and add the up coming opening of Ambrosia Downtown. I would love to live or work in that building. It would be nice if the buyer could also get the gravel lot behind the building, but I;m not really sure if that's possible.
  • IndyIndie:

    Perhaps a culinary art center/school? Someone has to be able to find a good reuse.

    Bill of rights - duly noted - however, times have changed and repeat offenders are getting worse - perhaps we need a change in the way we handle those folks, that's all. And I hate the ICLU!
  • Let’s stay on subject:

    As a guy who has purchased and renovated historic buildings in the downtown area, $49 per square foot with no parking is outrageously expensive. The appraisal is out there. It will not be denied. No one will be able to borrow more money against the real estate than that without a major high quality tenant for more than just the first floor. Facts are facts. Why do people even bother trying to play this game? The building will be vacant, once Corrections moves out. The first year property taxes will be due will be 2012, so until 2013 expect the building to remain vacant and deteriorate, unless the building owner has mortgaged the property. If that is the case they need to either get realistic about the price or watch it go into foreclosure.
  • This conversation has made who has an agenda pretty clear. It is not the ICLU.

    The building photos look good, I am sure that the building will find a new use once demand increases. Historic tax credits can only be claimed for income producing properties, so loft condominiums will not qualify but apartments or offices will.
  • Pass the bong ladies. I'll go with SE Guy's assessment on this one.
  • Does anyone know what is a reasonble market value that would sell within a few months? Over priced buidlings sitting vacant downtown are a bit of a problem.

    How much will proximity to the Marion County Jail hurt property value here. I was surprised by how much MANY think the jail hurt develop at the old MSA site. This is literally across the street.

    The ideologic driven political comments are very dull for a Property Lines thread.
  • I would think for an office tenant proximity to the jail and City County Building would be positive. Attorneys, and bail bondsmen make fine tenants. The biggest downside is the lack of parking. Frankly the appraisal is probably pretty accurate. It was an appraisal after all. I realize it was for tax purposes, but property tax assessments are supposed to be based upon market value. The problem is who would get property appraised for property tax purposes? My guess is that the tax purposes it was appraised for were inheritance taxes, or some other type of exchange. Regardless $500k would be a reasonable number that a bank would lend against. Perhaps the owner and broker would be best served taking that fact into consideration and pricing the property accordingly. That being said, we have no way of knowing if there is any other motivation behind the high price.

    Sadly, it is a beautiful building, and would be a fantastic candidate for Historic Reuse Tax Credits. At the right price someone could make it into a gem before it deteriorates. Let's all hope for the best.
  • This looks like a beautiful building on the outside.

    On another note, can we keep personal attacks on idealogical and political difference issues out of this blog please? This is ridiculous.
  • I can tell you why the ICLU was involved in the first place - the living conditions were atrocious; particularly, the toilet rooms and showers were leaking so badly that the first floor had $hit gutters to catch and divert all the leaking fluids from the stacked plumbing. Also, there was no make up ventilation air in the building. It was bad and was going to cost over a mil just to fix THOSE items.

    I have little respect though for the inmates who have nothing more to do except break the stuff they DO have. There's a way to entice good behavior: reward bad behavior by sending them to a nicer place. Will we ever learn that training humans just isn't that far from training dogs?
  • Everything from Virginia & Penn northeast to Market & Pine is a block from at least one jail. Maybe that's why MSA, the OpCenter, and this building all sit vacant...

    With state pens, the solution is to send them out in the country where local counties will be grateful for the stable wage base and local spending by staff. But there's not much way to move a county jail more than a block from the county courthouse.

    So I like Aaron Renn's idea: move the whole justice complex (jails, Sheriff, prosecutor, and courts) to an industrial-reuse site, such as the soon-to-go GM plant, the Citizens Coke plant site, or the demolished Chrysler Foundry.
  • Excellent suggestion, Thundermutt. Do you think the folks in the justice system would ever go for it? Would the local law offices throw up too much resistance? Hey, there's always hope!
  • Ha, That Aaron Renn idea is a good one. The only thing I would do differently is separate criminal and civil courts. The civil courts can stay downtown. I don't know if that is possible, but it would be nice.
  • Yawn.
  • Ahem.

    you really think this city has the money to move courts around? :lol:

    IIRC a few years back presiding Marion Superior Judge Cale Bradford had a study done to take over the former city hall (last use was temp central library) and move some courts over there. The cost was SOOoo prohibitive that the idea was bagged.

    This city is so far broke right now....

    Yes, moving Criminal Courts and the Jail sounds ideal, but the whole infrastructure including the MCPO and Probation Departments that would have to move along with it would gut alot of that area you speak of. Law office would move, the businesses they support would move, etc etc.

    I think Berwickguy has a solution, just have a public gallows installed in the city market and sell tickets. raise some revenue, cut down on jail costs. We could hang all the people who are bad. Hardened criminals. I'll let Ken Falk know of your plans.

    your ignorance amazes me....
  • You know, Da Hooey, you post many things about what is wrong yourself, with many issues. From a realistic standpoint, I understand the cost issue and the difficult situation the city is in. Nevertheless, in order to make progress, thoughts need to be about the way things ought to be. You don't seem to get that.

    People are sick of repeat offenders commiting repeat crimes. How we should be handling them is the way things ought to be. So you decide to go to the sublime and imply a public hanging. One of the previous posters said the ICLU sued because of conditions in this building brought about by the inmates tearing up the place. The way things ought to be - they should be forced to live in their own swill. And the ICLU should be right there with them. You'd get a lot of public support for that.

    Sorry if I offended you progressives and liberals.
  • From the ACLU website (of which the ICLU is affiliated):

    The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

    These rights include:

    * Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
    * Your right to equal protection under the law - protection against unlawful discrimination.
    * Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
    * Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

    The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.

    If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled.

    Wow, they sound so evil! Why has this defense of personal liberty been allowed to continue?

    The irony is, Berwick, that they would even defend you if someone was denying you the right to spew your whiny, wingnut hate.
  • Dutch,

    Whiny, wingnut hate?? Why, because I would like to see hardened criminals treated in a more disciplinarian way instead of being mollycoddled? Where do you get that?

    I have never suggested that the rights of people of color, women, gays, prisoners, disabled, or others as you suggest be impugned? Repeat offenders - that's another case - how many rights should they have?

    Perhaps you're reading between the lines.

    What you cite as the ACLU's agenda and pupose has gone way past the values of the citizens of the United States - however, that is just my opinion. I didn't call you names because you have opinions. And, in fact you called me out on that once. So, shouldn't you follow your own lexicon here, Dutch?
  • Berwick-
    No, the whiny wingnut hate was referring to this quote: they should be forced to live in their own swill. And the ICLU should be right there with them. So, you're equalting a civil right defense organization with rapists. That is textbook wingnuttia!

    Also, I wrote that you spew whiny, wingnut hate. That is describing your actions, not calling you a name.

    And lastly, who are you to decide what the values of the citizens of the United States is? The people the ACLU are defending are indeed citizens are they not? Maybe you need to rephrase that to my values. And that's where I have a problem with you and the Bosmas of the World. You're so close minded that you don't see value in the diversity of values.

    It's a big, complicated world out there Berwick, and the shades of gray are changing all the time. There is no place for your black and white thinking in a progressive, global society. Sorry.
  • yo! eastside represent! YO!

    Nice smackdown dutchie! :lol:
  • Dutch,

    I would hope you would realize the comparison that the ICLU lawyers should be right there with them is purely emperical. Even I know that is not just. The comparison is intended to point out the lack of common sense in our society today, i. e. Do prisoners that damage their own surroundings deserve to be defended so they get better surroundings because it is not up to standards? It seems to me that common sense should decry that if you screw it up, live in it. And, does common sense dictate they should be defended at costs to the city and the taxpayers of Indianapolis? Perhaps I should have said let them eat cake to celebrate their undeserved victory.

    And, Dutch, I didn't decide the point of what citizens look to. Once again, that is just my opinion. And, remember, my friend, that even when you don't agree with me and vice versa, there are no thought police (at least for now) that can prevent us from having our opinions. Further, that is why we engage in open dialogue, so we can understand the opinions and thoughts of others in order to reach compromise or agree to disagree.

    It is also not up to you to tell me how to think and that there is no place for it. You can express your opinion that I am incorrect, but, please, enough of the condescending tone, ok?

    I do appreciate your stand for liberty. That's the way it should be.
  • Yeah, liberty and justice...for all, right? (Don't forget that last part.)
  • Dutch:

    You couldn't have said it better. Everyone deserves freedom, liberty, and justice. We may not always agree on the way its doled out, but, hey, just another reason for a beer summit.
  • Hello 911, I would like to report a forum hijacking.
  • I think this would make for excellent loft space with ground-level office space. I know it isn't thinking too much out of the box, but the rental market is HOT
  • I would love to live in a loft in that building.


    The problem isn't so much living next to a jail, it's that the jail looks so shabby and screams Hey! I'm a JAIL! Scary people are held within these walls!

    Other cities have jails downtown and you'd never know it.

    There's a huge jail in downtown Chicago housed in a fairly-attractive 27 story building. (Some might find it unattractive, but that's beside the point, it doesn't scream scary jail.)

    The first 9 floors are for administrative personnel, the 10th floor contains the mechanical rooms, the upper floors are prison cells.

    If it's cost-prohibitive to move the system out of downtown, Indy could always construct a mixed-use building, elevate the penal facilities high above the street, and disguise the correctional nature of the upper floors. (Our City-County Building is full of holding cells on multiple floors and you'd never know it by looking at the exterior of the building.)
  • Ablerock- Awesome post! The sad/ironic thing is that prison would be the coolest building in downtown Indy.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............