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Fort Ben home, condos fail to sell at auction

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The former home of the commanding general at Fort Benjamin Harrison and four condominiums at the old Army base failed to sell at an auction.

Reserve bids were not met on any of the homes during the June 17 auction, but the seller continues to work with potential buyers for the general's house and two of the condos, said Mike Couch, an agent with Sycamore Group Realty who has the condos listed.

The condos are among 48 units in three historic buildings redeveloped by VLB & Associates, a development firm owned by Virginia L. Basham, who bought the properties in 1996, shortly after the federal government closed Fort Ben.

The condos are all two- and three-bedroom units and range in size from 2,050 to 2,800 square feet. They had been listed for between $290,000 and $350,000. All but four of the first 32 units that were developed sold before the real estate market collapsed last year.

The house and the condominium buildings are on Lawton Loop, the street in the old Army fort where enlisted men’s barracks were located. The barracks buildings, which were built between 1901 and 1906, have historic details that Basham went to great lengths to preserve as they were converted to condos.

The 8,100-square-foot commanding general’s home had been converted into three apartments before Basham bought it and restored it to its original floor plan in the late 1990s. The three-story, 1903 home was the St. Margaret’s Guild Decorator’s Show Home in 1999. Basham intended to move into it but never did.

It was listed at one time for more than $1 million but was most recently listed at $792,000.

IBJ first reported on the auction in a story on June 8.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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