Group reconsiders demo request

February 18, 2009
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                              Army propertyThe Salvation Army is rethinking a request to demolish an historic home it owns next to its headquarters at Michigan and Alabama streets. The not-for-profit group is expected to request a continuance of a Feb. 26 public hearing on the demolition. The structure, which was built before 1898 as a single-family home, has been controlled by the Salvation Army since 1947. It was used as apartments until about five years ago. While the exterior is in good condition, the interior needs work. Planning administrators and a Historic Landmarks representative toured the building but have not yet offered a recommendation, said senior planner Jeff York. "We'd certainly like to see it reused if possible," he said. The Salvation Army initially had planned to use the space for parking.

Indianapolis CrematoriumOn today's planning agenda: The MDC could decide whether to allow a crematorium to be built near the corner of Allisonville Road and 82nd Street. The commission was supposed to decide Feb. 4 whether the Harry W. Moore Funeral Care center could construct a one-story, 1,600-square-foot crematory on the site (shown at right). But David L. Ring, who owns the funeral home, asked that the decision be delayed until Feb. 18 to give neighbors a chance to review project changes. You can read more from IBJ's Chip Cutter here and here.

  • Yeah, tear down a house for parking.. that logic always needs reconsidering.
  • Grrrrrrrr...How many historic structures have to be plowed under to make room for parking????? I'm not saying that every 100+ year structure could or should be saved, but for parking?

    //end rant
  • why does everyone want to suburbanize downtown?
  • The house is gorgeous. I have admired it for years and always lamented it's condition, although helping the underpriviliged is noble. I think the Salvation Army can better serve the community by saving it.

    To paraphrase an old professor, if the owner thinks about the problem for more than six seconds, the mistake of the original thinking becomes clear. I'm thinking adaptive reuse.

    Given the location, and since the interior needs to be redone anyway, perhaps it can be reused as professional office space -- such as attorneys who practice family law, accountants, property management offices, etc. Tearing down this house for anything less than what it is would be a crime and the Salvation Army could use some good press lately.
  • I think the SA should definitely reconsider. If they demo that house, for a parking lot or whatever, then they run the risk of people reconsidering where to give their money. I would have issues giving money to SA if they have nothing better to do than to tear down a historic house.

    Wouldn't make more sense to sell it to a developer for professional space or whatever and use that money to help the needy? I hope they are smart enough to back off, but if not, I hope the City turns hem down.
  • Burning bodies in Castleton . . . Oh My??
  • That is a gorgeous home.
    1) There are not a lot of historic homes downtown.
    2) There are not a lot of BRICK historic homes downtown.
    3) Tearing down a beautiful home in a city that lacks good architecture for a PARKING LOT?!
    This should be preserved. This is a great old house and I hope they don't.

    This city has got to learn from what we did in the 20th century.
    Isn't this in the St. Joseph historic district?
  • How about a parking lot, a Hardees and another outlet store on the spot? Nothin' but world class.
  • Tearing down a beautiful old house for a PARKING LOT? I thought we were past this. Doesn't anybody learn from history? If they end up demoing that house, all their bell ringers can shove it from now on, as far as I'm concerned.
  • This house definitely needs work, but it has a beautiful exterior. They should gut it and renovate it and use it as the Indianapolis HQ or make it into apartments again or a Co-Op home.

    It would be a real shame for a parking lot to go on this site.
  • Imagine the power all these strong opinions would have if they were made in person at the meetings and hearings usually held to discuss projects like this rather than bounced off of screennames with similar opinions on this blog!


    I agree.... how dare SA even consider tearing down this building for a parking lot!
  • There's a reason they always schedule these meetings and hearings
    at 2 p.m. on a workday you know.
  • It's not in a historic district, otherwise, there'd probably not even be a discussion going on about whether it might be okay to tear it down. If not for the recently revised Regional Center Ordinance, there would be no public debate at all. Aside from attending daytime hearings, as Just Saying suggested, people could also write letters to the MDC, if they have strong opinions about saving this structure.
  • Perhaps if they called Riley Area Development Corp., someone might be willing to discuss alternatives with them.
  • Please explain to me why this building is historic? By my estimation if something is historic then something important must have taken place there or it must have had some important influence on some historic event. Old does not equal historic.

    That being said, I would agree that Indy needs more parking lots like it needs a hole in the head, and it would be a shame to demolish this building just for more surface parking. If they were going to demolish it and put another building there I would be fine with that.
  • DRT,

    Historic Landmarks lists historic as an important event, associated with an important person or a good example of a historic style. I would say this is definitley the last. To be considered historic, a structure only needs to be 50 years old.
  • DRT,

    This is a style that was quite common through out the city at one point.
    Might I remind everyone that at one point we had a lot more historic architecture.
    But we tore it all down.
    Nothing amazing happened in the Marion County Courthouse, and nothing amazing happened in the English Hotel.
    Same with the Old Jail and Roosevelt building.
    They were old, but not historic yet why do we feel so sore for their loss?
    Nothing amazing happened in this brick 1890's home.
    However, it reflects a dying style and an era in this city during the gay 1890's(yes it was called that).

    This isn't a barn or shotgun, it is a middle class masonry victorian that saw this city change while it pretty much stayed the same(even as the neighborhood around it was wiped out).
    BTW, last time I checked our stock of such fine 19th century homes isn't much compared to our stock of parking lots.
  • DRT, there's more to history than events. Check out the National Register criteria at:

    Criteria for Evaluation
    The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:

    A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

    B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

    C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

    D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

    The vast majority of significant old buildings that get listed in the National Register meet criteria C.
  • There are lots of folks here claiming this house meets the requirements for historic designation, but not giving any evidence. Again, just by virtue of being old, it does not necessarily fit the category. I am familiar with Historic Landmark designations and the National Register designations, but no one has made a compelling reason why this particular house is distinguished, either in construction, style, or historical significance. Until then, it's just an hold house. Maybe it is, but no one has presented any convincing argument here yet.

    I don't think it's worth tearing down for a parking lot (just what we need downtown is right), but then again, it's not my property. If I were a contributor to SA, maybe I'd care more about how they use their resources, but since they no likey the gays, I don't give them money.

    Bottom line: DRT is right. Just being old doesn't necessarily make it significant or historic.
  • It is historic because it is exemplary of a historic style. If it were being demolished to make way for new development, that wouldn't be justification for keeping it, but that isn't the case. This house should absolutely take precedence over a parking lot.
  • Have that Chris Piazza kid buy it, convert into mid-market apartments & give some nice cash to Salvation Army in return. It's a win-win-win situation for him, the city & the Salvation Army in such desperate need of cashflow. That's my two cents.
  • gobnaitx-
    This isn't the right forum to make an argument that the building is National Register eligible; I provided the National Register criteria to point out that something can be considered historic without having an important event take place there. A professional architectural historian, would have to visit the building to assess its integrity; however, looking at the photo presented here, it does appear to be an excellent example of the Queen Anne style. As someone already pointed out, brick houses of this style are rare in Indianapolis. Even if the house doesn't stack up to National Register criteria (and we don't know it does not), it is valuable to the heritage of our city and most certainly worthy of preserving. The last thing downtown needs is another parking lot. You would think folks could learn from history that that kind of urban renewal leads to negative outcomes.

    I applaud the Salvation Army for reconsidering its request.
  • Shame on you Salvation Army!!!
  • There are homeless in Indianapolis, right? Or, people who need affordable housing, right? And the Salvation Army is a Christian-based agency serving low income needs, right? Then I don't see why this can't be renovated and serve those who need shelter. We don't need more office space or parking downtown. We need to help people find a place to live (or temorarily stay) during a down economy. Sounds good to me!
  • I don't think turning it into a homeless shelter is what anyone here wants either.
    It being Christian based has nothing to do with the issue here.

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