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Irvington groups save landmark from demolition

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Two not-for-profits serving the Irvington neighborhood have purchased a derelict, century-old building with intentions of restoring it and selling it as a commercial property.

The Irvington Development Organization and Irvington Historical Society on Friday closed on the purchase of a two-story, 2,400-square-foot property at the corner of Washington Street and Ritter Avenue.

Built as a post office in 1903, the building at 5502 E. Washington St. anchored Irvington's former commercial hub. It has been vacant since about 1997.

The previous owner’s estimates of up to $500,000 in repairs did not justify keeping the building intact, so an attorney in February filed a petition for demolition with the Historic Preservation Commission.

Margaret Banning, director of the Irvington Development Organization, said the IDO convinced the commission to hold off on a decision long enough for the sale to go through.

“This is a key building for our neighborhood. You can’t have that intersection be a blank parking lot,” Banning said.

The IDO and the Irvington Historical Society formed the Irvington Post Office LLC and obtained a $110,000 loan from Citizens Energy Group’s community development program. That gave the partnership enough money to buy the building with a little money left over to acquire adjoining property for a parking lot.

Banning said the Irvington not-for-profits forecast about $400,000 more in roof repairs and exterior restoration.

The partnership is trying to secure another $100,000 from the Local Initiatives Support Corp., which is expected to make a decision by late January or early February, Banning said.

The organizations are also seeking several grants for smaller amounts from agencies such as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

Banning said the groups are hoping to secure all grants by June, letting them quickly finish the work and sell the building. It would be ideal for a professional services firm, she said.
 

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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