New hope for crumbling Washington Street building

March 20, 2013
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42 E Washington StThe new owners of a pre-Civil War building that is one of downtown's oldest surviving structures have removed metal paneling as they seek to determine whether the four-story building could withstand a façade improvement project. The building at 42 E. Washington St. has been mostly vacant for years, save for an occasional first-floor retail tenant (most recently a jewelry store). Owners Jim and Linda Hunter received city approval last week to remove the panels as they assess structural integrity, said Jeff York, a senior city planner. The owners are working with the planning department and the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on a larger project to revitalize the structure. A prior owner of the building tried to brick over the windows in 2011 before the city issued a stop-work order. The Antonopoulos family ultimately completed a stabilization project before selling the property to the current owners, who live in Johnson County. Watch this space for an update on the Hunters' plans.

IBJ photo/Cory Schouten

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  • Excellent
    This is good news. This section of Washington St. has so much potential. Maybe it will start other building facade renovations.
  • My favorite part of downtown
    This strip has always been my favorite part of downtown. A urine soaked sidewalk where vagrants live, a pawn shop, and an MMA gym. What more could you want in the heart of downtown?
  • Architectural Relevance or Dump?
    The degree in which 'preservationists' pursue historical relevency re crumbling buildings is astonishing. This building is little, it's commercial, it's irrelevant, it's dangerous, it's in the way of actual downtown progress and yes, it's ugly.
  • Potential
    This structure is very old, a remnant of when most of downtown was made up of structures like this. I can only imagine how beautiful this facade will look with the paint removed an period appropriate windows restored. Perhaps they will even restore the long lost cornice? This section of Washington street has long been neglected so I am thrilled that this area is being fixed up. The building directly east of this fine structure was a sort of georgian revival and I would love to see it reconstructed (it would be very simple to rebuild). Chonnie- What makes you feel this is an ugly structure? In its current state it is not exactly beautiful, but one has to look beyond it and see the potential it has! What makes it irrelevant? What makes it ugly to you? Try to imagine it not in its current state, but in a restored one.
  • In response to several comments
    Yes, the vagrants need to go. The building is "dangerous?" Let's see it has stood for over 150 years, so I'm waiting to see the danger. Maybe leave that determination to an engineer who is qualified to make that call. You know there are numerous modern structures that have suffered structural collapse or failure, right? "New" is not synonymous with "better." Try having the smaaaaaaallest amount of tolerance for a building that isn't meant to stand in the heart of Carmel, hmm? No, the building doesn't look good now. That's why they're talking about renovation. Hey, do you guys have any concept of the costs of demolition? Permits? Design? Just curious, since its not your money and you have so many ideas about what do do with the building that isn't yours.
  • Logic
    Any new improvement to this block of downtown is welcome. I hope the new owners are successful in both preserving and improving this historic building. @Robb, please help us understand the logic of the relevance of your statement about Carmel. Why have you introduced your personal baggage about what happens North of 96th Street into this discussion about a downtown Indy building? What is it that you hate so much about Carmel? Do you hate the Arts District, the clean safe streets, the great restaurants,the outstanding schools, the terrific Farmers market, the nice neighborhoods and the low crime rate? All of those positive attributes can really get under your skin.
    • Carmel vendetta
      Ten foot jumper, I don't hate Carmel; it's one of the smartest managed suburbs in the entire country. But all those WONDERFUL things about it that you laud only exist due to upper-middle class flight from the original city upon which it owes its exist. And it's particularly slimy hearing someone smugly extol Carmel's virtues just days after Carmel's mayor aggressively lured an Indianapolis corporation (Baldwin and Lyons) to the suburbs from downtown Indy through tax incentives. Indy has to contend with aging housing/infrastructure, crime, economic/ethnic diversity that those sanctimonius Carmelites will fight aggressively to keep out. And, in spite of all of Carmel's lovely characteristics, I would never live there in a million years--nor would many central city loyalists who contribute for this blog.

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    2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

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