Group hopes to save former home of Crawford's Bakery

April 23, 2010
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Crawfords BakeryEfforts to save the former home of Crawford's Bakery at 16th Street and Capitol Avenue appear to be gaining momentum. Demolition had been scheduled for May 1 but the building's owner has agreed to hold off until at least May 15 while Indiana Landmarks, the statewide historic preservation group, tries to line up a way to save the 1926 building. They've already received several inquiries. "The goal is to quickly convene with interested parties to suggest a proposal other than demolition," said Marsh Davis, the group's president. "I've got no plan other than the fact if we have time we might be able to come up with a plan more in the interest of the owner and certainly the community. When it's gone there's nothing there." The building at 1609 N. Capitol Ave., which Davis called a "sentimental favorite", was designed by the local architectural firm Pierre & Wright. It served as home to Pandell's Flower Shop between the 1930s and 1980s, and to Crawford's Bakery for 20 years before the shop closed in 2008. Property records show the building is owned by Phillip Thomas, a Florida investor. Marsh said Indiana Landmarks has agreed to pick up the cost of any expenses related to delaying the demolition if they can't find a better alternative. There are more building stats and several photos on a Facebook page created by fans of the building. Ideas?

  • What's their purpose?
    What is Phillip Thomas's purpose in demolishing the building? Is it simply to avoid property taxes on the building or does he have some other plan for the land?
  • Curious too
    CorrND, I'm curious about the purpose of the demo as well . . . Regardless, I'm just glad that they've agreed to hold off until more research can be done. BRAVO to Indiana Landmarks for stepping in and a BIG high-5 for Cory /IBJ for creating awareness.
  • Response
    CorrND: Good question. Davis says he isn't aware of any other plans for the land, so your theory may be correct.
  • Hard to believe
    I can't believe some restaurant or coffee shop wouldn't be interested in this ideal location. Incidentally, I wrote a sample National Register nomination for this building 20 years ago!
  • Lease
    No small restaurant or coffee shop could go into this location because the rent is too high. This is the reason Crawford's had to close in the first place. Lease was up and owner wanted to raise the lease.
  • Rent Too High
    Anon -- Demolishing a building because no one wants to pay exorbitant rent doesn't make any sense. If the rent is too high for ANYONE to pay, then the owner needs to reduce the rent. That's how markets work.
  • I am wondering if the owner knows the property would be more attractive to a potential owner if their is not the albatross of a historic building on it. I am sure Methodist would be wary of having to tear down a historic facade after what Ivy Tech went thorugh. The current owner tears it down, plays the bad guy and the local hospital just buys a piece of empty land.

    There is a reason the current owner raised the rent considerably in the middle of a recession. No better way to clear out a tennant.
  • Why not?
    Corr ND and Indyman are right--the owner wants out. How about Historic Landmarks brokers a deal with Clarian which then converts the space to -- wait for it -- a bakery/lunch spot with reasonable rents.
  • fond memories
    My father, Mark Joseph, leased this building from Irene Pandell from 1962-1982 to be a textile merchant trading imported Oriental rugs from around the world. He had Eli Lilly Jr, Tab Hunter and other prominent clients he serviced out of this location and was proud of his work there. I did interior modifications to the structure in the 70's myself while working for my father.
  • CorrND
    I wasn't saying the building should be demolished because no one can afford the rent. I was merely saying that its sad that the owner will not come down on the rent bc it has been vacant for so long and is such a great building and location for a coffee/lunch business. But its also understandable that he might want out like Indyman has said.

    Methodist has made offers to some other property owners in the area to buy more property around the hospital. This owner might want to sell to Methodist but they won't buy a historic building.

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