IBJNews

Irvington apartment, streetscape projects clear hurdles

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Two significant construction projects are closer to starting in Irvington, where the district’s East Washington Street commercial corridor is bouncing back even as one of its key buildings faces demolition.

Several restaurants, a microbrewery and an Ossip Optometry office have opened or are about to open in the area, and a new residential project is on the horizon. The not-for-profit Irvington Development Organization learned early this month that it has been approved to sell state-issued housing tax credits that will finance development of an $8.9 million apartment building at 5855 E. Washington St.

The 50-unit building is to be built on the site of the former Indy East Motel, a crime-plagued property that the city shut down in 2009. IDO is developing the apartments with Irvington Partners LLC, a group of investors with ties to Meyer-Najem Construction Co.

IDO will own the project long term and reinvest its income from the project in other Irvington redevelopment projects, said Margaret Banning, interim director of IDO. Construction is slated to commence in September of October.

The next steps are to win approval of the project design from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, which governs physical improvements in the Irvington Historic Area, and to sell the tax credits.

Tom Peck, a Meyer-Najem principal who is a partner in the project, said the credits will finance about 80 percent of the project. The Irvington project was one of only 14 successful applicants for credits in a year when 60 projects applied.    

The apartment project is one of two initiatives IDO has been working on for several years. The other is the Washington Corridor Streetscape Project, the first phase of which could start as early as May.

The $1.6 million phase will include a landscaped median, enhanced walkways, decorative lighting and benches in the core of the Irvington business district, from Ritter Avenue to Audubon Road. The phase extends a few blocks east and west of those boundaries but the improvements won’t be as pronounced outside the core area.

Some of the improvements had to be scaled back after construction bids taken last year came in way over budget. The new round of bids just received were within budget and should allow the project to proceed as soon as city and state agencies sign off on the bids, Banning said.

The project, eight years in the planning, is to be funded with a $1 million federal transportation enhancement grant, $380,000 from the city and $253,000 raised by IDO. The IDO portion includes contributions from PNC Bank, The Indianapolis Foundation and Citizens Energy.
 
“We can now focus on making Irvington a standout destination in the Indianapolis area—one that is pedestrian friendly and celebrates our wonderful variety of locally owned shops and restaurants,” Banning said.

Not all of the news in Irvington is positive. Banning and other neighborhood leaders are scrambling to find a way to save from demolition a 109-year-old commercial building at the northeast corner of Washington and Ritter.

The two-story, brick building at 5502 E. Washington St. anchors what was once Irvington’s busiest commercial intersection and is one of two such buildings that remain.

The building has been controlled for several decades by entities affiliated with local real estate developer Don Tharp. The owner filed a petition in February with the Historic Preservation Commission seeking permission to demolish the structure, which has been vacant since about 1997.

Eric A. Harvey, the attorney who filed the petition, said it’s not economically feasible to invest the $350,000 to $500,000 it would take to shore up the structure and renovate the exterior. But the effort to demolish it and replace it with a parking lot is on hold, at least temporarily.

Harvey said the hearing on the demolition request was pushed back from March to May 2 to give a would-be buyer, whom he would not identify, time to put together a deal. He said the building owner has named a sale price and is waiting for the potential buyer to counter.

Banning said her group is hoping to “find an angel or group of angels” willing to help save the building. It isn’t clear if her group has a connection to the potential buyer the owner is negotiating with.

Also not clear is how the city’s historic preservation commission would view the request for demolition. Demolition of historic structures is generally not permitted in the districts the commission oversees. But the commission sometimes grants demolition requests in the name of public safety.

The owner’s petition includes a letter from a local engineer stating that the building has deteriorated to the point that it is unstable.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT