Oesterle plans east-side revitalization

A company closely tied to Angie’s List anticipates doubling its property holdings just east of downtown in the next five years, according to Bill Oesterle, CEO of the growing service that rates plumbers and other services.

By then, Henry Amalgamated LLC will have succeeded in revitalizing the once-blighted Whiskey Hill neighborhood into a mix of retail, residential and commercial development, Oesterle said. Henry Amalgamated owns 22 properties now.

“We’re going to be opportunistic,” Oesterle said. “We want continuous improvements to the area.”

Angie’s List announced the expansion this morning. The company, which employs 400, plans to double its headcount within five years.

The announcement underscores the distance Angie’s List has traveled since its founding in 1995 by Oesterle and Angie Hicks.

Since moving its headquarters from Carmel to 1030 E. Washington St. in 2001, the company has accumulated a string of dilapidated houses, empty lots and other properties. Some of those sites house a daycare center and a diner slated to start serving breakfast next year.

The area where Angie’s List has turned its focus is bordered on the north by Ohio Street, on the south by East Washington Street, on the west by Interstates 65 and 70 and on the east by Highland Avenue. The area is part of the Historic Holy Cross Neighborhood and includes Whiskey Hill, the third highest point in the city.

Henry Amalgamated is owned by Oesterle and Karl Northern. A recent hire, property manager Lisa Galloway, also will receive an ownership stake, Oesterle said.

Oesterle said he isn’t worried about neighborhood revitalization diverting his attention from the needs of Angie’s List as it moves ahead with its growth plans.

Noting that he chaired Gov. Mitch Daniels’ first campaign for governor in 2004 while running Angie’s List, Oesterle added, “I have a laser-like focus on the core of Angie’s List.”

He also said he hasn’t forgotten the adage emphasized by the late, legendary Cummins Inc. chief J. Irwin Miller, “You have to do well before doing good,” meaning profits must come before community service.

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