Apartments planned for low-income residents on 38th Street would raze blighted structures

A rendering of Broadway Park Apartments. (Image courtesy of Circle City Property Management & Development)

A local firm plans to develop a 40-unit apartment project that would replace vacant buildings on one of the north side’s busiest thoroughfares, with a focus on offering affordable units to help low-income residents find a path to homeownership.

Circle City Property Management & Development has filed preliminary plans with the city of Indianapolis for the roughly $10 million endeavor, which would sit on the south side of 38th Street between Broadway Street and Park Avenue in the city’s Watson-McCord neighborhood.

The project, known as Broadway Park Apartments, would be comprised of two buildings and include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units—ranging from 700 to 900 square feet—for individuals making 30% to 60% of the area’s median income. 

It would also have a 33-space parking lot and a single first-floor commercial space for a community-focused tenant to offer resources like workforce readiness programs or a health clinic.

Combined, the two buildings will be about 33,000 square feet. The easternmost building will wrap into an L-shape and run along both 38th Street and Broadway Street, while the westernmost will front 38th Street, next to Park Avenue.

Circle City was formed in 2019 by business partners Joseph White, Michael Russell and Eric Armstrong. Broadway Park is the firm’s first affordable-housing project, although it has done work on smaller scale housing projects in Indianapolis, including a four-unit townhome in Mapleton-Fall Creek and conversion of a vacant grocery store into apartments in Butler-Tarkington.

A primary focus for the minority-owned company is helping those living in affordable housing find upward mobility.

“We’re constantly thinking about how we can help people move into home ownership,” White told IBJ. “With this project we can … not just help people get into an affordable housing situation, but potentially plug them into some form of workforce development and training, with hopes of seeing them stabilize financially and move into a place of home ownership.”

The firm has requested low-income housing tax credits from the state for the full cost of the project, and expects to hear about its request in February.

White said Circle City has worked closely with neighbors on designs for the project and first considered repurposing the vacant and dilapidated apartment buildings currently on the site.

But the wear on those structures is too intense to make a renovation project feasible, he said. The three buildings will be torn down to make way for the new development.

“It’s been a rather blighted and dilapidating property along one of Indianapolis busiest corridors for a long time—as long as I can remember,” he said. “From a community service-oriented standpoint, we feel like there are lot of really good and healthy ingredients in place to make a development that’s grounded in the values and the priorities that we have set as a company to thrive.”

Neighborhood groups are largely supportive of initial plans for the site, he said.

And the close proximity to the IndyGo Red Line stop at 38th and Park will help residents more easily access downtown, educational resources and employment opportunities, as well as food.

“The bus stop being there was an incredibly important point in our analysis and evaluation of the site,” White said. “It really speaks to the continuum of support and resources that we hope to apply and make available to the residents who choose to occupy Broadway Park.”

The property is currently owned by the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership through its Equitable Transit-Oriented Development program. Circle City has the site under contract, pending city approvals.

The requests expected to be heard Thursday by the Metropolitan Development Commission Hearing Examiner include rezoning the 0.7-acre property from the D-8 dwelling district to an MU-2, mixed use, designation. The developer is also seeking a variance of development standards for smaller setbacks and the vacation of an alley to allow for a parking lot. City staff recommends approval for all three requests.

A firm timeline for the development has not yet been finalized.

Indianapolis-based Halstead Architects is the architectural design firm on the project.

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19 thoughts on “Apartments planned for low-income residents on 38th Street would raze blighted structures

  1. Too bad we are getting more more cement board mid-rise buildings or that some of the existing brick buildings could not have been saved.

    However, it is nice to get a little focus on a slightly more people friendly 38th street front, despite the fact the city has treated this road like a highway. I hope the Park and Broadway sides of the building have more glass and even entrances, because those undersized ground level windows are pretty ugly and not street friendly at all.

  2. Good to see “something” being done there. While the cost/margin would certainly be higher, I do agree that it is a shame that a more substantial “look” could not be done to better match the north side of this main artery. For those wondering what is there now:

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/E+38th+St+%26+Broadway+St,+Indianapolis,+IN+46205/@39.8249656,-86.146322,3a,75y,224.55h,96.55t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfavMbcUiksps0U87JTiJcA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!4m5!3m4!1s0x886b5165618a04c5:0x20c665b2d2212cac!8m2!3d39.8251256!4d-86.1462274

    1. What a shame these existing buildings can’t be saved and renovated. Even in their derelict shape they are way more attractive than that rendering. Big loss.

  3. “ThE rEdLiNe WoNt EnCoUrAgE dEvElOpMeNt”

    This is at least the 4th transit-oriented-development since Red Line construction started. And I’d expect it to extend up College Ave. once the pandemic is over and IndyGo finishes sorting out their failures.

    1. This is something that would’ve happened without the redline.

      I wouldn’t be so happy with what is essentially an insta-ghetto. IndyGo is incapable of sorting out it’s failures

    2. Murray R — this property was purchased by INHP in 2019 using their Equitable Transit Oriented Development Fund. That fund is for purchasing land and providing affordable housing on the Red Line and future BRT lines. This isn’t a random development that would have happened anyway, it’s literally BECAUSE of the proximity to the Red Line that this property is being developed.

  4. Aside from the comments made by people that have given up on this area (“It will be vandalized the second it starts to go up anyway” and “wouldn’t be so happy with what is essentially an insta-ghetto”; we can give up pon those haters anyway), it seems that most complaints are about the exterior design and appearance. Is it really impossible to have lower-cost multi-family construction that has better, more traditional visual appeal? Can’t we get some more talented architectural firms to invest in projects like this, offering their services at lower rates than they normally would for high-end projects?

    1. Recognizing realist is hardly hating.

      As for your other questions: is it impossible? No, but what is the incentive? Similarly, why would more talented architectural firms do this? There are many too flight firms that don’t even offer economy projecting, let alone willing to offer their premium services at an economy rate. The blame rests not at them, but the developers generally. Most of the time, projects like this are tax incentive driven projects, and the incentive to pump more money and time into them is less as a result. You’d realize that if you had a infantile grasp of what you’re talking about.

      Aside from snarky comments and maybe driving through on your way to somewhere else, what do you tangibly do to prove you haven’t given up on the area? Hell, anywhere on 38th between 465 will do.

    2. It’s not impossible. But if the REALITY were something other than that this place will be a dumpster fire in two years, you might get more motivation.

  5. This is a great plan. Locating affordable housing in a central location adjacent to transit reinforces TOD, revitalization, and better land use. A significant portion of the population is hard-working and low-earning and do responsibly live within their means. However, negative generalizations are unfortunate but everyone is entitled to freedom of expression. It is highly unlikely that such a development would be welcomed in Geist; even if it were, transportation would not be convenient. Regarding design, hopefully an effort will be made to tweak the design to better reflect the historic character of the neighborhood. Indianapolis is not unlike most medium sized cities in that cookie cutter architecture prevails for a significant portion of new construction; and this is not just for more modestly priced structures. Proceed northward beyond 106th Street and one will notice significantly higher priced cookie cutter designs that are repeated in suburban areas across the nation.

  6. I’m so Proud that someone has taken an interest in this area, I grew up in this neighborhood. My question is where do we go to apply for an apartment there, .Thanks

  7. The negativity in the majority of these comments are soul sucking! Can anyone bring themselves to see the glass half full? I for one am excited to see redevelopment in this area. Many years ago a non profit came to me to try to renovate those buildings. I have always appreciated the design elements in the buildings, but even then the cost to renovate was crushing.
    Happy holidays people!

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