Bike Line, Broad Ripple firm plan Mass Ave purchases: Two sales would be latest in owner-occupant trend

Two buildings on Massachusetts Avenue downtown are slated to change hands in coming weeks as two Broad Ripple businesses stake their claims on the resurging corridor.

The first deal scheduled to close is the sale of 409 Massachusetts Ave., owned for the last 15 years by advertising firm Young & Laramore. Elizabeth Dillon, owner of RN Specialties, plans to move her growing 10-year-old company and its 21 employees into the 17,000-square-foot building after minor renovations to the ad agency’s former space.

That deal could close as early as Jan. 20, with RN Specialties moving in as soon as late February, Dillon said. Y&L planned to move to its new home, a former school on Fulton Street in Lockerbie Square, Jan. 13.

RN Specialties will occupy about 10,000 square feet on the second and third floors of the building, with a reception area on the first floor. Dillon said she hopes to find a retail tenant to take over the remaining first-floor space.

Dillon will retain ownership of RN Specialties’ current building at 6060 N. College Ave., which will be leased to Noble of Indiana for its adult day programs.

The contract price for the Y&L building was not disclosed. Y&L listed the building in March for $1.6 million, and local real estate sources said initial offers met or exceeded the asking price.

In a second deal, the Revard brothers, owners of Bike Line shops in Broad Ripple and Carmel, have a three-story building at 911 Massachusetts Ave. under contract with plans to open a bicycle shop in time for the spring riding season.

The sale is scheduled to close in late February, but Bike Line has signed a lease with the current owner, Jim Blankenbaker, for the 3,000-square-foot first floor and is currently renovating the space, said Bike Line co-owner Jimmy Revard. Regardless of whether the sale closes in February, the retail shop will open in early March, he said.

The shop will give Bike Line its third location on or near the Monon Trail. The terminus of the trail, extended downtown in 2003, is around the corner from the building on Mass Ave. The building, next to interstates 65/70, gained notoriety several years ago for a wall mural of local radio personalities Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold that was eventually ordered removed because local authorities said it violated the city’s sign ordinance.

Assuming the purchase closes, Revard said, he and his brothers will continue to rent out the top two floors of the building as one-bedroom apartments, at least for the near future. In addition to the retail store, Bike Line also plans to take over the basement of the building for storage. The owners are evaluating several longterm plans for that space, Revard said, including using the basement for bicycle storage and locker rooms for those commuting to downtown via bike.

Both deals are indicative of a trend of small businesses’ purchasing, rather than renting, their own space downtown, said Philo Lange and Matt Langfeldt, with NAI Olympia Partners.

Such arrangements allow businesses to take advantage of low interest rates and to recoup some of the costs of owning a building through renting space to other tenants, they said.

Lange and Langfeldt in the past couple of years have worked on several such deals, including the sale of the Wulsin building at 222 E. Ohio St. Langfeldt and NAI Olympia principal Gus Miller also brokered the deal for Y&L to purchase its new home on Fulton Street from locally based International Medical Group, which bought and moved to the former Indianapolis Life campus at 30th and Meridian streets.

NAI Olympia is currently working on a deal for the sale of the Marott Center at 342 Massachusetts Ave. to a buyer Lange and Langfeldt declined to identify.

That building will soon have a firstfloor vacancy when the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis moves to the Academy Building on Vermont Street in Lockerbie Square, which it purchased last year. The not-for-profit will occupy about 5,000 square feet of the 35,000-squarefoot building and continue to rent the rest to various tenants, said Chuck Cagann, president of Mansur Real Estate Services, which brokered the deal.

Nurse staffing firm RN Specialties plans a move to Young & Laramore’s building at 409 Massachusetts Ave. The fate of the fish in the window has yet to be determined.

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