Keystone Towers implosion set for late August

The long-vacant Keystone Towers apartment complex will be imploded Aug. 28 at 8 a.m., the Department of Metropolitan Development announced Monday afternoon.

Indianapolis-based Denney Excavating received the contract to demolish the 15-story building in June after submitting a bid of $827,000.

The building, northeast of the Indiana State Fairgrounds and near the intersection of Keystone Avenue and Binford Boulevard, was closed in 2008 after it was deemed unsuitable for human habitation by the Marion County Health Department.

Denney has hired subcontractor Advanced Explosive Demolitions Inc. of Idaho to carry out the implosion. AED said 474 people live within 1,000 feet of tower and may be asked to seek temporary shelter during the implosion for their safety.

A demolition team will go door-to-door to speak to nearby residents prior to event, the DMD said. Additional information about possible street closures and public viewing areas will be released at a later date.

After the demolition, the city will explore redeveloping the site. Any new projects must include mixed-income rental housing by the rules of the federal grant used to demolish the 15-story complex.

Keystone Towers has been mostly vacant for more than 10 years. The apartment complex, built by local developer George Ginger in 1974 as the VIP Center, originally included apartment and office components and was intended to be a crown jewel on the midtown Keystone Avenue corridor. However, leasing problems hampered the project from the beginning and the office space was eventually converted into apartments.

Denney Excavating, founded in 1990, has handled numerous local demolitions, including the Penn Building and the Larue Carter Memorial Hospital buildings.

A contractor from Buffalo, N.Y., complained that it submitted a much lower bid for the project, but did not receive the bid because of incomplete paperwork.

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