Milhaus buying site for more downtown apartments

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A local developer has under contract a three-acre site near College and Massachusetts avenues where it plans to build about 200 apartments.

David Leazenby, a principal in Milhaus Development, confirmed that his firm has agreed to buy the former Mitchell & Scott industrial complex in the 600 block of College and is in the process of pulling together a plan for the site.

Milhaus is working toward closing on the purchase and beginning construction by the middle of next year.

Leazenby said the developer envisions a project similar to but bigger than The Mozzo, a four-story, 64-unit apartment building with 2,300 square feet of retail that Milhaus is building on about one acre at 531 Virginia Ave.

The Mitchell & Scott site includes a series of buildings, only one of which—a two-story brick building facing College—appears to be historic. The property falls within the Chatham Arch Massachusetts Avenue historic district, meaning that plans for the project will have to be approved by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

Leazenby said Milhaus hasn’t worked out details of the project, including the fate of the brick building, and doesn’t have a plan to file with IHPC.

He said he doesn’t anticipate the development having a retail component. “Retail is challenged downtown, partly because there isn’t enough housing,” Leazenby said.

Milhaus is one of several apartment developers in the process of adding significantly to the supply of rental housing downtown.

Besides The Mozzo, Milhaus has under construction the $31 million 451 Market project on the site of the former Bank One operations center at East and Washington streets. The first phase calls for 256 apartments and 13,000 square feet of commercial space.

Other big downtown projects in the works include:

— CityWay, the mammoth Buckingham Cos. apartment, retail, office and hotel project at Delaware and South streets. CityWay, where tenants have started moving in, will include 250 apartments.

— Block 400, an $85 million, mixed-use project Flaherty & Collins Properties plans to develop at Capitol Avenue and Michigan Street. The development, which incorporates a Marsh grocery store, is to include almost 500 apartments.

— Several developments planned by The Whitsett Group, including a 72-unit rehab of the American Building, 333 N. Pennsylvania St., an office building Whitsett is converting to apartments in partnership with Ambrose Property Group. Whitsett and Ambrose announced late this summer plans to buy the 15-story Consolidated Building at 115 N. Pennsylvania St. and convert it into 98 apartments.

Whitsett also is trying to assemble a 105-unit project a few blocks from the College Avenue site now targeted by Milhaus. Whitsett’s project at the northwest corner of College and Michigan could start next spring.

Company principal Joe Whitsett said the Milhaus plans shouldn’t change the equation for his firm’s project in the same neighborhood. “I can’t say the demand is endless, but it’s a growing area,” Whitsett said.


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