$40M apartment project planned for Herron-Morton Place

Indianapolis-based commercial real estate firm Birge & Held plans to spend at least $40 million to redevelop part of a Herron-Morton Place neighborhood block with new apartments and retail space.

The project includes 234 multifamily units in the 2100 block of Central Avenue, along with nearly 12,000 square feet of new or redeveloped commercial space. Part of the plan calls for the renovation of a church building at the northwest corner of 21st Street and Central.

The apartments will range from 430-square-foot studios to 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom units, according to early design plans. The yet-unnamed development is expected to include an affordable housing component.

“There’s a lot going on in that corridor,” said Jarod Brown, managing director and head of acquisitions and development for Birge & Held. “We love the Herron-Morton neighborhood and this is really the gateway to the area. It’s seen significant growth in the last 10 to 15 years, and we think it’s a great place to expand the community and provide another offering.”

The project is at the northeast corner of the Herron-Morton Place neighborhood. Brown said the firm has been working closely with the Herron-Morton Place Association on the plans for more than a year. He said the neighborhood is largely supportive of the project.

Brown said the project will be broken into two phases, with the first expected to start sometime next spring and the second to start by the end of that year. He said the overall cost is expected to exceed $40 million, but added that a precise figure has not been determined.

The first phase, occupying most of the western portion of the block, is expected to include 150 apartment units as well as parking and nearly 6,700 square feet of retail or restaurant space. The number of parking spaces for the first phase was still being determined.

The apartments will be split across three buildings—one with 108 units, another with 30, and a third with 12. The buildings will range from three to five stories.

As part of that phase, the Freedom Worship Center, 2102 Central Ave., will be converted into about 3,640 square feet of commercial space, possibly retail or a restaurant.

The second phase calls for a five-story, 84-unit apartment building with parking and about 5,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. It also includes a 38-space surface parking lot.

An empty strip shopping center sits in the middle of the west side of the block where the first phase will go. A small liquor store sits along East 22nd Street, where the second phase is planned, and a Dollar General store sits just south of that phase’s boundaries.

Birge & Held has the land it needs for the proposed project under contract, Brown said.

The company is scheduled to discuss the project during an early October meeting of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission as part of a preliminary hearing—meaning a vote is not expected.

Brown said the hearing will “help us further refine the scope of the project and some of the amenities” associated with the development.

The proposed apartment buildings feature designs that include dark materials, outdoor seating areas and green space.

The firm plans to ask the city of Indianapolis for incentives for the project, in exchange for an affordability component to the development. Incentives can take many forms, but most often come through developer-backed tax-increment-financing bonds that rely on the improved property tax revenue to repay some development costs.

The city generally requires at least a 10% allotment of affordable units—those available to tenants making 80% of the area’s median income—but the allotment can sometimes be as high as 25%.

Birge & Held owns or manages a dozen Indianapolis-area properties, including the Maxwell, Edgewater Apartments and Regency Park. In all, the company oversees about 40 properties across nine states, according to its website. The firm was founded in 2008.

Indianapolis-based firm Blackline is the designer of the project.

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8 thoughts on “$40M apartment project planned for Herron-Morton Place

  1. Out of hand? Hardly. Did you not read that there is an affordable component, Scott? If Indianapolis is going to require developers to include an affordable component to projects it makes it much more difficult for it to work financially. Therefore, incentives are sometimes necessary to get a project out of the ground so that it can serve those of lesser means. Otherwise, you would still have blocks and blocks of underdeveloped properties around town like this particular block that have shuttered dollar stores and shady liquor stores that draw in crime in what is otherwise a very nice area that has really turned around in the last ten years.

  2. Nice to see A) a church property possibly returning to the property-tax rolls, and B) that liquor store maybe going away. Now if the main proposed building could have some architectural merit even somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, the Prince Hall Masonic Temple brick building on the NE corner of 22nd and Central, instead of more-of-the-same 4-over-1 cheap-looking blandness, that’d be something.

  3. They didn’t state the exact number of units that would be “affordable”. I would venture to say that they would be asking for incentives even without that component, it’s done all the time. 80% of the “areas” median income. That median is surely rising due to gentrification and the loss of housing for those they claim to be wanting to help.
    The developer gets funding paid back by the property taxes they would pay anyway. Then, as the Coil in Broad Ripple did, they sell the property at a profit before the end of the tax repayment period, which can be as long as 20 years. The tax doesn’t get paid by the sale, it continues with the new owner, all the while the city still needs more revenue. Where does that come from.. guess? These developments also increase you property value which is good, until your property taxes go up.

  4. Scott – I’d recommend the city/county find more accountable/effective uses of the taxpayer revenue, an audit to their frivolous budgeting, and real business owners to take charge of changing course. Until then, we need these new projects to be planned. Failure upon failure by “leadership” continues to drive up costs to constituents. Private development organizations who drive new revenue should be incentivized and promoted. Or do you want more vacant, empty, and as of late, apocalyptic neighborhoods from politicians?

    …at your recommended pace, will Zombies 🧟 pay for the Red Line soon?

    1. The Red Line?
      TIF is nothing more than a slush fund for the same developers over and over again. I would say they know how to work the system, but they seem to be the system. Again folks, this is taxpayer property taxes at work. Funds taken FROM the property tax funds you pay every year to hand out to developers, poor, poor developers.
      Developers use the same old story, not that they have to, it’s just part of the game. They say: We really could do this project… but, and the BUT is tax funding. Do they really have such a problem with their own financing that lenders won’t lend??
      At a recent Midtown meeting for a project in underdeveloped and blighted Broad Ripple, the developer stated they would not be able to complete the project as proposed without the TIF funds. It just wouldn’t be as nice as they wanted or hoped for. A portion of those funds were to go to the Broad Ripple Village Association for some kind of streetscape or whatever and some to the Art League for arts sake. The Midtowners decided that the Art League really wouldn’t want to have to deal with this problem, so they proposed the promised funds to the developer for their own art project, whatever that was.

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