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Sprawling industrial complex near Cottage Home attracts buyer

January 20, 2015
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A local developer has agreed to buy a large industrial complex near Massachusetts Avenue and plans to convert part of the building into retail and restaurant space.

Teagan Development Inc. is buying the 539,000-square-foot building from the National Bank of Indianapolis and expects to take possession within a few months, company President Larry Jones said.

Known as the Circle City Industrial Complex, the sprawling property is bounded by Brookside and Massachusetts avenues near 10th Street, in the Windsor Park neighborhood.

The area, which serves as the entrance to the Cottage Home neighborhood, is beginning to experience a rebirth, thanks to a couple of residential projects.

“This building and this location have the bones for what I call the next overnight sensation,” Jones said. “It’s an area where the residents of Cottage Home have put 25-plus years into turning that neighborhood around.”

The industrial complex houses about 50 tenants—a mix of artists and small-business owners who lease studio space. The RecycleForce not-for-profit occupies 80,000 square feet and is by far the largest tenant.

The vacant, 120,000-square-foot section at the southern end of the building that once served as a postal hub could hold the most potential.

About 40,000 square feet would be devoted for the restaurant and retail space, and 30,000 square feet for an incubator to foster small manufacturing. The remaining 50,000 square feet would be demolished to make way for a parking lot and an access drive to link Brookside and Massachusetts avenues.

A spur from the nearby Monon Trail and Indianapolis Cultural Trail could run through the building and connect to the planned Pogue’s Run trail along Brookside Avenue to Brookside Park.

Jones declined to divulge how much he is paying for the building. But he said he’s seeking a $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant from the city of Indianapolis to stabilize the building, demolish part of it and to create parking.

The grant will be used to leverage about $3.5 million in private funding to redevelop the property, Jones said.

Jones should know by the end of the month whether he receives the city grant. Either way, he said he still intends to buy the building.

Jones plans to partner on the project with the Riley Area Development Corp., which will operate the incubator, known in urban areas as “makerspace."

“The reason the city and Riley are interested is that if they want the near-east side to come back, they’ve got to invest in jobs,” Jones said.

The National Bank of Indianapolis took control of the property about four years ago from previous owner E&E Realty LLC.

RecycleForce has been there since 2012 and attempted to buy the building the next year for $1.1 million. But the bank balked at the price, and the not-for-profit’s board wouldn’t raise the bid, RecycleForce CEO Gregg Keesling said.

“I would rather be my own landlord,” he said. “But if I had to pick somebody, [Jones is] certainly better than an out-of-state or absentee landlord.”

Ralph Balber, president of Alo Property Group, had listed the building while at his previous firm, Newmark Knight Frank Halakar.

“It’s a great property and the location is awesome,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of a mini-Stutz, if you look at the tenants who are in there.”

Like the Stutz Business Center on North Capitol Avenue, the Circle City Industrial Complex originally housed a factory. The plant, started by Louis Schwitzer—who won the first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (not the 500)—originally made automotive cooling fans.

To the south, local developer Stenz Corp. has received city approval to build 14 houses as part of a project that could include a two-story mixed-use development.

The two-story, 1,600-square-foot residences starting in the high $200,000s will be built along Dorman and Stillwell streets south of East 10th Street.

Also, custom homebuilder Ursula David has built two custom modular homes—one for herself—and has a third one sold as part of a small, architecturally designed pre-fabricated development she launched in 2013.

Jones’ portfolio includes the newly redeveloped Ovid and Calvin Commons retail strip at College Avenue and 11th Street, and the Chatham Center apartments and retail center. His Teagan firm also is a partner in the Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square.

 

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