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Vacant IPS buildings draw bids from developers

July 14, 2015

Five of the six vacant buildings that Indianapolis Public Schools put on the block last month have attracted offers, with bidders appearing to lean toward renovating several as apartments.

Four of the properties are former schools on the east and southeast sides. They are IPS School 20 at 1849 E. Pleasant Run Parkway, IPS School 21 at 2815 English Ave., IPS School 78 at 3734 E. Vermont St., and IPS School 97 at 1401 E. 10th St.

The other two buildings included in the offering are the Center for Instructional Radio and Television at 931 Fletcher Ave. in Fountain Square and the historic Phillips Temple downtown at 1226 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.

Which bids IPS might accept won’t be known for at least another month. Although bidding closed July 1, offers must be kept open for 45 days.

Abbe Hohmann, president of Site Strategies Advisory LLC, is coordinating the sale for IPS and said both she and school officials were pleased with the interest the process attracted.

“We felt it was successful and were thrilled to have multiple bids on the properties, except for the one,” she said. School 20 on Pleasant Run Parkway failed to garner any interest from potential developers.

Based on the bidders expressing the most interest, several of the five buildings most likely would be converted into affordable or market-rate apartment units.

CIRT, as the Fletcher Avenue building is known, brought the highest bid: $1.1 million from local multifamily housing developer Milhaus Development LLC.

Totaling 17,200 square feet, CIRT was built in 1969 to house IPS radio station WIAN. IPS sold the station in 1986 to Indianapolis Public Broadcasting, owner of WFYI-TV Channel 20, and the call letters were changed to WFYI-FM 90.1. The station moved to 1630 N. Meridian St., and IPS continued to own the building, closing it in 2014.

Milhaus’ bid easily topped the other three the property attracted: $350,000 from Third Street Ventures LLC, $250,000 from Altman Investments and $77,501 from Riley Area Development Corp.

School 21 on English Avenue attracted the next-largest bid: $500,000 from local apartment developer TWG Development LLC. Another local apartment developer, BWI LLC, bid $460,000 for the property. Riley Area Development Corp. offered $210,000 (and an additional $90,000 if it is awarded federal housing tax credits), and Cleveland-based charter network I CAN Schools bid $252,000.

The Phillips Temple also generated strong interest. Insight Development Corp., the development arm of the Indianapolis Housing Agency, offered $400,000; Van Rooy Properties, $122,500; and Calvary Tabernacle, $25,000. Core Redevelopment LLC, the firm that redeveloped Bush Stadium into apartments, bid just $1.

School 78 on Vermont Street received a $150,000 offer from the John H. Boner Community Center and $1 from a group called Neighborhood Fellowship.

School 97, on the Arsenal Technical High School campus on East 10th Street, attracted two proposals but is available only to lease and not purchase. A legal contract from 1917 stipulates that the entire 76-acre Arsenal campus be used for educational purposes, limiting School 97's options for redevelopment.

Core Redevelopment wants to lease the building for 99 years at an annual rate of $1, in addition to providing IPS $40,000 per year, contingent upon a court order reversing the educational restriction, Core said in its bid.

Westminster Neighborhood Services Inc. said it would spend $5.9 million on improvements and pay IPS $6,000 per year for 40 years—or $240,000.


 

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