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Historic property on city’s southeast side on the market

January 5, 2016

The owner of a multi-building campus spread over 15 acres on the southeast side is accepting offers on the historic property that once housed low-income elderly residents.

Verity College Education, an entity of the Oak Brook, Illinois-based Christian organization, Institute in Basic Life Principals, occupies the campus at 11850 Brookville Road but is set to vacate the property in June.

The acreage, which features two buildings totaling 140,000 square feet, is assessed at more than $6 million. But Ross Reller of Resource Commercial Real Estate, who is listing the property, doesn’t expect it to fetch nearly that much.

An auditorium and dormitory, in addition to classrooms and offices, limit the prospects, Reller said, even though the institute has spent “several million dollars” in improvements.

“We’re trying to find a needle in a haystack,” he said. “It will be challenging for us to find a buyer, but the good news is we have a motivated seller.”

Verity is a college-level program that helps students obtain a fully accredited associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a biblical perspective, according to its website. Verity’s owner, the Institute in Basic Life Principals, is consolidating local operations with a campus in Texas after the current academic year ends.

Less than 50 students live on the campus, Reller said. But it once housed Marion County’s low-income elderly.

For decades, the Marion County Healthcare Center had cared for elderly or disabled county residents who were either poor or on Medicaid or Medicare. In 1996, the county moved the last patients to Lockefield Village, a 240-bed, $11 million long-term-care center at the Indiana University Medical Center campus.

The institute’s multi-building property dates to 1832 and originally served as the county’s poorhouse. In 1869, the home changed its name to Marion County Infirmary and became an asylum for the mentally ill. By the early 1900s, it cared primarily for the elderly.

Marion County got out of the nursing home business in 1994, when Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County bought the nursing home license for about $2.5 million. Health and Hospital Corp. runs Eskenazi Hospital and is a government agency that operates outside the county’s jurisdiction.

The property is located across from the Warren Township baseball diamonds and just west of the Hancock County line. It features more than 125 parking spaces, 81 separate dorm rooms and an industrial kitchen with a dining room.

Reller plans to host an open house next month and begin accepting offers in March. He’s already received some interest, however, from a couple of parties, he said.

Still, he expects the property will be a tough sell.

“There won’t be a lot of people interested,” Reller acknowledged. “You’re probably going to get a fairly steep discount if you can use the property in its current form.”

The site’s commercial zoning status restricts uses to some sort of school, retirement home or maybe a homeless shelter, Reller said.
 

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