Owner of historic 14 West building asking nearly $6M for top two floors

14WMaryland residence

The owner of the historic 14 West building next to Circle Centre mall is putting the top two floors of the four-story downtown structure on the market and is asking $5.99 million for the space, which was converted from office to residential use just before the turn of the century.

Jeff Laskowski, a former CEO of Wood-Mizer Products Inc., a west-side portable saw-mill manufacturer started by his father and a partner, bought the building on West Maryland Street in January 2014.

The Speedway native, who lives in Lizton with his wife, paid $3 million, or $150 per square foot, for the 20,000-square-foot building, which was home to the 14 West Restaurant and Suites until the end of 2012.

Workers are preparing that space for Red, The Steakhouse, which is expected to open by the end of April.

Upon buying the building three years ago, Laskowski had hoped to live in the top two floors, outfitted with suites on the third floor and a large penthouse on the fourth. But he’s since had a change of heart.

“This ended up becoming so much more than I needed,” he said. “I don’t need this big of an estate for a part-time residence.”

Constructed in 1876, the distinctive building with arched window openings was known as Elliott’s Block and was home to Indiana News Co. after serving as a warehouse annex for L.S. Ayres Co.

An extensive renovation in 1999 transformed the space into an upscale restaurant known as Malibu on Maryland with upstairs hotel suites. Local investor Richard Coombes, who led the revamp, sold it to Carter M. Fortune.

The business had been a passion project for the local businessman and philanthropist, who died at age 70 in August 2012. Fortune was chairman of locally based Fortune Industries, a publicly traded company before undergoing a restructuring.

Laskowski bought the building from a Fortune family trust and since has been renovating the top two residential floors that total 8,500 square feet. The work is 90 percent complete, prompting him to put it on the market with the Berkshire Hathaway Indiana real estate agency.

“It’s such a unique property,” said Chris Noel, the agent who is listing the property. “It’s just got a lot of features that you just don’t find. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime-type property.”

Laskowski estimated that he’s spent more than $2 million renovating the top two floors and settled on the $5.99 million asking price using the sale of a smaller condominium above the downtown Conrad Indianapolis hotel as a gauge.

The 5,514-square-foot home on the 22nd floor of the 10-year-old, 23-story Conrad building sold in late November for $4.8 million, in what might have been the largest single-family residential real estate purchase in Marion County history.

“That is almost half of the square footage of this space,” Laskowski said.

On the third floor of the 14 West building, Laskowski removed two of the four suites to open up the area and exposed the original rafters, brick and beams to give the space more of a historic feel.

The fourth floor, renovated in 1999 as a penthouse (Tommy Hilfiger was the first guest), has been gutted and refurbished, and now connects to the third level after Laskowski cut a hole in the center of the floor and installed a staircase.

“Whenever possible, we left the original materials.” He said. “There’s a character and warmth to [the floors] that you’re not going to get in a new structure.”

Overall, the two floors include four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and three half-baths. The two suites Laskowski left on the third floor boast their own kitchens in addition to a sitting area and washer and dryer.

The residence also has a home theater, and Laskowski plans to add a library as well.

An elevator gives the residence direct access to the restaurant below and another extends to the roof of the building, where an outdoor terrace for entertaining will include a waterfall or fountain and a fire pit. Laskowski plans to finish that before summer.

The space is complete enough, however, that if a buyer emerged quickly, the finishes could be done to suit his or her tastes, he said.

The condo also has direct access to Circle Centre mall and its own three-car garage inside a mall parking garage with direct access to the 14 West building. Laskowski signed a lease with mall manager Simon Property Group Inc. for the parking spaces, which are separated from the rest of the public garage by walls and two garage doors.

The stretch of West Maryland near South Meridian has become much more of a restaurant destination since Laskowski bought his building three years ago.

Yard House opened in March 2015 in part of the Nordstrom space across the street from the 14 West building, followed by Nada to the east of Yard House in March of last year.

In November, Florida-based Burn by Rocky Patel announced it will take the 5,500-square-foot corner space at Maryland and Meridian. The upscale lounge should open sometime in the summer

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