Ground broken for $24M mixed-use development on Lafayette Road

A local company held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning for a $24 million senior living center on Indianapolis' northwest side in the Lafayette Square areanow called the International Marketplace.

Vapari Residential LLC has formed 35 Hundred LP to develop the project at 3500 Lafayette Road called the Pyramids at 35 Hundred. It calls for 130 independent-living units for seniors and 15,000 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space is expected to be leased to retailers and other tenants who'll offer products or services used by residents in the senior living center. 

Two four-story buildings totaling 140,000 square feet will be constructed for the senior apartment units, said Raj Dawhali of Vapari Residential, and an existing vacant medical office building will house the commercial space. The two-story office building, formerly called the "Northwest Office Center," was built in 1966.

Dawhali said he is seeking city assistance to help finance the project. City spokeswoman Taylor Schaffer said the city remains committed to the continued redevelopment of the International Marketplace area.

“As far as this specific project and possible partnership, conversations with the developer are ongoing,” Schaffer said in an email.

The developer is partnering with the International Marketplace Coalition on the project. The coalition, formerly the Lafayette Square Area Coalition, is a not-for-profit that encourages economic growth and development in the the area around 38th Street and Lafayette Road.

With more than 80 restaurants featuring offerings from Peru to Pakistan, the International Marketplace has been transformed in recent years into a cultural destination.

The coalition, which drafted the plan that has helped to rejuvenate the area, will offer 35 Hundred its expertise, Dawhali said.

“When we saw the building, we saw a lot of potential,” Dawhali said. “I kept thinking, ‘why isn’t anyone doing anything with it.’”

The building and nearly four-acre parcel became available after the former owner stopped paying taxes on the property. Dawhali’s 35 Hundred LP paid the tax liens, in addition to the outstanding mortgage and other expenses, totaling $780,000, he said.

Dawhali since has torn down an addition to the existing building, leaving behind the portion that fronts Lafayette Road.

Friday’s groundbreaking was ceremonial. Construction should start in June and last 18 months, Dawhali said.

Dawhali 's Vapari Residential company buys vacant homes and renovates them for the rental market. The Pyramids at 35 Hundred will be Dawhali’s first big commercial project.

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