Husband-and-wife team rehabbing former hospital as apartment building

August 28, 2018
The building started life in 1941 as Emhardt Memorial Hospital. (IBJ photo/Mason King)

A husband-and-wife team of urban renovation enthusiasts is nearly finished reviving a 77-year-old former hospital in the emerging Bates-Hendricks neighborhood as a 14-unit apartment building.

Built in 1941 as Emhardt Memorial Hospital, the four-story brick edifice at 512 E. Minnesota St. later became a home for unwed mothers and then a women’s work-release center for the Indiana Department of Corrections. It closed in 2010.

Its art deco accents caught the attention of Justin Stuehrenberg and Katherine Bannon, who have been buying distressed residential buildings and renovating them for about eight years.

The couple started with duplexes and have steadily moved up to larger multifamily projects, including small apartment buildings at 3541 N. Meridian St. on the near-north side and 1354 Shelby St. in Fountain Square.

“We like to rescue buildings that have a lot of potential but aren’t performing to their potential,” Stuehrenberg said. “And we like to take buildings that are dragging the neighborhood down and use them to help bring the neighborhood back up.”

Stuehrenberg and Bannon buy, rehab and lease apartment projects through their firm Indy Up LLC. But they also have maintained full-time careers throughout their avocations in real estate.

Stuehrenberg, 36, uses his background in engineering and construction as vice president of planning and capital projects for IndyGo. Bannon, 35, manages federal housing grants as HOME program manager for the city of Indianapolis.

The state put the Minnesota Street building up for auction in 2016, and Indy Up acquired it for $110,550.

“Structurally it was in great shape, but the entire interior was completely trashed and full of mold and asbestos,” Stuehrenberg said.

Indy Up gutted the interior and started over. Cleaning out the building and finalizing designs and construction plans took about a year. The rehab work started last fall and now is almost complete.

Indy Up plans to begin leasing apartments next month. The building will have 13 units over four floors—eight two-bedroom units, four one-bedroom apartments and one studio.

The building also will feature a 1,400-square-foot penthouse that offers private access to the remainder of the roof. Rents in the building will range from $800 to $2,000 per month, with the penthouse at the top end.

Indy Up is investing $1.2 million in the rehab. “They aren’t luxury units, but they have upper-medium level finishes,” Stuehrenberg said.

In the two years that Stuehrenberg and Bannon have owned the building, they’ve seen significant changes in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood. With fixer-upper opportunities dwindling in nearby Fountain Square, house flippers and rehab specialists have been plucking up deals in the area, which has been featured prominently in the Indianapolis-based HGTV series “Good Bones.”

Seemingly every block now boasts at least one rehab project in progress, with dumpsters in yards and protective wrapping on exposed interiors.

“We saw a lot of potential in the neighborhood. Now it has taken off,” Stuehrenberg said.

However, Indy Up’s project will offer something fairly unique in Bates-Hendricks.

“There are very few apartment options in that neighborhood,” Stuehrenberg said.



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