Funeral home company acquires west-side industrial building

Longtime funeral services firm Flanner Buchanan has acquired a west-side manufacturing plant and is considering moving its administrative operations to the property, but no plans have been finalized, according to the company's CEO.

Indianapolis-based Flanner Buchanan, which has more than a dozen funeral home locations in central Indiana, recently bought the 32,000-square-foot facility at 2020 Montcalm St. near the Riverside area. The family-owned business closed on the purchase of the 43-year-old Class C industrial building in late September, paying $850,000 to buy the property from 201 Management Inc.

Bruce Buchanan, CEO and fourth-generation owner of the business, declined to confirm the building had been bought, but public records from the state and the Indianapolis Assessor’s office confirm its purchase.

The building was purchased Sept. 27 by associated holding company Washington Park Cemetery Association Inc., for which Flanner Buchanan Chief Administrative Officer Ted Mau is the listed agent. The group, a subsidiary of the Buchanan Group, is also listed as the owner of several properties at which Flanner Buchanan funeral homes are located.

Flanner Buchanan's administrative offices are in the company's longtime funeral services building at 635 Market St. downtown. The company occupies about 12,000 square feet in the property.

Sister company Buchanan Group—which specializes in funeral home management, and granite and casket distribution—also has offices in a downtown building at 600 E. Ohio St., that Bruce Buchanan once owned.

Buchanan said the Ohio Street building was sold in 2015 to the Cunningham Group for about $700,000. The Buchanan Group has leased space there ever since.

Buchanan said plans haven’t yet been finalized for the Montcalm Street building or any others under the company’s purview. He said one option is a use similar to that of the Market Street building, which would see the Montcalm property turned into administrative office space for the 137-year-old funeral services business.

The company hopes to finalize a plan by the end of the first quarter of 2019, Buchanan said. He said no decisions have been made about whether both the Market Street building and the Montcalm property would be used by the company. He declined to say whether either building would be put on the market.

“We’re looking at different building options at this point,” Buchanan said. “(Montcalm) is one of the buildings we’re looking at.”

He said Flanner Buchanan hopes to maintain a presence in the downtown area, but indicated “it would be difficult” to do so. He said the Riverside location would be close enough to downtown to allow it to effectively serve clients and families around the region. The building isn't far from the IUPUI campus and the 16 Tech innovation district.

Having a presence on Montcalm Street could help the company revitalize the neighborhood, which has long seen residential stagnation, Buchanan said.

“To be downtown or near downtown is very important for us, because we are a metro-wide service business," he said. "To have a centralized location is very important. We believe that going into an area to help revitalize it is important. It’s part of our culture, part of our mission.”

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