Dilapidated Castleton hotel to be revamped as senior ‘resort’ community

A developer plans to invest more than $5.4 million to convert a vacant and dilapidated hotel on the north side into a senior housing complex, according to filings with the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission.

The former 164-room Castleton Extended Stay at 8275 Craig St. would be revamped as a “resort senior living community” called Bartlett Reserve of Castleton, according to an MDC staff report. (Click on rendering below for larger view.) It would be modeled after a similar project in Durham, North Carolina.

bartlett reserve 250pxBartlett Reserve Indy LLC is seeking a three-year tax abatement from the city on its $5.45 million investment in the property.

The MDC is expected to hear the tax break request during its meeting early Wednesday afternoon..

The vacant two-story building, built in 1986, sits on 5.5 acres. According to Marion County Assessor records, the property was bought by Bartlett in September 2016 for $2.25 million from A&B Investments, which had spent $2.47 million more than a year and a half earlier on the parcel.

Bartlett also acquired a 1.1-acre tract adjacent to the hotel parcel in January 2018. The company paid Genesis Property Development Inc. $150,000 for the land, with the intent to incorporate it into the 55-and-up senior housing complex.

According to state filings, the registered agent for Bartlett is Steve Blackburn, president of Indianapolis-based AGS Capital, a private investment firm founded by prominent local businessman Alan Symons.

The exact nature of Blackburn’s involvement in the project is not clear, nor is the relationship between the Castleton project and the one completed in Durham in 2016. Neither Blackburn nor a representative for the Bartlett Reserve Durham property returned calls requesting comment for this story.

The number of units expected to be part of the housing complex is unclear. The Durham location of Bartlett has 99 units and two guest suites. Rates there begin at $3,550 per month for a one-bedroom unit—with a monthly fee of $750 for a second resident—and increased to $3,950 per month for a two-bedroom unit for one resident, and $4,000 for two residents.

Renovations to the Castleton property are expected to include new interior and exterior common areas, a commercial kitchen, new fire safety measures and a new roof. The HVAC and hot water systems are also expected to be upgraded.

The exterior of the property will take on a new look as well, with the facade modified to suggest row houses. The complex’s amenities will include a fitness center, an outdoor dining deck, a heated outdoor swimming pool, patios, walking trails and a bocce ball court.

The development would add 32 jobs paying an average wage of $20.80 per hour and retain four jobs that pay an average of $16.19 per hour.

The three-year tax abatement requested by Bartlett would save the developer $136,677 in property taxes. The project is expected to add about $4.88 million in value to the city’s tax base, according to an MDC staff report on the request.

The abatement would “assist in off-setting the high costs of investment associated” with the project, according to the staff report. Bartlett still would pay $44,802.74 annually in current taxes, as well also about $155,912.50 in taxes related to new investment, over the abatement period.

After the abatement period ends, the company would pay a total of $132,468 in property taxes each year, which would include $97,530 for taxes assessed to the improvements.

The staff report recommends approval of the abatement, saying  “a project such as this would not be economically feasible without the tax abatement incentive."

The abatement request and attempt to redevelop the old hotel come as city and community leaders look for ways to revamp Castleton. The city in January commissioned what’s expected to be a year-long study of the corridor by local firm MKSK. The study will look at ways to improve walkability and flow within the area that has long been plagued by heavy traffic resulting from its extensive retail offerings and proximity to the Interstate 69 exit at 82nd Street. 

The study also is expected to examine possibilities for bringing more residential spaces to the core areas of Castleton, which would include Craig Street, located just west of the I-69 exit.

“Staff believes the petitioner's project will lead to continued further investment and development in Marion County,” the MDC staff report said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited incorrect purchase prices for the 5.5-acre and 1.1-acre properties that will make up the Bartlett Reserve project.

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