Apartments on downtown’s east side to help tenants with developmental disabilities

A local community development firm is proposing an $11 million apartment project on the eastern edge of downtown that could feature short-term rental units, housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and an art gallery and studio for tenants.

The Englewood Community Development Corp. project planned for 50 E. Shelby St., near Interstate 70 and East Washington St., would feature 39 apartments. It would be one block south of IndyGo’s planned Blue Line rapid-transit route.

The five-story project, called The Passage, would offer one- to three-bedroom units, ranging from 575 to 1,225 square feet, on the second through fourth floors, with 13 units on each level. The fifth floor would have five, 318-square-foot short-term rental suites.

Between 20% and 25% of the apartment units would be reserved as independent housing for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, through a partnership with Indianapolis-based Noble, an organization that serves children and adults with disabilities.

“What we’re trying to do … is introduce a little bit of social enterprise within the building,” said Joe Bowling, executive director of Englewood Community Development Corp.

The remainder of the units would be available to individuals and families making up to 80% of the area median income

Noble would operate a 4,800-square-foot support services area to help tenants with disabilities and others with barriers to employment receive proper training and guidance to find work. An art studio and separate gallery would give Noble tenants an opportunity to express themselves and sell their work, while interacting with other residents “to truly encourage greater interaction and integration,” Bowling said.

Bowling said the inclusion of short-term rental units also would help acclimate tenants with disabilities to a steady stream of new people.

The Passage would feature an on-site laundry area, an outdoor patio and 61 parking spaces. The 1.1-acre parcel is owned the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, through holding company Blueline Holdings LLC.

The project is being partially funded with $8.5 million from the sale tax credits by the Indiana Community Housing and Development Authority’s Moving Forward program, which selected it along with a project in Carmel from seven proposed developments across the state.

Englewood expects to have about $1 million in debt on the project, while the balance of the project cost would come from other funding sources, such as grants.

Bowling said the IHCDA’s program was focused on serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and providing them avenues to employment and stable living environments.

Englewood is asking the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance of development standards for the property which is zoned MU-2, mixed use. The variance would permit the building’s height to exceed 35 feet—it would be about 60 feet tall—and have fewer than the required number of parking spaces, which is 67.

The BZA will consider the request July 7.

Indianapolis-based Blackline Studio is the architect on the project.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

3 thoughts on “Apartments on downtown’s east side to help tenants with developmental disabilities

  1. I’m all for helping all levels of humanity. However, somewhere in the constitution there is a quote that says “For All”
    My concerns are a few.
    #1: A natural behavioral reaction to these types of projects embed a thought that property values would be negatively impacted. Thus perception becomes reality. The east corridor this close to town is one of the last frontiers to be rizining up at fast paces. Putting a facility this close has already caused potential investors to back up from being involved in my project.
    #2: If #1 is true, Why wouldn’t these types of projects be initiated in an area that would accomplish the humanitarian goal, support the area from an income perspective and allow properties in this corridor to sustain value. How about putting it in the Twin Air Area.
    #3: If i may use the following examples of how the city and initiatives fault in their management of these types of works to benefit all:
    A: I agree the homeless need help. However The ACLU seems to have more of a selfish goal by causing the ordinance/law
    of panhandling to be on hold. Where is the encouragement for recovery? What about the huge GDP hospitality brings to
    the city and yet falters by all the panhandling and resulting smell.
    B: As supportive as the Horizon House tries to be, its not hard to pass there and see homeless lying around day and night.
    C: I’ve tried too hard for 6 years to have the city pickup piles of trash left behind by the homeless.
    D: thus my concern is after two years, the area will prove itself to what i just sited.
    I blame top leadership for this. They claim to be do gooders but many times you can come into the city to see tall grass, dirt and trash all over the highways and on our city streets. And once you get into the heart, we suffer from social neglect.

    Thanks for listening.

  2. July 14,2020
    INHP has owned the land since late last year. They have yet to maintain any of the landscape on this site. TALL GRASS.
    This is just one small example of how these organizations mean well but pass on accountability once the come out of the ground.