TWG planning apartments on former bakery site east of downtown

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TWG Development expects to spend $56.5 million to build Bakery Living, a six-story, 201-unit apartment project at 1331 E. Washington St. (Rendering courtesy of TWG Development)

An Indianapolis-based development firm plans to build more affordable housing on the eastern outskirts of downtown, next to another project it completed in 2019.

TWG Development expects to spend $56.5 million to build Bakery Living, a six-story, 201-unit apartment project at 1331 E. Washington St., just east of The Assembly affordable housing project.

TWG bought the 1.7-acre, parcel for the Bakery Living project in 2019, acquired it from Ivy Tech Community College for $490,000 during the redevelopment of the former Ford Motor Co. assembly plant next door. The parcel includes a 74,000-square-foot, one-story building that Ivy Tech used to house its automotive program.

The building formerly housed the West Baking Co., which ceased operations in the late 1960s or early 1970s, according to the Indiana Historical Society.

All of the apartments in Bakery Living would be leased to tenants making less than the area’s median income. At least 5% will be set aside for those making up to 30% of the area’s median income, while the other 95% will be designated as “workforce housing”—a phrase that typically means developers are targeting those making up to 80% of the area’s median income.

“With the success of the Assembly, we’ve seen residents wanting to live in this area. So it made sense to continue our affordable workforce housing options on East Washington Street,” said J.B. Curry, president of development for TWG.

The Holy Cross Neighborhood, the association that represents the area where the project would be located, did not explicitly support the development in a letter to the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development. Rather, it asked for a few conditions on approval for the project.

The conditions included preserving the facade of the building, which was constructed in 1930—or at the very least preserving some of the materials from the demolished building. DMD staff had also originally sought for the facade to be preserved but backed away from the request after it determined it would be difficult to do so.

TWG’s Curry said the facade could not be preserved due to the nature of construction, particularly because the setback on the site is expected to change with the new building.

“This building is fairly outdated, and we took a number of looks at repurposing it, but it wasn’t really feasible to use the existing structure,” he said. “We definitely felt like a new structure that that complemented The Assembly is definitely a better fit.”

However, Curry said TWG plans to incorporate some of the old materials into Bakery Living, largely through some hardscape landscaping at the rear of the new building.

Bakery Living received preliminary approval for rezoning the property from industrial to mixed-use from a city hearing examiner last week. It also gave preliminary approval for a variance to allow for a building of up to 75 feet tall. The Metropolitan Development Commission still must consider the requests at an upcoming meeting.

The new project is expected to operate independently from The Assembly, although there is an alleyway that will run between the two projects that is expected to be improved as part of Bakery Living.

It’s unclear whether TWG plans to seek city, state or federal incentives for the project. However, the development is located in an opportunity zone, which allows individuals to invest capital gains into new projects, making those profits exempt from taxes after 10 years.

Curry said TWG plans to make both The Assembly and Bakery Living long-term holds, rather than trying to sell them off in a few years.

Construction on the project is expected to start as early as the second quarter of 2023.

Studio Architecture is the design firm on the project.

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