East 16th Street building to be rehabbed for restaurant

A vacant and run-down building on an up-and-coming stretch of East 16th Street has a new owner who plans to redevelop the site as a restaurant.

The property, which official documents variously identify as 401 E. 16th St. and 407 E. 16th St., stands directly across from Tinker Street restaurant.

In June, Nadia Dadgarian of Chicago purchased the building from Peter George, a former partner in Tinker Street. Dadgarian’s son, Saman Sardari, 24, plans to rehabilitate and enlarge the dilapidated 778-square-foot building for a yet-undetermined restaurant tenant.

Dadgarian purchased the property for $180,000, and Sardari said he expects to put $300,000 or so into rehabbing the building. It’s been vacant for years, and a blue tarp covers the roof.

“It could be a tear-down, but we’re just kind of saving it,” said Sardari, who lived in Indianapolis for six years before moving to Chicago earlier this year.

Sardari plans to expand the building to 1,400 square feet and add 100 square feet of patio seating. The enlarged space should seat about 35 people inside and another 15 on the patio, he said.

The project is set for a Nov. 7 hearing with the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, Sardari said.

Sardari said he envisions a mid-to-upscale restaurant taking the space, though he has not yet talked with potential tenants.

Sardari has prior experience in commercial renovations. Three years ago he purchased 11 W. 22nd St., a commercial building just east of North Meridian Street. He renovated the space and it’s fully leased with two tenants: a barber shop and a home-staging company. Sardari still owns that property via a limited-liability corporation, Yellow Cardinal LLC.

The development boom in the Old Northside neighborhood was what drew Sardari’s attention to the East 16th Street property.

Neighboring Tinker Street does a booming business, he said, which tells him another restaurant could also do well. 

The site is just east of Three 19, a condo development at the corner of 16th and North New Jersey streets that’s now under construction by Bloomington-based Rubicon Construction LLC. The project includes 26 upscale condo units plus about 2,800 square feet of ground floor commercial space along 16th Street.

Steve Delaney, a real estate broker with CBRE, said the location does show promise.

“I think (Sardari’s) timing is good. That area in general has certainly picked up,” Delaney said. 

It’s not unusual for commercial developers to renovate buildings before landing a tenant, Delaney said. When a building is in poor shape, he said, this is actually a wise strategy because it’s easier to attract tenants to a newly-renovated space.

This is the second time in the past several years that a restaurant has been planned for the site.

Tinker Street Holdings LLC purchased the building in June 2014, at the same time that then-business partners Thomas Main and George purchased the building that now houses Tinker Street. The two had plans to turn 401 E. 16th St. into an Italian restaurant, and in January 2016 the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission approved their design for the project. 

But that project never came to fruition.

George and Main parted ways this spring, and George is no longer a co-owner at Tinker Street. In April, ownership of the 401 E. 16th St. property passed from Tinker Street Holdings LLC to George, according to Marion County property records.

George, who told IBJ he has since moved to California, declined to comment on the property.


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