INDIANAPOLIS – Bush Stadium was once a cathedral of baseball memories—a landmark for generations of Indianapolis Indians fans who packed the ballpark until Victory Field opened almost 20 years ago.
As the crowds and memories faded, the stadium fell into disrepair. Ideas to inject new life into the area came and went, all as Bush crumbled. A low point came when the storied venue became a parking lot for vehicles traded in during the “cash for clunkers” program.
Now, developers are taking a swing at giving the stadium the high profile it deserves—by drawing crowds of a different type. Bush Stadium has become the home of Stadium Lofts, a mixed-use development of apartment units built around the old 16th Street venue.
“It was probably the hardest project I’ve undertaken, just the nature of the building…deconstructing it before we built it back. It was very unstable while it was dissembled,” said John Watson of Core Redevelopment.
Indiana Landmarks gave tours of the new development as part of a fundraising campaign, providing donors with a glimpse of how the baseball stadium has been transformed into more than 100 studio apartments. They include one- and two-bedroom units, most of which are already leased to people who want to live where the Indianapolis Indians once played.
“Historic preservation is not about freezing a place in time…making it static and unusable. Stadium Lofts show how and old facility can be brought to new life,” said Marsh Davis of Indiana Landmarks.
Developers said they tried to preserve the essence and feel of Bush while honoring a piece of Indiana history that is getting a new chance to shine.
“We thought it was important to preserve that feeling when you walk into the stadium…that I’m walking into a stadium,” said Watson.
For more information about Stadium Lofts, visit the Core Redevelopment website.