Renters drive demand for downtown Indy development

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INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis developer is close to moving forward with a $26 million development that includes 236 apartments just south of Massachusetts Avenue in Downtown Indianapolis.

Milhaus Development is also working on a mixed-use development less than a mile away, signaling the growing desire for rental apartments in the area.

“We see multi-family rentals as a really strong opportunity right now,” said Jake Dietrich, the Milhaus Development project developer for the new Chatham-Arch Development. The plans call for studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in five buildings including a historic building that was once owned by Mitchel and Scott Machine Company.

“They also have a designated front access off College Avenue so they can essentially open their front door for a business if they so desire,” said Dietrich about the option for some renters to also run a business out of their rental units.

Outdoor patios, a plaza, pool, indoor bar, art gallery and more have also been promised on the North College Avenue site that is already surrounded by fairly new developments.

Milhaus already has Artistry on Market Street under construction. The mixed-use development will include more than 250 apartments for rent. Local realtors said the requests for rental apartments are constant, and people who are looking for short-term leases may not be very successful.

“It used to be that there wasn’t much available,” said Lance McElfresh, a Century 21 Scheetz realtor.

Some downtown apartment buildings are even boasting 90 percent occupancy.

“With those sorts of numbers of people coming in, and the developments that are going up, services are going to have to follow, so it just builds on itself,” said McElfresh.

The overall expectation among developers, realtors and city officials, like Mayor Greg Ballard, who has been advocating for more downtown investments, is growing demand for commercial and retail options.

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