INDIANAPOLIS — Demolition began today on one building at the long troubled and largely dilapidated Towne and Terrace complex on Indy’s northeast side.

The demolition has been on hold for nearly 10 years as part of a lengthy legal fight.

With that lawsuit now settled, the city promises every building in the complex will be torn down.

The demolition of the building on Essex Court took place first because it’s the only building on the property where the city already owned all the units.

The demolition is long overdue progress for the distressed housing complex, but watching that work proved bittersweet to some long time Towne and Terrace residents.

“To see it come to this, it hurts,” said resident Liz Durden.

Liz Durden has lived in the complex for more than 30 years, yet even she agrees the demolition is necessary.

“It has to come to this, because if we don’t do this now, it’s just going to get worse,” said Durden.

“Finally we are able to move forward,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Speaking at a press conference just prior to the demolition, the mayor pointed out the city already owns 106 abandoned units. That a little less than half the 258 units on the property.

The city will now begin appraising and acquiring more units next month with the goal of having all the buildings owned and demolished by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

“This will be welcome news for anyone familiar with the health and safety issues that have burdened this property for decades,” said Hogsett.

Over the last five years, IMPD has investigated at least a dozen homicides at Towne and Terrace.  That’s why police believe the demolition will improve public safety.

“Symbolically it sends a message that the city is working to make this area safer,” said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley.

The city will provide financial assistance, including moving costs and rental assistance, to displaced residents.

As HOA president, Liz feels the city is making fair offers and encourages all her neighbors to accept.

“Take the deal. This is the best thing we’re going to get. We may as well take it now,” said Durden.

City leaders caution that while it a last resort, they will seek eminent domain against any owners who refuse to sell.