INDIANAPOLIS — Peter Marbach has lived on Indianapolis’ near south side for 30 years and said the big red apartment building on the corner of Morris and Meridian Street has always been an eyesore and a nuisance, even when it was occupied.
So he was glad to see demolition crews out Monday preparing to take it down.
“Everybody in the neighborhood is more than excited about that,” Marbach said.
Once the building is reduced to a pile of rubble in the next couple weeks, work can begin on a new $23 million apartment building with first floor retail space.
“It’ll be a mixture of affordable studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as community space designated for the residents, also rooftop terrace looking into downtown,” said Maeghan Hobbs, CEO of BWI, the developer that bought the property in 2015. “It’s definitely going to change the neighborhood for the better, and I think that’s what the neighborhood has been looking for for a while.”
The 1202 Meridian project will go up just down the street from the anticipated Rise on Meridian development, which will add 269 apartments in a six-story building.
“New apartments, new retail, it has so much potential as being the start of what can develop along Morris Street and also north and south on Meridian,” said Marbach. “It’s really exciting with these things happening, and it’s also encouraging. A lot of the homeowners do more work to their houses because they’re seeing this renovation and development going on around them.”
Amanda Ratcliff, manager of the Liquor Barn across Morris Street from the 1202 Meridian site, said her boss is ready to tear down his store and build brand new, inspired by the development that’s occurring in the neighborhood.
Once the city designated the near south side community a Lift Indy neighborhood, it made a commitment to improve infrastructure in the area as well as sending a signal to developers that tax abatements would encourage the construction of affordable multi-family housing.
“It allowed everyone to notice that the city is also investing in this area, so being able to raise the additional dollars to make this come to fruition, it gave all the other partners some hope that the city was also ready to invest as well,” said Hobbs. “We’ll begin full construction of 105 units that will be workforce housing to service the workforce in the neighborhood so they can live a little closer to their jobs, and it’s about a 10- to 12-month construction process.”
Hobbs expects new apartments to begin leasing in the fall of 2022.