I-Team 8

Vacant building coming down on South Meridian Street

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The neighborhood — as well as the city — have waited more than six years for demolition to begin on a building at the comer of South Meridian Street and Morris Street. In its place will be a new 105-unit apartment building. 

The work of taking down a building is time consuming. This week, workers have started clearing out debris, making way for heavy equipment to move in later in the week.  

The red stucco building had become a haven for the homeless. The last rent-paying residents moved out years ago. John Butler’s house backs right to the old building.  

 “Homeless have been in it, it has caught on fire a couple of times,” Butler said.  

A number of developers approached the neighborhood and city with ideas to redevelop the building, but nothing stuck until 2015. That is when Gary Hobbs, CEO of BWI Development bought the building with plans to tear it down. Hobbs spoke to I-Team 8 in 2019 about his plans for the site. 

“We have adapted some of the feedback from the community into our current design philosophy here,” Hobbs said in 2019

At the time, the downtown apartment market was nearing saturation. He was taking a chance building in a neighborhood that was just starting to wake up to development. Today, he is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. 

“Certainly, when we invested in the property years ago, the dynamics of the market were less strong than they are today,” Hobbs said. “So yeah, it was a gamble initially to invest in the property. Now things are growing and moving toward the south side of downtown, which is just a great community with a lot of assets and great people.”

Hobbs calls the new building 12-02. It will reach five stories from the ground. The first floor is a mixture of parking, retail and public coworking space.  

The studio apartments have one and two bedrooms, and the more expensive ones will offer a view of the city. The city has offered Hobbs a tax abatement that requires 20% of the apartments to be leased at below market rate.   

The building is the first significant residential development in the old south side neighborhood in decades. There are plans to develop hotels north of the area. The city is preparing to install new street scaping along South Meridian Street as well.  

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2022.