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Indy’s Old City Hall to have new life

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Mayor Greg Ballard is hoping to revitalize an old building in downtown Indianapolis by turning it into a cultural destination.

Some people in the arts community believe this is a step in the right direction and will add to the thriving art scene in the Circle City.

The plan is part of a $55 million project to transform the Old City Hall building into a world class contemporary art museum and hotel.

The walls at the “Art Bank Gallery” are filled with paintings from local artists across Indianapolis, but just a couple of blocks away could be home to a different kind of showcase.

“The city has done a lot with local murals and stuff like that to push, to make it very artsy and aware,” said Terrence Loftus, artist.

Mayor Ballard announced plans to renovate the Old City Hall Thursday afternoon.

It’s been vacant for 10 years while city leaders search to find the perfect opportunity to turn the building into something more.

“Showing the world, absolutely showing the world that we are prepared to compete on a global stage for talent,” said Ballard.

The proposed project will feature a 21C hotel, restaurants, and a contemporary art museum on the first floor. The museum will be free to the public, opened all year around, and managed by the company.

“Offering interesting and accessible spaces to experience art of the 21st century to enjoy local food and drink and to get a good night’s sleep,” said Craig Greenberg, 21C president.

Terrence Loftus supports the idea. He says any investment into the arts community is a good one.

“You don’t see that a lot public places like that. Having more of a selection of artwork specifically for hotels and stuff like that,” said Loftus. “You’re usually finding the cookie cutter boxes style.”

24-Hour News 8 learned most of the funding will come from loans, investors and tax credits.

Meanwhile, the city-county council still needs to approve the plan before anything can happen.

If approved, construction could begin as early as November.