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Judge: Sell or demolish vacant apartments

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A judge ruled Monday on an apartment complex the city has called the “worst parcel of land in Marion County,” providing a timeline for the owners to either sell the property or have it demolished.

The judge ruled that Indy Diamond, which owns the vacant Oak Tree Apartments at 42nd Street and Post Road, has until Aug. 15 to sell the property, or the complex will be demolished on Aug 30.

A group of roughly 100 people gathered Monday at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in support of demolishing the complex Oak Tree. They wore T-shirts that read “I Am the Far East side” and traveled by bus to the City-County Building.

During the hearing, the city argued that it had issued more board orders for vacancies at Oak Tree than they’d ever issued in other cases. Vacant board orders are issued when a vacant structure is considered “unsecure,” according to the city of Indianapolis. They also argued that taxpayer money was being used to send police and fire resources to the vacant buildings. 

The defense said the owners were not aware of recent code violations and asked the judge to lift a demolition order so they could sell the property. The defense also argued the owners have a buyer willing to invest more than $10 million in the property and that the buyer had signed a purchase agreement.

Theron Williams, a pastor at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, said he wants the buildings demolished: “In my opinion, this property needs to be razed. It needs to be razed now. The court left an opening for a new buyer to purchase the property before Aug. 15. If they close in the period before Aug. 15, then the property stays.”

The judge also ordered that the apartment owners get demolition permits in order. They will be responsible for demolition fees, which could cost around $1 million.