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Settlement with Towne and Terrace condos ends ‘complex legal issues’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The nearly decadelong legal battle between the Indianapolis city government and the homeowners’ association for the Towne and Terrace is over.

The condominium complex is southeast of the intersection of East 42nd Street and Post Road on the city’s northeast side.

The global settlement includes three key points: the city gained voting power on the homeowners’ association board; the litigation between the two ended; and the bankruptcy case that stalled efforts to address vacant buildings was resolved.

Scarlett Andrews, director of the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, said at a Thursday news conference, “For too long, complex legal issues have held us back from improving the quality of life at this property, but today, as we have just heard, the city has more influence over the HOA (homeowners’ association) to improve conditions for neighbors.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett said a key part of the legal win is the city has a representative with voting power on the board. “To have a strong advocate and a city voice at the table, I think will help the HOA address the long-standing, larger-than-life concerns that too many of the residents of Towne and Terrace have been experiencing.”

The city owns over 100 units and will likely acquire four more by the end of the year. Jeff Bennett, Indianapolis deputy mayor of community development, said, “Those are properties that have gone through a tax sale and were unsold at tax sale so we would acquire them that way.”

The question of demolition hangs over the neighborhood. The city already took down five buildings as the legal battle unfolded but said Thursday was too soon to speculate on any future plans. Prior recommendations from a third-party legal receiver have supported some demolition.

Andrews said, “The receivers plan did lay out some of the most dangerous, from a health and safety perspective, and some of them do have demo orders on them.”

City officials said, over the next month, immediate steps will be taken at Towne and Terrace.

“That includes implementing more public safety measures like the installation of added IMPD (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) cameras and streetlights as a part of Operation Night Light,” Andrews said. “We’ve set aside $5.4 million in American Rescue Plan act funds to support community engagement, redevelopment and public safety.”