For Immediate Release: Friday, April 4, 2014                            

Media Contact:  Margaret Lawrence Banning, 317/260-0669

New commercial development planned for Irvington

City support for ‘Coal Factory’ in South Irvington jumpstarts project

(Indianapolis, IN)

The Irvington Development Organization (IDO) announced today that it has secured a $500,000 grant from the City of Indianapolis to jumpstart an eclectic retail development south of Washington Street that will be known as the Coal Factory.

The Coal Factory encompasses 50,000 square-feet of property bounded by Bonna Avenue to the north and Ritter Ave to the west.  The new development will be anchored by Black Acre Brewing Company’s new brewing facility, and will include a mix of restaurants, retail, artisan food production, art and entertainment offerings, and shared office space.

The area is part of Irvington’s original downtown, where a rail depot at the northeast corner of Bonna Avenue and Audubon Road was the hub of a thriving commercial district.  The Coal Factory was once Irvington’s actual coal yard, which was served by a rail spur that came off the main railroad line.

IDO applied for and secured the grant, which is from Community Development Block Grant funds.  IDO is partnering with Irvington Brewing Real Estate, LLC to acquire and develop the site.  Irvington Brewing Real Estate, LLC will serve as the owner and manager of the site and will be responsible for the build out and leasing of  the property.

“In recent years, our neighborhood has launched several redevelopment projects, and the Coal Factory has the potential to transform the southern part of Irvington,” said Margaret Lawrence Banning, executive director of IDO.  “We are grateful to the City for recognizing the assets in our historic neighborhood that will support this kind of development: our dense housing, our accessibility to downtown and our connectivity to our neighbors.  But for also recognizing the need to jump start the development which we are confident will spur future investments in Irvington.”

The Pennsy Trail will front the Coal Factory on the north side of Bonna Ave.  Slated for completion this fall, this one block stretch is the only area where the trail will front commercial development, as the remainder of the trail goes through back yards and behind buildings.

“This is yet another example of the public/private partnerships for which Indianapolis has become known,” said Department of Metropolitan Development Director Adam Thies. “It is this kind of cooperation that is also an example of how government can stimulate job creation, redevelopment and reuse of distressed properties.”

Elements of the Coal Factory will require approval from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, including zoning and exterior building improvements.  The Commission will hear the project’s petition at its May 7, 2014 meeting.

The Coal Factory construction is slated for completion by December 2014.

About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

To learn more about the Irvington Development Organization, please visit www.irvingtondevelopment.org 

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Guest writer: William Gulde:
Historic postcard image: Courtesy of Carol Orbison and the Irvington Historical Society; Washington Street image: Old National Road with view of Trolley rails. Photo cred: Paul Diebold, Irvington Historical Society: 

This article generated a good deal of interest when it was initially posted on the blog, Vintage Irvington, so we thought it a good idea to repost it here with permission from its author. Fellow Irvingtonian, Bill Gulde, created Vintage Irvington to document the historical (or sometimes forgotten) aspects of our neighborhood and provide us with a step back in time to Irvington’s early days. We hope you’ll enjoy your stroll down old time Indy’s East Washington Street!

A Stroll Down East Washington Street in 1910

Please dress accordingly.  Men, you are to wear a jacket and tie.  Ladies, please put on your long dress and your finest hat as we are going to take a walk along East Washington Street and I don’t want any of you scandalizing our community.  Formality is the rule of the day.  I will be giving you a tour so please try to keep up.  There will be time for shopping later.

5420 to 5502 East Washington Street c1910

Our tour begins in front of the Irvington Post Office at 5502 East Washington Street.  You will note that it is a very fine modern building. More letters come in and out of this building than just about any other in the city. Many of those notes are from college students likely asking for more money from their families. George Russell (60 North Ritter Avenue) is our postal clerk.  He is a man who wears many hats.  Men, if you are looking to buy real estate in our fair community then dash upstairs and have a visit with Mr. Russell.  Ladies, you will note that Mr. Russell also sells school supplies.  Some people say that Mr. Russell is the unofficial mayor of our fair suburb.  If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact him.

Irvington Post Office at 5502 East Washington Street c1910

We shall now cross Ritter Avenue and head west.  You will note that the streetcar tracks are in the middle of Washington Street and are relatively


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Guest writer: Tricia Hayes

One little card can do a lot of good for Irvington! Use this card to pay for your groceries or gas at Kroger, and they will donate 3% of each purchase to IDO. Just put money on the card at the store office before you check out, and then use the card to pay.  It’s simple!  And it costs you only a little bit of extra time. 

The best part? Each card comes already loaded with $5.  That’s free groceries for you!  Help IDO continue its mission to make Irvington a better place to live, work, and play. Contact Margaret Banning to get your card today!


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Guest writers: Vishant Shah and Nancy Larner Ruschman:
Photo cred: 3one7 Photography

Irvington Development Organization is partnering with IndyGo and others to sponsor a series of events called “Magic #8 Bus”. These events are focused on (mostly) family-friendly, affordable outings to cultural, arts and sporting events. Our first event will kick off with a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day by visiting McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn, a long-time Indianapolis institution for St. Paddy’s Day revelers – and it’s their 80th anniversary this year so you know the party will be extra special! You will ride the bus – a ten minute trip – have a few beverages and listen to some rockin’ live Irish music. Don’t worry about


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We want to hear your voice…

Many of you recall the evening of November 17th when the former Historic Irvington Post Office crumbled to the ground during a severe storm carrying near-tornadic winds. The bricks and debris have now been cleared and it’s time to talk next steps.

Ruschman PO Collapse - 2

We’re asking you to join the Irvington Development Organization and the Irvington Historical Society for a community input session on ways we might develop the northeast corner of Washington and Ritter. We want to hear YOUR creative (yet viable!) ideas. If you can’t make it,


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