Notes from 12/06/2016 Community Meeting Regarding Coal Factory Development

Irvington United Methodist Church, 30 North Audubon Road, Indianapolis, IN

Presenters: Jarod Brown and Antone Najem, Third Street Ventures; Craig McCormick, Blackline Studios; Margaret Banning, Irvington Development Organization

Margaret Banning mentioned that several people had asked about demographics and how Irvington compares to other neighborhoods. She referred neighbors to and These tools provide lots of useful data, including this info: Irvington is the 14th most dense neighborhood in Marion County, and that’s more dense than the county at large. The median assessed value of Irvington homes is $90,000, and in the last six years, that has increased $8,700.

Regarding Section 42 tax credits awarded by IHCDA, there have been approximately 150 Section 42 tax credit projects in Indianapolis since the program began.

The handout Margaret distributed also linked to these articles and studies:

  • “Opposition to affordable housing in Tinley Park rooted in unfounded fears, experts say,” Chicago Tribune,
  • “Does Federally Subsidized Rental Housing Depress Neighborhood Property Values?,” National Housing Conference,
  • “There Doesn’t Go the Neighborhood: Low-Income Housing Has No Impact on Nearby Home Values,” Trulia,

How does Section 42 differ from other rent assistance programs, like Section 8? 

The residents who live in Section 42 units must be income and program eligible similar to residents who live in rental assistance developments. However, the rent that a Section 42 resident will pay is capped at a fixed amount and includes utilities that are the resident’s responsibility. In rental assistance programs such as Section 8, the resident’s rent is based on 30% of his/her income and the remaining adjusted portion is funded by the federal government. The Section 42 Program is not a government- subsidized rental program.

During the meeting, several neighbors mentioned how they were feeling about the proposed development. Some said they’re still anxious about the proposal and fast pace of the project, and uncertain that the residential component is right for the neighborhood. They suggested that a different type of development, such as an ice skating rink or commercial property, might be a better fit.

Other neighbors said they’re eager to move forward, especially because the property has been in such bad condition for a number of years.

Other neighbors expressed a neutral attitude and desire to hear more from the developers.

Craig McCormick reminded neighbors that while the pace of the project seems fast, there’s still a long way to go toward a finished development. He reminded neighbors that award of the tax credits won’t be announced before February. In order to give neighbors more time to provide feedback, and developers time to respond to that feedback, the next IHPC hearing has been moved to February 1st. He said it’s likely that work wouldn’t begin on the site before late 2017.

Neighbors who attended the meeting were shown two new proposals and asked for their feedback. Craig stated that although the drawings look finished, they’re simply mockups, not final.

Note: It’s important that neighbors understand that while the developers are working hard to create a product that neighbors are happy with, the plans presented in the meetings are subject to change, as almost always happens in a complex project like this when conditions in the field may dictate it.

Proposal A: This would be a brick, flat-roofed apartment building similar to many other apartment buildings in Irvington in the 1920s.

Proposal B: This apartment building has gabled roofs, more of a town home look that is somewhat consistent with surrounding homes.

Neighbors briefly discussed the merits of each.

The developers are committed to using high-quality materials, and IHPC supports that choice in any development. Although some neighbors find certain architectural styles too modern for the neighborhood, it’s important to understand that IHPC prefers work that is “of its time” and constructed with high-quality materials. IHPC doesn’t like architecture that mimics an older style. In regard to the look of this development, Craig said he thinks it’s important to consider context, scale, and rhythm.

Neighbors asked about some issues that had been discussed previously.

  • Parking: The onsite lot is likely to include 91-93 parking spaces, which is much more than the city requires. A parking variance won’t be necessary.
  • Drainage: The developers understand that neighbors oppose a retention pond. Storm water will instead be managed below ground, most likely beneath the parking lot, likely with rain gardens included on the property.
  • Aisle size: The plan includes larger drive aisles to allow for semi-truck deliveries to the Black Acre Brewing facility.
  • Fence: An 8-foot privacy fence in appropriate places on the property will prevent foot traffic to neighboring yards. However, the fence won’t screen visibility from the second floor of the apartment complex, just as a fence between existing residential neighbors wouldn’t screen visibility from two-story homes.
  • Density: High infrastructure costs associated with the site mean that building single-family homes on the site isn’t financially feasible. The previous proposal for the property required an estimated $1.5 million investment, and unfortunately the project failed because that cost doubled to $3 million. The new developers have found a way to invest $7 million, but that plan requires the proposed density.
  • Brownfield: Developers are engaging highly qualified environmental engineers and intend to follow all laws and protocols when mediating contamination on the site. Also, Irvington-based environmental consulting company Mundell & Associates owns the property adjacent to the site and was hired to work on the environmental assessment.
  • Property management: A reputable property management company will screen potential renters and ensure that residents follow all rules on the property.

Irvington Lofts, another Irvington property that was developed and managed by the same entities as the group developing this property, includes a community room that is available to residents and neighborhood community-focused organizations, but it isn’t available to businesses and individual neighbors. If a community room is included with the new building, those same rules would apply.

A neighbor asked what will happen when the tax credits expire. IHCDA establishes requirements related to expiration of the tax credits on a case by case basis.

Neighbors again mentioned infrastructure problems (flooding and water pressure issues and phone utility boxes) in the neighborhood that are unrelated to the property on Bonna. Developers acknowledged that working with utility companies can be tricky and recommended that neighbors engage a liaison who can help them work with the utility companies to resolve these issues. Neighbors agreed that they would follow up.

Some neighbors again expressed distrust of community organizations, including IDO, HICC, and “the historical society.” In response to that, another neighbor recommended that concerned neighbors attend meetings and volunteer with those organizations to get a better sense of how they work. When a neighbor mentioned she would prefer that the people representing her actually lived in Irvington, others clarified that all members of our community organizations (IDO, HICC, Irvington Historical Society, IBA, and Irvington Garden Club) live and/or work in Irvington.

Neighbors asked who profits from the new development and whether community organizations will receive payment for their support of the development. Margaret explained that IDO is a co-developer that would receive a professional fee for services if the project goes forward as was the case with the Lofts apartments and the original Coal Factory proposal. Fundraising for IDO pays for the streetlights along the business corridor and the landscape maintenance. Margaret offered to share IDO’s financial statements and budget with concerned neighbors.

A neighbor asked about the future of the site if this proposal doesn’t work out and expressed concerns about values of adjacent properties if the site remains in its current state. Margaret explained that if this proposed development falls through, IBRE (the current property owner) would continue to look for a buyer until someone sees the potential in the site and is willing and able to make the investment.

Neighbors asked for data regarding value of properties adjacent to other Section 42 developments. Margaret said she was not able to find data that showed a decrease in properties adjacent to Section 42 developments (see previously listed articles and studies).

A neighbor who is also a city planner in Hamilton County spoke in favor of the proposal. He mentioned that he is aware of multiple Section 42 developments in Hamilton County, and they work well. He’s heard that some Irvington neighbors are concerned about crime but isn’t aware of an increase in crime near Section 42 properties.

As follow-up to questions raised at or after the meeting, here is some information about Irvington Lofts, which was built with a similar codevelopment agreement and benefits from Section 42 tax credits.

  • Rents: $275 for a studio unit, $285–575 for a one-bedroom unit, and $675 for a two-bedroom unit.
  • Demographics: Leaseholders include 4 single moms (1 child each), 1 married couple, 1 roommate pairing, and 44 individuals who live alone. There are approximately 9 leaseholders in the 18–30 age range, 21 in the 31–50 age range, and 14 who are over 50.
  • Property management: Mark III manages the property and has an excellent reputation.

A third meeting to review the revised drawings will be scheduled in January, date and location to be determined.

For more information, contact Antone Najem, or Margaret Banning, 317-260-0669,



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This document includes 1) Notes from the Nov 15 Community Meeting re: the Coal Factory redevelopment and 2) Additional facts on the the Coal Factory development.

Notes from 11/15/2016 Community Meeting Regarding Coal Factory Development

Irvington Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall, 55 Johnson Avenue, Indianapolis, IN

Presenters: Jarod Brown and Antone Najem, Third Street Ventures; Craig McCormick, Blackline Studios

  • Jarod thanked everyone for attending. “We’re working diligently to create a property that everyone can be happy with.”
  • Jarod acknowledged previously mentioned neighbor concerns, including parking, population density, lighting, and screening. With those concerns in mind, Third Street is revisting and reworking the proposed plans.
  • Regarding the process for gaining the necessary approvals through IHPC, Jarod noted that only the zoning variance has been approved. IHPC will hear additional items in January or later if necessary. (Update: the IHPC will hear the petition February1, 2017.)
  • Third Street has submitted the application for the Section 42 Tax Credits through Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA). They applied for this funding to open up the most sources of funding to produce the best-quality product. Awards will be announced in late February.
  • If that funding is denied, Third Street does intend to explore going forward with the development. There are other potential sources of funding.
  • In regard to the number of units on the property, there are some requirements attached to the tax credit funding, with some wiggle room. Third Street would need to stay close to the proposal they submitted to IHCDA, so likely the property would end up with 45-55 units.
  • In regard to the brownfield issues on the property, John Mundell of Mundell & Associates confirmed that he has conducted an environmental assessment and determined that the property may be appropriate for residential with some remediation, but that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has the final say. Antone confirmed that Third Street is working hand in hand with state agencies to meet or exceed their requirements.
  • A neighbor asked about asbestos that might be on the property and how the development team would handle it. Third Street assured neighbors that if the assessment shows that there is asbestos on the property, they will hire the appropriate professional services to mitigate it properly in accordance with regulations.
  • Craig McCormick acknowledged neighbors’ concerns about the timing issue regarding the zoning variance. He explained that it was necessary to obtain approval to rezone the property because the application for tax credits from IHCDA required it.
  • Craig presented a proposed site design, created with neighbors’ concerns in mind. The new design includes 45 residential units, commercial space, additional parking (90 spaces onsite; 10’ x 20’), and oversized drive aisles to accommodate delivery trucks. Third Street and Blackline are also looking into installing a bioswale (similar to a rain garden) in place of the previously proposed retention pond. They’re also looking into the potential for some type of community garden space. With this proposal, no parking variance is required.
  • Depending on funding, the market, and other factors, the residential space would include mostly 1-bedroom apartments, some studios, and possibly some 2-bedroom apartments.
  • The developers have not yet engaged a civil engineer, so some matters regarding the site can’t be answered at this time.
  • In regard to neighbors’ concerns about the existing drainage issues, the developers expect their efforts to improve the drainage issues throughout the area.
  • Current neighbors report issues with water pressure. As required for any new development, they will have pressure testing done before construction. The developers mentioned that tap fees will cost approximately $2,300 per unit.
  • The tax credits program caps the tenants’ income at approximately $28,000 per year for a single resident. If two people reside in a unit, the income cap is raised to about $36,000 per year combined.
  • The rent per unit will be close to the current market rate in the area. Size of the units is to be determined, but rent for a studio apartment is expected to be approximately $300 and a 2-bedroom apartment would rent for somewhere near $600.
  • Jewel, a resident of the Lofts, spoke. She works for a not-for-profit in Irvington, and helps people with disabilities. She sometimes tries to place clients in the Lofts. She likes living in the Lofts. Speaking to neighbors’ concerns about income caps residents of the proposed development, she stated, “Just because someone makes a lower income doesn’t make them a lower-quality person.”
  • An attendee commented that there were already too many affordable apartments in Irvington. Margaret reported that the only other apartments in Irv with any government subsidy were the Lofts and the Mission Apartments. All the other apartment buildings in the neighborhood are considered market rate, which means they charge as much rent as the market is willing to pay.
  • The developers are still considering feedback regarding the architectural style of the development and will present two options at the next meeting. IHPC discourages designs that mimic older styles. They support architecture that is the best of its era and push developers to raise the standards of new construction. Also, the architect is considering making the ground floor units open directly to the outside of the building.
  • Developers are still working out the details of what type of privacy screening and landscaping the property will include. An 8-foot-privacy fence was requested by a neighbor.
  • The site contains serious and costly infrastructure drainage issues. The tax credits are a preferred financing mechanism because they can lower the cost of financing so that developers can also deliver a high-quality product. They mentioned that these factors impacted the previously proposed development which led to their inability to proceed given their budget.
  • Some neighbors again expressed concerns about property values and asked why the developers wouldn’t instead build higher-rent apartments or townhomes. The developers responded that the numbers (cost of construction vs. the rent rates they could charge given the Irvington market) don’t work out for that.
  • The developers mentioned that they expect $2 million in expenses to clean up the site, install the utilities, mitigate the drainage issues, and grade and pave the parking lots.
  • Neighbors asked about IDO’s financial stake as a co-developer. The response was that it’s too early in the process for a dollar figure of what IDO would earn, but that if IDO proceeded as a co-developer, yes they would receive a fee for their services. Someone else asked how IDO is funded. The response was with fundraisers and memberships and previous fees for professional services (as with the Lofts development). Someone else mentioned kickbacks and a conflict of interest. Someone explained that this is how community development nonprofits are funded; across the nation it’s done this way.
  • There was discussion about what types of people might live at the new apartments, such as artists, teachers, and waitresses.
  • Another Lofts resident, Diana who is a retiree, spoke. She was the third resident to move into the Lofts when it was completed three years ago. She wanted to live there because she had two home-owning daughters in the neighborhood, and she wanted to be near her grandchildren. She intended to live at the Lofts as long as she could. She said she had not expected to be living on a limited income when she retired, but was very happy to have a quiet, safe, and attractive home.
  • There was a request for the property to be beautiful and perhaps include some sort of “Welcome to Irvington” sculpture along the Pennsy. The developers said they are in favor of that idea.
  • What is the future of Coal Yard Coffee? Michelle said that she plans to stick with Third Street Ventures, that she trusts them and will continue to talk with them about an opportunity for CYC to be included in this new space.
  • Someone asked if credit checks and background checks for potential residents will be conducted, and the answer is yes, an extensive background, including criminal, was done before anyone could lease an apartment.
  • Is there a demand for affordable income housing? Yes. There’s a long waiting list for the Lofts without any advertising or marketing. Many of the Lofts residents work in Irvington businesses making it desirable.

Next meeting:

December 6, 2016

at the Irvington United Methodist Church,

30 N. Audubon Rd.


Irvington Development Organization and the Coal Factory Development Fact Sheet


On Monday, October 24, 2016, the board of the Irvington Development Organization (IDO) – made up of neighbors like you – voted unanimously to approve a resolution to join Third Street Ventures LLC (Third Street) as co-developers of the Coal Factory property at 5543 Bonna Avenue. This is in keeping with IDO’s mission to promote positive growth and development in Irvington. To explain the reasoning and the history of events so far, here’s some background and a summary of events:

  • The current Coal Factory plan is, unfortunately, not going to happen. The current owner Irvington Brewing Real Estate LLC (IBRE) faces expenses nearly double the original budget. This is due to unexpected complications developing the property, installing utilities, etc. IBRE has agreed to sell the property to Third Street.
  • The plan put forth by our co-developer, Third Street, proposes a be mixed-use development: apartment units, limited new commercial space, and some of the existing artisan production and studio uses.
  • The proposed development is in line with the Neighborhood Plan, which recommends that this land be developed for residential use.
  • At its October meeting, the Historic Irvington Community Council (HICC) – elected representatives from the neighborhood – voted to support Third Street’s proposal to rezone this area to include residential, with the stated recognition that issues and concerns still needed to be addressed by the developer with the neighbors.
  • IDO co-developed the Irvington Lofts apartment complex, at 5855 East Washington Street, with one of the partners in Third Street. The Lofts development has proven to be a successful project, and we believe these same partners have the expertise needed to help the Bonna Avenue project succeed as well.
  • The residents of the apartments will have low to moderate incomes compared to the median incomes of the area. That means:
    • A single resident can’t make more than about $28,000 a year. That number goes up as the household size increases.
    • For comparison purposes, at least 25% of current Irvington neighbors earn incomes comparable to that amount and could qualify to live there.
    • Much like your neighbors living at the Lofts, residents of these apartments are likely to include a mix of retirees, local business employees, artists, people working for nonprofits, recent graduates, and others with limited incomes.
  • The proposed development meets a need for quality, affordable rental housing in the area. There is up to a two-year waiting list for the Lofts apartments.
  • The same company that manages the Irvington Lofts, Mark III Property Management, will also manage the Coal Factory Flats. They manage 12 market rate and affordable properties in Indianapolis. They are a local company with 20 years of experience in apartment management. The criteria for screening and keeping tenants is the same or higher for the affordable apartments. Both screen for criminal, credit, and rental histories. Affordable properties are subject to inspections and audits by HUD and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Mark III reports a very low turnover rate for the Lofts apartments, resulting in the long wait list. When tenants do move out, very little maintenance is needed to prepare them for the next tenant.
  • Since the Lofts have been built, a number of additional positive projects have been refurbished or are being developed in the area. The doctors’ office next door was rebuilt and two houses across the street were sold and are being restored. One is now on the market again for $200,000, and the other will soon open as a bakery. The apartments to the east and two across the street were recently sold and are being renovated for market rate units. The Irvington Office building is being converted to market rate apartments. While the apartments were being built, a home immediately to the west of the Lofts was sold within a week for more than the asking price. Far from dampening property values around the Lofts, the construction has helped to spur additional investment and improvements.
  • IDO and Third Street recognize that there are concerns about parking near the development. Because we live here too and care about the impact of any changes to the current residents and businesses, we share that concern. We’re committed to finding workable solutions.
  • By joining the project, we ensure that Irvington neighbors have a say in the development of this key piece of real estate.
  • We’re excited to bring new residents to Irvington! These folks, like you, will help support our neighborhood businesses. IDO’s mission is to lead the charge for positive new growth in Irvington. Providing safe, quality, well-maintained housing opportunities for new residents is key to growing our vibrant, diverse neighborhood.
  • The proposed rezoning is to be heard by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on November 2. The application for the tax credits, the funding mechanism to make the apartment rents affordable, is due November 7 with award announcements in late February. The plan is to continue meeting with the neighbors and stakeholders in the interim to refine the design and site layout.
  • For more information, contact and


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 donate to IDO or become a member click here.


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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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Have you read about Irvington in the news lately? How could you miss us – we’ve been everywhere!  Here are a few highlights over the last few weeks:


Irvington and the near eastside came in as BIG winners on the 2013 Indy A-List. Read the full article and check out our eastside biz winners below!


First Place Winners Additional Winners
Manley’s Irish Mutt Tie Dye Grill
Black Acre Brewing Garci’s Hot Dog
Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza Little Green Bean Boutique
Steer In Hart Bakery
Roscoes Tacos Irvington Wellness Center
Indy Cycle Specialist Oriental Inn
Homespun Modern Handmade His Place Eatery
Audrey’s Place Papa Roux
Custom Creations in Glass
Black Sheep
Irvington Farmer’s Market


Former Irv Post Office

Photo courtesy of Anne Moore

Preservation Efforts Earn Federal Funding – Inside Indiana Business

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has awarded nearly $340,000 in federal funds to historic preservation and archaeology initiatives throughout the state. The money, divided among nine organizations.

Indianapolis: Irvington Development Organization received a $50,000 grant to stabilize and rehabilitate the Irvington Post Office. Contact: Margaret Banning, Irvington Development Organization, (317) 260-0669.


Photo courtesy of Jason Hathaway



Maria Dufour reinvigorates namesake cafe – IndyStar

It’s this “come on in, we don’t know a stranger” vibe that has established Dufour’s as an east-side staple for breakfast, lunch and lingering conversations over cappuccinos and espressos. And that’s exactly the kind of atmosphere Maria Dufour and her sister, Bernadette Dufour Lathrop, hoped to achieve when they first started the business 15 years ago. Full story




Irvington Apartment Project Entering Second Phase – Indianapolis Business Journal
Investors with ties to Meyer-Najem Construction Co. are partnering with the not-for-profit Irvington Development Organization to  build 50 one- and two-bedroom apartments at the site of the former Indy East Motel at 5855 E. Washington St. Full Story



An Indy Neighborhood: 12 Ways To Discover Historic Irvington – Doing IndyDoing Indy Logo
Located just five miles from Indy’s Monument Circle, Irvington is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Home to great dining and shops, this historic neighborhood is unbeatable. With a streetscape project complete, Irvington is more beautiful and visitor friendly than ever before. And for full disclosure, it’s also the place I call home. Full story




image courtesy of Holly Apeel & Dave Combs

image courtesy of Holly Apeel & Dave Combs

Irvington Connection in Huffington Post
Irvington residents, Holly Apeel and Dave Combs are on AOL Huffington Post’s Influencers and Innovation talking about Ban Comic Sans.





Want to be a part of the positive happenings in Irvington? Become an IDO member for as little as $25!  Find out more about IDO on Facebook and Twitter or visit our website!


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Ever noticed the cool historic signage around Irvington? There’s the Victoria, the Jeffers, the Muriel and of course others you would instantly recognize like the Irving! Irvington has these and a number of other inscribed and architecturally integrated signage along East Washington St.  According to the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC), “a sign is considered historic if it is at least 50 years old and retains significant original integrity to provide a record of the building’s original use and/or the area’s history.”  We found an interesting document that includes the remaining historic Irvington signage in the area along with an inventory of the sign locations.  The document includes additional tidbits on the history of Irvington and can be found here


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Interesting findings in the just released “Great Neighborhoods Great City” report from the Goldseker Foundation. The focus of this research is on Baltimore but includes many great points that Indianapolis and our local neighborhoods can learn from. This quote reminded us of the pride many of us have in our Indianapolis neighborhoods: “One of the charms of Baltimore is the diversity of its neighborhoods and the affection residents feel for their particular communities.”

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