Irvington Post Office Update: June 29 2015
A lot has been happening with our lot at the corner of Ritter and Washington though it may not look it.
Just to recap, the Irvington Development Organization and the Irvington Historical Society partnered together to buy the former Irvington Post Office in late 2012. We were in the process of rehabilitating the building when it fell down in a storm in November 2013. The building was insured, but we still owe our lenders, Citizen’s Energy Group and the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), for the mortgage and a construction loan. We created an approval process and criteria by which to evaluate any prospective purchasers in order to have a transparent and equitable method to consider offers.
The committee that is charged with administering the property is made up of representatives from both organizations. Their priority has been to find a buyer who will construct a building on the site in order to restore the urban edge at this critical gateway to our business district and bring additional retail options. This will help create a deeper critical mass of shopping and activity in our district.
We have been trying to market the site through word of mouth and have had some nibbles so far. However, in order to increase our chances for finding the right buyer who will create the highest and best use for the neighborhood, we have proposed a plan to our lenders, which they have approved, and are more aggressively promoting the site through a number of initiatives.
First we hired Deb Kent, a neighborhood realtor, who responded to our call-out to Irvington real estate agents. She has listed the property on a number of real estate sites and is fielding inquiries. We installed a huge sign on the lot (if you haven’t noticed).
Then we hired architects, Mike Halstead and Jennifer Lofton of Halstead Architects, to create some conceptual renderings of what could be on the site.
After the building fell down and it was just a gravel lot, it seemed to shrink in size. It was difficult to remember that there had ever been a building there and to imagine that one could ever be there again. In order to help spark that imagination of what opportunities there were, Mike and Jennifer drafted some preliminary drawings of a feasible structure on that footprint.
This is not to say that this building is going to go there or should go there, but might go there, could go there. Psychologically, after seeing the renderings, it’s easier to realize that this little “postage-sized” lot could once again hold a substantial building.
This is no way addresses all the challenges that this site possesses, but we are trying to prepare for some of the hurdles that lie ahead. We presented the drawings to the neighborhood at a well publicized meeting of the Historical Irvington Community Council on June 23, 2015. Those in attendance enthusiastically reacted to the images. Not only did they admire Halstead’s designs, they become optimistic about the potential for the corner.
We also showed the renderings to staff from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. We did not present it for approval, just to get feedback, and it was well received. Meg Purnsley, Principle Architectural Reviewer, thought something like this, with similar scale and massing, could be favorably received by the commission. She also gave some guidance on addressing potential issues that may arise when trying to develop the site.
We will also be sharing the designs with the city’s Departments of Public Works and Code Enforcement to try to foresee any issues that a developer would encounter and resolve them as much as possible beforehand.
Momentum is building for the humble little corner and we are already receiving serious inquiries about the site. With the imminent completion of the Pennsy Trail alongside, we are hoping more prospective purchasers will see the potential and we’ll find the right fit for the old Post Office and Irvington.
For more information, please contact Margaret Lawrence Banning at email@example.com or call 317-260-0669.
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.
Post Office Update: November 18, 2013
After the unfortunate collapse of the former Historic Irvington Post Office during a November 17th storm, we will be seeking input on the future of this property with the intent of developing it into a vibrant space in the near future. The input meeting is scheduled for January 21 at the Irvington Presbyterian Church, 55 Johnson Ave. at 6:00pm. This meeting is open to the public, please spread the word!
More information on the collapse of this unique building can be found on our blog.