Developers from across the country converged on Indianapolis Tuesday to share ideas on what to do with the Old City Hall building at Alabama and Ohio streets.
Indianapolis is hosting the National Preservation Conference for the first time.
About 90 people are focusing on how to fill the Old City Hall which has been vacant since 2010.
"The local people can help shape the discussion as to what has been done here in the past, what is the local economy like, what is the housing demand, that people from elsewhere in the country wouldn't understand," said Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis. "And, the advantage of having folks from out of town come in is that they may have totally fresh ideas and they have not had the 'been there, done that' experience that some of the locals have. So, it's a good combination."
Four groups looked at different options for the facility including commercial, non-profit, civic and residential-hotel possibilities.
Davis says not only are ideas important, but the group is working on how to fund them.
"The minds that are gathered here - these are people who develop difficult, historic properties all across American," said Davis. "I doubt that we will ever have this kind of gathering again in Indianapolis, so if this group can't figure it out, then there is not a very likely solution out there on the horizon."
Previous plans and proposals never materialized, but facilitator Tony Costello says this type of event is a unique opportunity.
"I don't think we have ever assembled the kind of expertise that we had here, (Tuesday)," said Costello. "I think what is going to come out of this charrette is somewhat more realistic assessment of what this building may become in the future."
Davis says the ideas will be presented to the city for leaders to consider.