January 23, 2023

Historic Drake building moves one step closer to redevelopment

The Drake sits vacant, next door to the Children’s Museum.  - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

The Drake sits vacant, next door to the Children’s Museum.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

The long quest to redevelop a historic apartment building on the near northside is one step closer to a resolution.

The Metropolitan Development Commission recently voted to approve the purchase of the Drake, a 1920s apartment building.

The eight-story structure is owned by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and sits on its campus, perched atop Meridian Street.

The city and the museum have been in a legal fight over the property, which has sat vacant since 2016.  The museum challenged a historic designation given to the building in 2020 but negotiations appear to be nearing an end. The lawsuit will be resolved with an agreement between the city and the museum.

A purchase price has not been announced, but last year the Department of Metropolitan Development, DMD, requested more than $2 million to buy the Drake and other potential properties on the North Meridian corridor for affordable workforce housing.

DMD Interim Director Rusty Carr said reuse will be based on the funding source that’s used to acquire the building.

“But we would be hard pressed to find a better use than affordable housing or housing on some level and rehabilitate this previously beautiful apartment building,” Carr said.

The city has long wanted to acquire the building right along the Red Line to increase transit-oriented development projects, which include housing.

A request for proposals is likely to follow after the agreement is finished.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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