The fate of a historic Indianapolis apartment building is unknown. The 1920s Drake building stands eight stories tall on the campus of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The building received historic designation last year but the museum is now challenging that move.
In a written statement the museum said the building, which has been vacant since 2016, does not align with museum plans and would be a financial burden for the foreseeable future.
A historic preservation commission approved the proposal in 2019 and the Department of Metropolitan Development, DMD, made it official in December of last year. The museum contends it did not receive proper participation in the process.
A historic designation means the building must be preserved.
Right before the pandemic, the city of Indianapolis announced it was working with the Children’s Museum and put out a request to assess redevelopment ideas. Out of that came only one viable option. The city has not made that proposal public, but early suggestions included affordable housing or a hotel.
DMD Chief Communications Officer Andrea Watts said in a written statement that the department was aware of the complaint.
“The Department of Metropolitan Development is still finishing due diligence related to the museum’s stated conditions for redevelopment of the property," Watts said.
In its statement the museum said it wants to see the historic designation removed so it can continue talks with the city about plans for the property without the Drake building. It also emphasized its interest in historic preservation, pointing to the historic Schnull-Rauch house that it has owned since 2009.
The museum purchased the Drake property in 2012 for $1.25 million. At the time there was no historic designation in place.