Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Center Township Trustee Selling Off Drummer's Real Estate Portfolio

Whether it's by deliberate design or happenstance, Center Township Trustee William Douglas has been taking steps to unload the more than $10 million real estate portfolio accumulated by former Trustee Carl Drummer, who resigned awhile back to become an Ice Miller lobbyist. Not surprisingly, Drummer's law firm is still making all kinds of money billing the Trustee's office for legal work. The IBJ's Cory Schouten reports on efforts by Douglas to sell off the Fall Creek YMCA, which Drummer foolishly purchased in 2004 for $1.5 million and converted to a private health club called Healthplex, which is now closed. Schouten reports:

The owner of the vacant former Fall Creek YMCA along West 10th Street in Indianapolis is seeking bidders interested in tearing down the building and redeveloping the prime 2-acre site.

Center Township bought the property in 2004, a year after the YMCA closed its branch. It most recently served as a fitness center called Healthplex operated by the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, but the facility closed earlier this year when revenue came up short.

The Center Township Trustee’s Office is looking for a developer interested in a long-term lease with an option to buy the property at 860 W. 10th St., according to a bid packet. The township wants a mixed-use development supporting the Indiana Avenue Cultural District and nearby IUPUI and hospital campuses. The deal would come with a restriction against freestanding fast-food restaurants.

The materials suggest a minimum annual rent of $210,250 for the first five years of a 15-year lease, with two 15-year options, and a minimum ultimate purchase price of $2.9 million. The tenant would pay all expenses.

Five potential buyers have picked up packets so far, said Phillip L. Bayt, a partner at local law firm Ice Miller LLP who represents the township. Bids will be accepted from Nov. 6 to Dec. 4. Township officials would then listen to presentations from two finalists.

Bids will be evaluated based on price, financial strength and experience of the bidder, and the proposed development’s impact on the neighborhood. Market observers say student or senior housing likely would be a component of any development plan.

The former YMCA is one of several land holdings amassed by former Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer. Critics assailed the strategy as divergent from the office’s primary responsibility for poor relief.
Schouten's story notes a recent deal the Trustee's office entered into with Riley Area Development Corporation to redevelop the old workforce building on 875 Massachusetts Avenue, another building that has sat vacant for years. That plan, by the way, is sparking criticsm from some Mass Avenue business owners who are upset about the lack of off-street parking being offered for the new apartment building/retail proposed at the site.

Speaking of Healthplex, did anyone else notice that the downtown location is one of the satellite voting centers for early voting for the November 3 special election? It's conveniently located across the street from Wishard Hospital so that people getting their free health care at taxpayers expense and HHC workers and visitors can be directed over to Healthplex to vote. It's obvious what is going on here. People can already vote early at the Clerk's Office in the City-County Building. The only reason to locate that satellite voting center at the Healthplex is to make it easy for people who don't pay property taxes or who make a living working for HHC to cast their votes to raise your property taxes. The Health & Hospital Corporation is shameless in the tactics it is employing to win this referendum election. One person who stood in line for a vaccination against the swine flu this past week tells me that workers were allowed to provide advocacy materials urging passage of the referendum while people waited in line to get a flu shot.


artfuggins said...

I find your comments elitist. The city county building is only convenient for those who work downtown. Otherwise it is a major expense to pay to park. There is something wrong about having to pay to park in order to vote. Perhaps the Senior Citizen Center should charge voters to park while voting in your precinct.

Advance Indiana said...

I knew we could count on a snarky comment from art/wilson. Who are the elitists here? What about the folks who hatched this deal two years ago in secret, snuck into the state budget bill, carved out a special law that avoided having to disclose to voters what they really planned to do--levy new property taxes to build the new hospital, force a special election at a cost to taxpayers of $1.25 million, lie to the public about their true intentions, use revenues derived from a scam on the federal government to support this endeavor, use taxpayer resources to promote their referendum and the list goes on. You're as bad as Steve Nicewanger, a Democratic activist who called Carl Moldthan a maggott and me a Nazi because we opposed the Wishard referendum. Now it's the hard-working, honest taxpayers who provide information to the public for free as a matter of civic virtue who are the bad guys. We're suppose to believe that people who plot to undermine the democratic process are the good guys?

Downtown Indy said...

I wasn't aware voting location around the county with free parking weren't going to be available on Tuesday.

Not only that, I was under the impression all those poor folks who'd be burdened with that 'major expense' don't drive and that was the argument against the other 'major expense' of getting a state-issued ID from the BMV.


It is not a major expense to pay to park. It costs a quarter to park for 20 minutes.

A major expense is your property tax bill.

artfuggins said...

Downtown Indy, you are a day late and a dollar short. The discussion regarded early voting in the City County Building. Several downtown voting sites require paying the parking meters but the city overlooks that on election day but it has never been made an official no pay day.