Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ivy Tech Wants To Demolish Historic Building

Ivy Tech won state and city approval for a $69 million construction project at the site of its near northside campus in Indianapolis along Fall Creek with the understanding it would preserve the historic former St. Vincent Hospital Building facing Fall Creek as you cross the bridge on Meridian Street. Now, Ivy Tech officials have presented drawings which propose to raze the historic building, along with all the surrounding buildings. This, according to the IBJ's Cory Schouten, has the Indiana Historic Landmarks Foundation in an uproar.

As with anything Ivy Tech does, politics seems to have a role in the project. Schouten notes that Ivy Tech dumped its former architect on the project, Jim Schellinger's CSO Architects, and replaced it with Schmidt Associates, a big contributor to Gov. Mitch Daniels' re-election bid.

From the outside, the old St. Vincent Hospital appears to be a real treasure and certainly a landmark building for the Fall Creek neighborhood. It really is a gateway of sorts as it stands facing the greenway along Fall Creek Parkway. Judging by the comments on Schouten's Property Lines blog, people aren't real cracked up about the proposed replacement building. Some describe it as looking like one of those suburban warehouse buildings.


Anonymous said...

While I appricate old buildings, I think sometimes we go a little too far with historic preservation. If government is going to force a company/owner to keep their property historic, then they should be responsible for the additional monies it takes to make that happen. Having to special order windows of a size and style that has been obsolete for decades is just plain stupid. Maybe we should demand that all those new cars coming onto the market with a historic look (the new mustangs, etc.) not have air bags and other current trend safety features?

History is just that, history. Use photographs, newer construction with a similar feel, but current construction practices, etc.. Historic preservation is why I think Bush Stadium will be allowed to just collapse into nothing. No one wants to buy it, fearing some judge demanding the new owner to spend millions more preserving what is left. As such, the best thing for those property owners to do now is just let these old buildings crumble away with time.

thundermutt said...

Imagine the outcry if Ivy Tech had proposed to knock down the old AUL headquarters building back in the 80's.

They knew better then, and they know better now.

If they didn't want to preserve and maintain the building, they didn't have to sign an agreement with the City and HUD that they would do so...and then it would have been someone else's headache.

Jeff said...

Interesting stuff, no worries about what you committ to in public as long as you can work a political deal in the back room. Sure seems to have been alot of that going on over the last few years.


Bart Lies said...

Now apparently gutted by scrap-metal thieves, empty and in disrepair since 2003, once distinguished by being at or near the top of 'most crime ridden place in Indy', I don't connect 'historic' with Weyerbacher Terrace. Not at all.

thundermutt said...

spook, your whole argument should have been considered by Ivy Tech before they made their agreement to preserve the building.

Since they received a significant discount on buying the building and land, their decision is appropriately subject to government oversight and control.

Whether the City will exercise oversight and control, or simply punt because it's easier to do nothing and let the building deteriorate, is another story.

I'm betting that Gary thinks this is an important story because of the whiff of backroom smoke around it.

Jon Easter said...

That old building has a lot of family history in it for me. My brother was born there in 1962. I also had a sister and a brother born there in 1964 and 1970, respectively. Neither left the hospital, passing away a few days after birth. I was born on the Northside at the new St. Vincent.

Anonymous said...

Sure seems to have been alot of that going on over the last few years.

Try century.

Unknown said...

What a shame. We seem to only know how to tear down. Why does it take such a fight to save old structures with historical value?

I detest the new style of buildings - cold, square concrete structures with very little appeal.

It seems to me it would be cheaper to retool an old building than to tear it down and build from the ground up.

Yes, new windows and other energy efficient solutions will cost, but saving historical buildings is worth the effort.

Older, historical buildings are generally found at the core of a city, and as we continue as a society in our crusade to expand ever outward, eventually, the old buildings will be gone unless protected.

Eclecticvibe said...

There's lots of history stored in old building, but lots of energy too. It took lots of energy and resources to construct the building. It would take more energy to tear it down. Then more again to buy a new building. It makes sense to reuse buildings just like most things in our life. Consumer culture has taught us to just throw things away, and buy new. In a world with limited resources and energy, I think it's best to find ways to reuse the old.

Anonymous said...

spook, your whole argument should have been considered by Ivy Tech before they made their agreement to preserve the building.

What did the agreement say about the condition of the building? Could it be that the facts were somewhat fudged to make it appear the building was in better condition than it was? Even if you buy it for just $1 doesn't mean you should have to spend an additional million (or maybe even $5,000,000) just to keep a part of history.

Yes, new windows and other energy efficient solutions will cost, but saving historical buildings is worth the effort.

Then instead of coming here and complaining, why don't you donate the first $10,000 to a preservation fund that will be given to Ivy Tech? Something tells me there is no dollar limit in your mind, as long as someone else is paying the bill.

Unknown said...

spooknp - Please.

Ivy Tech agreed to keep the building and is no breaking its promise.

People who live in historic areas voted to become historic - Woodruff Place for example.

Bush stadium sits idle because white people wanted a new stadium rather than attend baseball games in a black neighborhood. But attendance at the new stadium is less than at the old one, because parking at the new stadium is bloody inconvenient.

guy77money said...

It is a cool building I took a Autocad class down there a long time ago. The question would be how much money would it take to renovate it versus putting up a new pleasing architectural structure. That's the key in my book. The neighborhood deserves a structure that matches or exceeds the present one. Just a thought.

guy77money said...

Come on Roger are all people lazy. When I come downtown to a ball game I could care less how far I park from the stadium. The walk to the ball park is part of the charm of taking my kids to a game. Ever been to Wrigley, now that is ugly parking. Why the city can't go in and clean up the old Bush Stadium is a crime, tear it down and put in some ball fields and a monument. Lets create some ball (don't care what sport) fields and let some inner city kids have fun!