The 1234 of Transforming Neighborhoods

August 28, 2018

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Milhaus was founded on the very idea that building developments is about more than just the building itself. It’s about community. It’s about helping people live in places they may not have been able to before. And it’s about helping a community to flourish and grow.

Development activity at one of the company’s mixed-use projects at 1234 Prospect St. in Indianapolis is a great example of this corporate philosophy brought to life. The 1.3-acre property in the Fountain Square neighborhood is located at Olive and Prospect Streets. Milhaus purchased the land in two parcels: a 1900-built single family home and a shuttered funeral home building.

“It’d be easy to come in and simply demolish the structures to make way for this new project. As we did our research through due diligence and the permitting processes, we learned a lot about the property and discovered some untapped needs we could fill in our community,” says Jake Dietrich, Milhaus director of development.

It turns out the home was the Indiana School of Music in the 1920s. “The Indiana Landmarks Foundation shared the home’s history and we agreed it needed to be saved. A couple in the neighborhood had admired it for years and decided they wanted to save it,” says Dietrich.

That save involved more than a typical home purchase. Paul and Suzanne Dijak-Robinson literally had the home moved from 1218 Prospect St. to 1218 Evison St., about five blocks away. The couple is working to restore the six bedroom, one and a half bath home, which includes original hardwood floors, original woodwork, raised ceilings, dual fireplaces and a beautiful front porch. “There are many great houses in Fountain Square, but this one had something special that attracted us,” said Paul Dijak-Robinson.

Historical Home on Wheels

“Here’s what’s great about this project. The couple thought owning this home was only a pipedream. They now own and are saving a historic home. Something they didn’t think was possible,” says Dietrich. 

The team also learned about another need they were able to fill during this development project’s prep: IMPD SWAT and the Indianapolis Fire Department needed a place to train. “The adjacent, empty building was a perfect location prior to being demoed,” says Ray Eggleton, site superintendent for the Prospect Street project.

The teams used the buildings for a few weeks to run various training scenarios. “The building had great training value for the fire department and police SWAT team,” says Klinton Streeter, the IMPD patrolman, who helped coordinate the training opportunity. “We can’t say thank you enough to Milhaus for the opportunity we were given to use the facility. Even with as much development that continuously happens in Indy, these opportunities are few and far between for us and are extremely beneficial.”

While the new development that will include 118 apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail has yet to break ground, it’s already become more than just a building. A couple now has the home the Fountain Square home they thought was unattainable and our IMPD and IFD teams had training opportunities that will help them protect and serve our community.