Downtown Indianapolis may soon have yet another option for apartments, but a local housing expert says supply is still nowhere close to catching up with demand
Two buyers, Ambrose Property Group and The Whitsett Group are planning to buy and remodel the Consolidated Building at 115 N. Pennsylvania St. and turn it into roughly 100 apartments with retail/restaurant space on the first floor.
If approved, the Consolidated Building would be added to a list of 32 residential projects underway in the downtown area, but according to Indianapolis Downtown Inc. there are still plenty of potential renters to go around.
The occupancy rate in the downtown area is currently 96 percent, and the demand for apartments only appears to be growing.
According to Indianapolis Downtown Inc., since 2004, the number of downtown apartment units have increased 40 percent and rental costs have risen by 28 percent, but those numbers have done nothing to slow occupancy, which has grown by 60 percent.
When Libby Wehr landed a job in downtown Indianapolis right out of grad school, she knew she wanted to move downtown. She found an apartment at the Maxwell building, and says she was lucky.
"I happened to find this right as soon as it opened up, and it just kind of fell into place as far as timing," Wehr said. "A lot of places didn't have availability until mid-September or even October."
"We've seen our numbers consistently increase, even with the downturn in the economy." said Scott Travis, with the Buckingham Corporation, which operates six apartments downtown.
"That's why you see so much building going on," said Terry Sweeney with Indianapolis Downtown Inc. "The developers are really seeing the opportunity to meet an unmet demand."
That demand is already evident at the Buckingham Corporation's new CityWay mixed-use development along South Delaware St. The first two apartment buildings won't be ready for renters until October, but all 100 units are already leased. There's also a waiting list for the remaining 150 apartments, which won't be ready until spring.
"These projects are additive," Travis said. "The demand has exceeded the surplus and will continue to. The demand is rising just as fast as the new supply comes online."
"In some ways it's an affirmation of what a vibrant downtown we have and how much people enjoy it," Sweeney said. "Whether they are coming here to work, to live more and more, or to play."
For Libby it's all of the above.
"I'm looking forward to having a social life outside of studying in the evening, so it will be nice to be close to things," Wehr said. "It's better than commuting."