Old City Hall ready for renovation

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After years of sitting vacant, while serving as temporary space to others, work crews will now renovate the old City Hall building in downtown Indianapolis for a new purpose.

The building was built more than 100 years ago and has been many things to many people over the years. Now, after a period of closure, it is undergoing a rebirth - a mini-renovation. One half of the building will house meeting areas and spaces that will serve as a gallery to display artwork and plans for the city.

Work started Monday on the other side of the building to renovate a space that will be home to some of the city planners. Contractors are patching up the walls, prepping theme for a fresh coat of paint and for the first time in decades, several of the building's windows will be opened up to let in natural light.

"Ultimately, this work just lets us inhabit it for a period of time until we do have a long-term user. It is a very special, grand building that I think this gives it a new start on its life and is part of an evolution that will occur in figuring out what it's long-term life will be," said Adam Thies, Department of Metropolitan Development.

There's no doubt the architecture, design and materials used in the building are part of what give it its class. That's why the city has hired the People for Urban Progress to incorporate some of the materials into the new design for the renovation.

"It's a lot of scouring the building and finding things that were removed for whatever reason. We found some old door frames that we're pulling out. We found an amazing old safe that we're hoping to use as a podium," said Michael Bricker, People for Urban Progress. "There's just a lot of history throughout the building tucked in corners and it's been moved around so many different times and we're hoping to bring it out so it can see the light of day again."

Outside, there are also signs of work as scaffolding goes up and crews plan to start pulling out the bricks on the outside of those windows so that light can shine through. It's a renovation that's estimated to cost about $150,000. The transformation should be completed in the next four weeks.