Indianapolis east side neighborhood to get new housing complex

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An apartment complex condemned by the health department will soon be replaced with a new development expected to help transform the area.

Gary Hobbs with Black and White Investments, LLC, bought the former Arlington Palms Apartments on Staughton Drive near Arlington Avenue and 46th Street in 2011.

Hobbs plans to demolish the four run down, boarded-up buildings and replace them with First Devington, an affordable housing complex aimed at seniors.

"It's beyond the housing," Hobbs said. "It's about the impact on the community as well."

He said the property "just had a lot of bad history, a lot of crime, a lot of drugs in the area and I have a passion to transform the area."

Julia Taylor who lives across the street in another senior development Hobbs built, said of the new plans, "I think it would be wonderful, I can't wait. I just hope I'm here long enough, praise the Lord...and this place needs to be brought up, the whole area."

Allie Taylor (unrelated), who moved into a nearby house, last fall, agreed.

Referring to the Arlington Palms, she said, "It's an eyesore. I used to live here years ago and it was a bad neighborhood."

It wasn't just the crime. The complex also had problems with mold, raw sewage and rodents.

Conditions were so bad the Marion County Health Department shut down the Arlington Palms Apartments in October 2009, forcing residents to find new places to live.

What Hobbs sees there now is the chance to provide quality housing for seniors. The blueprint calls for a modern, three-story, 48-unit building.

Hobbs said it will include an exercise pool, outdoor pavilions and a walking trail around the property.

"There's a big need for (senior housing) and I think this is a huge opportunity to make an impact on people's lives," he said.

Hobbs also thinks the new complex will "stimulate more investment and give people a sense of pride in the area."

Will Marquez, a principal at w/purpose, a design firm, lives adjacent to the complex. He has a stake in Hobbs plans as a neighbor and the owner's rep on design.

He said of the project, "What it means is a healthier environment. It means the city is pitching in. There's a bigger development strategy. It's repaving roads and getting new lights. It's just a different type of aesthetic for a place that hasn't been well-maintained."

Hobbs hopes to begin demolition this spring and break ground on the new building in the summer. He puts the investment at $5.5 million.

Allie Taylor is eager for construction to begin.

"It's going to be great, make this area alive again," she said. "And it should make property values go up with that eyesore gone."

Julia Taylor also looks forward to the changes.

"I want to see something brighten up this place. It would be good, just a whole senior community. I'm loving it." she said.