A 91-year-old stately brown-brick Downtown church building, which had been a longtime gathering place for African-Americans, has a chance to avoid demolition.
That is, if someone with plenty of money and an idea for reuse of the deteriorating structure comes forward next year.
Located in the Flanner House Homes historic district, the building at 1226 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. was scheduled to be demolished in September to make way for parking for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, a short distance to the south.
Indianapolis Public Schools purchased the building with the four towering white columns at its entrance — and some adjacent land — in January for $319,000.
However, IPS Superintendent Eugene White and his administration recently accepted a request from Indiana Landmarks to give preservationists until December 2012 to try to save the building by finding a buyer willing to rehabilitate it.
A progress report on the search will be given to White in about six months, said Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ vice president of preservation services.
“There are few buildings left in the city built by African-Americans for African-Americans,” Dollase said, citing losses due in particular to redevelopment in the heart of the city.
“For that,” he said, “it is an important goal for us to see this building remain standing. We’re thrilled that Dr. White and IPS will work with us on finding a solution to a continued use.”