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TRex Enterprises Begins Transformation of Former Winona Hospital Property

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS –TRex Enterprises, LLC, a company formed at the request of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and The Whitsett Group, LLC joined dignitaries representing the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), City of Indianapolis, and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and area residents in breaking ground this morning on a new residential development that will be located on the former Winona Hospital property at North Illinois Street and West 33rd Street. Illinois Place Apartments will feature both housing and green space.

“The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis continually looks for ways in which it can assist residents and other area stakeholders in improving the quality of life and aesthetics of our surrounding neighborhoods,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “We want to help ensure that the Mid-North neighborhoods are an area in which families can work, live, learn and play with pride.”

When Winona Memorial Hospital closed abruptly in 2004, the owners left medical equipment and office furnishings behind. After that, it was the target of theft and vandalism. It also had environmental issues including asbestos that made the sale of the property problematic. In recent years, the City of Indianapolis participated in discussions with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and a partnership was born.

“This public-private partnership will provide homes, open space for recreation, and possible commercial opportunities, all of which will breathe new life into this area and strengthen our community,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “This former hospital site where I used to work was a place for healing, so it is fitting we were able to come together to revitalize this neighborhood to benefit our residents in so many positive ways.”

The City of Indianapolis demolished the building and performed environmental remediation work in October 2011 using $1.3 million in HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) and Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) funds.  IHCDA, a quasi-State agency, is another active partner in the development of Illinois Place with its combined investment of $6.6 million.

“In looking to invest our resources in comprehensive and well-designed projects, Illinois Place stood out as a model for neighborhood revitalization,” said Jacob Sipe, IHCDA’s Interim Executive Director.

Following completion of a master plan for the site, TRex Enterprises LLC issued a request for proposals to housing developers and selected The Whitsett Group. The housing component of the project will include two buildings comprising a total of 50 units with one- and two-bedroom options with rents affordable to households earning less than 60 percent of the median income for the Indianapolis MSA. The $6.6 million housing development is financed through low-income housing tax credits and tax exempt bonds.

“The Whitsett Group is excited to be included as a member of the team redeveloping the Winona site. We are confident that we can deliver on the vision brought to this project by The Children’s Museum and local residents,” said Joe Whitsett. “The modern design of the buildings will fit well with the neighborhood, and the energy efficiency of each apartment will allow residents to enjoy their new home with minimal energy costs.”

The builder will be TWG Construction, a subsidiary of The Whitsett Group. The Whitsett Group committed to goals of contracting with a diverse group of contractors: 20 percent minority-owned business entities, 8 percent woman-owned business entities and 3 percent veteran-owned business entities.

“All over Indianapolis, we are coming together, energizing neighborhoods, and building new opportunities for the families that call this city home,” said Congressman Andrè Carson. “Thanks to help from federal funds, this development is another critical step in achieving our shared vision for this community and for the Mid-North neighborhoods.”

About The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary family learning experiences across the arts, sciences and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children’s Museum, visit www.childrensmuseum.org, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, Facebook.com/childrensmuseum and YouTube.