Florence Fay School 21 has a beloved history in the Twin Aire Neighborhood on Indianapolis’s Southeast side. Many of the neighborhood’s longtime residents have children that attended Florence Fay, or even attended the school themselves. It was a sad day for the community when School 21 shut its doors ten years ago as part of a consolidation effort across IPS campuses. However, a facility of that size presented new opportunities for the community. If not a school, then what could Florence Fay become?
TWG President Joe Whitsett long had his eye on the Florence Fay property for its beauty and history. When the opportunity came to purchase the building and turn it back into an asset for the Southeast side, TWG took the fate of the property into their capable hands. TWG was also able to secure Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as a Development Fund Loan through the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) to help fund the project. This type of funding can be very competitive. According to Jonathan Ehlke, Development Director for TWG, the Florence Fay project “would not have received funding if not for the Promise Zone designation.” The Promise Zone designation helped TWG secure the funding they needed to see the project through to completion.
Southeast side neighborhoods have seen development and transformation coming their way for a while now, with the renaissance of downtown and the rise of Fountain Square. Twin Aire neighbors are rightfully wary of developers moving into the neighborhood – the area has a working class history and has been an affordable part of the city for decades. TWG is certainly mindful of that history and has the interests of the residents at the heart of their work at Florence Fay. That is why they decided to transform the former school into Affordable Senior Apartments. If people are looking for more upmarket apartments that they can spend some money on, there are luxury apartments oakland properties, as well as properties in Indianapolis, that can cater to this need.
The workers that made Twin Aire a manufacturing center in Indianapolis, and stayed to keep the neighborhood stable when the manufacturing jobs went away, now have a home within their community in which to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. This renovation of Florence Fay fits well with the Live IndyEast Promise Zone Sub-goal 3:
- Increase the population density and level of specialty housing by developing multi-family housing options for families and individuals across the economic spectrum. This will in turn fuel other economic development.
The new Florence Fay Senior Apartments will feature 73 units, with rents ranging from $285 to $640 per month. For seniors who are often on a fixed income, affordable quality units like those found at Florence Fay are essential to having a high quality of life into retirement.
Jeff Sparks from Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) and the Convener for Twin Aire Great Places 2020 had this to say about the project: “Affordable Senior Housing was one of the top priorities to emerge from a survey of the community completed in December 2015. It is so exciting to see this dream fulfilled with the opening of Florence Fay. TWG did a wonderful job restoring this iconic building and keeping the historical integrity.”
Florence Fay Senior Apartments are a welcome addition to the Twin Aire community in the IndyEast Promise Zone. As more residents reach retirement age, it is necessary to keep our senior neighbors in mind and develop our communities in a way that allows current residents to age in place, while anticipating the needs of the new generation of workers coming of age in rapidly changing work atmosphere. Florence Fay is a step in the right direction.