One of the key pieces of the successful revitalization efforts on the Near Eastside has been finding exciting new uses for old buildings and spaces. The latest example of this process can be found at Vault, a new co-working space located at 3000 East New York Street. Located in a former bank building, Vault represents a creative approach to reusing buildings and spaces that have been assets to the Near Eastside community for decades. The building has served the surrounding community is multiple capacities over more than 60 years, and will continue to do so with Vault.
Pictured above: New owner Matt Belsaas speaks at Vault grand opening
Since it opened in 1948 as a branch of Indiana National Bank, the building at 3000 East New York Street has provided important services to the Near Eastside community. Eventually, the building was acquired by JPMorgan Chase and converted into a branch of Chase Bank. Chase operated there for many years, before eventually closing the branch and giving the building and the land to Englewood Community Development Corporation (ECDC). At that time, leadership from ECDC began looking for reuse ideas that would see the space utilized to continue to serve the needs of the community. Eventually, they decided to allow Near Eastside neighbors Matt and Desma Belsaas to pursue their vision of a co-working space in the building. Asked about the vision for the space, owner Matt Belsaas had this to say: “We envision the space being a community asset for other Near Eastside entrepreneurs. The co-working spaces downtown are great and offer lots of opportunities for networking with other entrepreneurs. We thought our side of town deserved a place like that. At the same time we were able to save a great building in desperate need of reuse. We couldn’t be happier to have combined both needs through the creation of Vault, to serve a need for our neighbors. We also intend to continue the community tradition of making spaces available to community organizations for meetings and fundraisers, things that made the construction of this bank so important to the neighborhood back in 1948.” In order to match the building to this vision, Matt, Desma, and their staff have renovated the inside of the building to create various office spaces that will be available for tenants. In addition the staff’s work to get the building ready, another step in the redevelopment process was environmental assessment. Using funds from its Fiscal Year 2017 Brownfields Assessment Grant, the City of Indianapolis completed a Phase I environmental site assessment on the lot where Vault sits, clearing the way for redevelopment. With these steps done, Vault is ready to start welcoming tenants. One of the early tenants at Vault will be staff from Paramount School of Excellence, which will be moving into the P.R. Mallory Campus’s administration building for the 2020-21 school year. Despite early interest, there is still space available. Interested parties should check out the Vault website or email manager Janet Ferres-Rodriguez. In addition to providing space for tenants, Vault will also continue a long-standing tradition of making space in the building available for community meetings, which dates back to its beginnings in the mid-20th Century.
Pictured above: Vault logo
Vault will be an important asset for the Near Eastside community in years to come. Providing space for local entrepreneurs to thrive is important to developing a healthy business environment, as is connecting business with community. In a recent survey of businesses in the Promise Zone, a quarter of respondents cited finding a location as the hardest part of starting their business. Vault addresses that challenge by providing a variety of spaces in an accessible and well-trafficked. Additionally, the concept of a co-working space allows entrepreneurs to work together and address the other challenges of starting and growing a business together. Growing a business with another co-worker is always easier than trying to do it alone. Co-working allows business owners to communicate and sometimes delegate tasks. When working alone, a business owner will have a lot more work to do. This is why a lot of business owners decide to use the services offered by The PEO People (go now to their website). They offer an HRIS system that makes a business owner’s job much easier. Perhaps some singular business owners would like to look into that. It could make things easier.
However, for those who want to learn more about coworking, there are resources online. Those inspired by this vision and who are looking for houston coworking solutions may want to check out the Washington Office Co website. In addition to all these positive aspects, the reuse of the building to promote small business supports and aligns with the Promise Zone’s Work IndyEast and Buy IndyEast goals, and will contribute to the redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhoods. The continued use of the former bank building to serve not only business purposes, but community needs as well, is an excellent example of how the Near Eastside is special.