Former Crawford’s Bakery building in danger of being bulldozed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s best known as the Crawford’s Bakery building, but it’s much more than that. It’s an Indianapolis architectural icon and it could soon be torn down.

The building sits at the corner of 16th and Capitol, just across from IU Health’s Methodist Hospital. If the owner doesn’t get an offer soon, the wrecking ball is in it’s future.

Vacant for almost six years, the former Crawford’s Bakery building is in bad shape.

“The roof is failing. It’s not in good condition. It’s not leaseable. It would require a significant investment just to bring it up to leaseable level,”  says Marsh Davis, the President of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

Closing day for Crawford’s was on September 30, 2008. The bakery and building owner couldn’t agree on a new lease. Now, the building that was built back in the 1920′s, as Pandell’s Florist, is empty.

“And it was designed by a very important Indianapolis architecture firm – Piere & Wright,” says Davis, who has been trying to save the building since it became vacant.

“It also is a charming terracotta building which is a baked earth, literally, style of building that was popular in the 20′s and 30′s. It’s an excellent example of that type of structure,” says Davis.

Historic Landmarks actually kept the building from being bulldozed in 2010. But unless someone is willing to pay the price now, there’s a good chance it will be torn down.

“The owner wants $2 million dollars for the property. He did make me an offer. But that’s been his kind of holding pattern,” says Davis.

The physical condition of the building is just one of the problems. The other is parking. While it appears there is plenty of parking around the building, the truth is, there isn’t much at all.

The parking is leased to a fast food restaurant and owned by someone else, so it’s been a very tough sell or lease.  Now, the owner of the old Crawford’s building has sent the word.

“Time is up. If you can find somebody to salvage the terracotta, the facade, that he would be willing to work with us on that,” says Davis.

The building is owned by Phil Thomas who lives in Florida.  24-Hour News 8 called him, but he has not yet returned our call.

Davis says if no buyer for the building can be found, he would like to see someone who is willing to buy the entire terracotta facade and save it for use elsewhere in the city.

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