Real estate group issues apology following controversial ad

Realty ad (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An advertisement placed by a real estate group about an Indianapolis neighborhood is causing controversy over its message to former and current residents.

Some people in the community are calling the advertisement offensive, inflammatory and racist. The ad first appeared in the October issue of Urban Times, a monthly newspaper on Indy’s historic neighborhood.

The real estate group behind the ad is trying to market new homes in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood, but since publication, the group has issued an apology on Facebook.

Drive about five minutes north of downtown Indianapolis, and you’ll run into a neighborhood called Fall Creek Place.

“It’s a wonderful neighborhood,” said David Hochoy, who lives in Fall Creek Place. “A lot of the houses are brand new. There’s a mixture of old houses and new houses.”

Hochoy moved into the neighborhood 14 years ago and said it continues to thrive with new homes and businesses.

But an ad in the latest issue of Urban Times is taking aim at what used to be.

“I could see how people could be upset by it because of the way they described the neighborhood as it existed before Fall Creek Place was developed,” he said.

According to the Fall Creek Place website, the neighborhood used to be known as Dodge City because of the high crime. But with help from the federal government, money was pushed in for redevelopment.

Jared Thompson lives nearby and says the language of the ad caught his attention.

“It just had a lot of inflammatory language about, you know, what this neighborhood used to be and the people that were in it, calling them unholy habitat and vice lords and unholy people,” said Thompson.

Flock Realty placed the one page ad on the back cover of the newspaper.

The ad reads in full:

Real estate prophets said build here so the people came and they built and all was good in the kingdom. It was once an unseemly place filled with unholy habitats and vice lords. Thusly people banded with bureaucrats and rebranding Oracles who ordained Dodge City be henceforth and forever known as Fall Creek Place. With blessing of the banks, brokers, and bureaucrats ZMC Urban Homes began building new homes for the blessed who believed urban living could be holy, hip, righteous, and upscale. People flocked Downtown, and ZMC built mightily, and a new order of peace and prosperity spread across from Goose the Market, where kingdoms start at $636,000. Only four left. Yikes.”

“The whole construct had this very God-like, Book of Genesis kind of feel, and that immediately was condescending, but then to directly talk about the people that used to live in this neighborhood or some people that still do, was just completely disrespectful,” said Thompson.

The owner of the real estate group issued an apology on Facebook saying in part, “It is clear my words were ill-chosen, insensitive and offensive. I am deeply humbled and sincerely apologize to the public, my community and my wife for the pain this has caused.”

Kurt Flock also said on Facebook he plans on taking part in implicit bias training. Urban Times also issued a statement on Facebook saying in part, “We will strive for more diligent oversight with our advertisers.”

24-Hour News 8 reached out to the real estate group and the paper, but did not hear back.