Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hearing Set for Developer Who Demolished Part of Historic Commercial Building

A row of brick Tudor-Revival storefronts have been partially destroyed by a developer who wants to put in a gas station and convenience store on the northwest corner of East 10th Street and Emerson Avenue.  Without proper permits, the owner of the property, Balwinder Singh, hired a contractor to knock down the building which has stood on the site since 1927.  Quick thinking neighbors called the city and received a stop work order, but the damage has clearly been done as most of the building has been removed.  Mr. Singh's plan will come before the Marion County Zoning Board of Appeals on December 9 at 1:00PM in the City County Building.  He will join a long list of previous developers who have knocked down part of Irvington's heritage.

The structure, which faced both 10th Street and Emerson Avenue housed a variety of local establishments throughout the years.  When the site first opened in 1927, Edward Orn operated a drug store at 5070 East 10th Street while J.R. Harrison ran a meat market at 1006 North Emerson Avenue.  Next door Mary Hitchcock managed a small bakery at 1008 and Ora Devore cut hair at 1010.  Lawrence Gloe dry-cleaned clothes at 1012 North Emerson Avenue.  By the 1990s, the building developed a negative reputation among the neighbors because of a strip club located inside 5068 East 10th Street.

With a little imagination, it is not hard to have envisioned what this corner could have looked like before the wreckers showed up.  Nearby, a Renaissance is taking place along the East Washington Street corridor.  The blond brick building with the beautiful green slate roof tiles could have been an ideal site for more amazing development.  Mr. Singh could have also looked at two other corners of this intersection and noticed that previous gas stations had been located on the northeast and southwest corners, but were closed by the 1990s.

Neighbors who have concerns about the gas station proposal should attend the meeting on December 9  or write to the Marion County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Closed Door:  1927 Commercial Building at 10th and Emerson has been partially destroyed

 Ghost of Tudor-Revival elements in the gables 

Beautiful green slate tiles untouched since 1927 fall near the sidewalk

Vacant Shell:  Most of the building at 5070 East 10th Street has been destroyed.  

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