Thursday, April 10, 2008

Development: Former Superior Distributing Site

I intended to post about this site weeks ago but couldn't find the information I was looking for. I figured I just had to delve a little deeper and I'd find it, but it appears there just isn't any information out there. As far as I can tell, Superior Distributing Co. was a business that operated at this site in St. Joseph Neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis for many years:

Recently -- in the last six months to a year -- they were acquired by a competitor, CourterCo, and subsequently closed their doors. Their wares are still on display at their store front and they appear to have sold cabinets, fixtures and the like. This is the only information I've been able to find, a notice taped to their front door (if anybody knows anything else about this site and/or company, let us know in the comments):

The possibility of redeveloping this site represents a golden opportunity for St. Joseph. The neighborhood -- roughly bounded by I-65 to the north, Pennsylvania St. to the west and Ft. Wayne Ave. to the south and east -- is remarkable for its classic rowhouses and a residential makeup that, despite few buildings over three stories tall, remains one of the most dense in downtown. Below are some examples of the neighborhood housing stock.

Looking south on Alabama with Riley Towers in the distance:
More detail on the rowhouses on the east side of Alabama:
While all indications are that Superior was a good neighbor, its business profile and the use of the site were very out-of-character for the neighborhood. If the site were redeveloped in a way that both integrated with and served the existing residential base, it would be a huge boon to St. Joseph. The following are some pictures of the site as it sits today:

Looking northeast across the intersection of Alabama and 9th.
Looking northeast across 9th, with Lugar Tower in the distance.
Looking northeast along Ft. Wayne.
The same angle; note the almost
completely blank wall along Ft. Wayne.
Looking west from Ft. Wayne to Alabama.
The northern building on the site, looking northeast from
Ft. Wayne and Sahm. Note the "Space 934 Hair Salon" in
the distance, one of the few retail locations on Ft. Wayne.
The Ft. Wayne side of the site practically begs for a row of neighborhood-serving store fronts with a couple floors of residential above, while the Alabama side of the site seems ideal for an extension of the rowhouses shown in this post. Here's hoping a thoughtful developer considers this site at some point in the future.


Anthony Bullard said...

Nice post. It's nice to see more development talk here, as I appreciate your style the most of the Indy bloggers. And sorry, I'm not a beer drinker - even the Air Force couldn't get me into that lifestyle.

This site is very intriguing, I would like to see if they are actively looking for a buyer, and what the St. Charles neighborhood association thinks about redevelopment here (I know that they probably will want the lowest possible density project, but we could see what they think is needed). I'm going to be starting my own blog on development with exactly this purpose in mind, to seek out potential areas for redevelopment in Downtown Indy, to see what the neighborhood would like there, and to see what has held up the development. Thankfully for Google Maps' new tool Street View, I can do this even from Arlington, TX.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Superior sold general woodworking supplies such as machines, cabinet hardware, etc.
The property has already been sold to a developer, which in turn led to the business accounts and such being sold to Courter Co. They used to own more property surrounding the existing site. It had been slowly bought up by developers. They kept trying to buy the site highlighted here and when the owners' children were done with college, he decided to retire and sold.

CorrND said...

speedblue -- thanks for the feedback! I know I was on a bit of a beer kick for the last couple weeks but I'll try to get more development stuff up here. I look forward to reading your new blog.

ben -- that is exactly the kind of info I couldn't seem to find. Thanks for sharing!

Anthony Bullard said...

Just to let you know, my new blog can be found at The INDYpendent. As I mention in the first post, real content should find its way on there soon. I guess you could call this my press release.

Anthony Bullard said...

erg..that url is

HTML gives me headaches sometimes.

Kevin said...

I heart St. Joe's. Sad that Corner Coffee left there. Ft. Wayne Ave does have a lot of potential.

Anonymous said...

For history of Superior, find Chris Rossebo.