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Oak Tree apartment complex, blight on Indianapolis east side, is gone

City announces end of six-month demolition
Posted at 2:57 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 16:16:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS – It's gone. An apartment complex that's been an eyesore and a danger on the Indianapolis east side has been demolished.

The city announced Wednesday that the demolition of the large Oak Tree Apartment complex at East 42nd Street and North Post Road is compete.

The last Oak Tree residents were evicted more than five-years ago. The 19-acre complex was in disrepair, a constant scene of crime and arson fires.

Following a legal battle with owners, the city took control and began demolition in October. The cost to tear it down was just over $1 million and was approved by the City-Council in 2019.

PREVIOUS Demolition underway at Oaktree Apartments

What is next for the land? "The Department of Metropolitan Development is moving toward the final legal step to acquire the property through eminent domain," said Brandi Paul, spokesperson for the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. "This will unlock the opportunity to begin community conversations about future transit-oriented development on this site, which is located along the proposed Purple Line and adjacent to planned bus rapid transit stops.

The apartment complex wasn't always a blight on the neighborhood. As demolition began last October, area residents recalled better days. "They were beautiful," City-County Councilor La Keisha Jackson said. "Had a nice swimming pool, greenery. The structure was very nice, but to see them come to this point as you look around, you wouldn't believe it."

Jackson said she watched the property go downhill for the past 15-years. Police described it as a breeding ground for crime, putting people who live and work in the area at risk. In 2009, a woman's body was found inside an empty apartment at the complex, while in 2012, a man was discovered there with gunshot wounds and died soon after.

In March 2019, fire investigators said someone intentionally lit two fires at the apartments.

The property was declared a public nuisance in 2013, and in 2014, the final residents were evicted due to a lack of running water.