Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is backing revitalization efforts in one of Indianapolis' most troubled neighborhoods.
Purpose Built Communities, an Atlanta-based nonprofit consulting group, is spending $150 million to bring new life to 100 acres in the Meadows area, just east of Keystone Avenue along 38th Street.
Once a thriving suburban neighborhood in the `50s and ` 60s, the community began to decline in the `70s with the concentration of poverty in five low-income apartment complexes, high crime and the flight of quality retail businesses.
The redevelopment effort plans to bring affordable mixed-income housing, retail shops, a grocery store, YMCA, parks and community programs with the goal of turning the neighborhood around in the long term, 6News' Chance Walser
Buffett said he believes the nonprofit organization has a successful model for urban renewal.
"In business, that's what I look for. I look for somebody that's got a good operation, and I look for people that can keep it that way and make it even better, and then I just sit back and cut ribbons," he said, laughing.
The first phase of the project was finished Wednesday, and the first 54 tenants are scheduled to move in by the end of October.
Mayor Greg Ballard said he's confident the area can be turned around.
"The city will continue to make strides like these to ensure that this community and its families have a great chance to live, work, play and to follow their dreams," he said.
Neighbors said the revitalization is long overdue.
"We need to improve, you know, the crime that we have in this area," said Robyn Taylor. "I'm excited that they are putting up the apartments, that they tore down the other apartments. We do need the grocery store."
Construction is expected to begin on the YMCA in January. The entire project is expected to take about five years to complete.
Purpose Built Communities has similar projects under way in Atlanta and New Orleans.
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