Homeowners oppose bid to build Meijer near 16th and Martin Luther King Jr. streets

Proposal includes bid to buy historic homes

INDIANAPOLIS - A proposal to build a Meijer grocery store near 16th and Martin Luther King Jr. streets is sparking controversy among dozens of homeowners living in a historic district on Indianapolis' near west side.

Developers are planning to build the store on vacant city property, but the property bid also includes a plan to buy 35 homes in the Flanner House District near the construction site.

The Flanner House homes were built in the 1950s and the Indiana Landmark Historic Preservation Group said the homes were historically owned by African-American families who weren't offered conventional mortgages at the time.

Homeowners said the neighborhood is close-knit and the memories they continue to share are not for sale.

"We are a family. The lady next door, she has cancer. We can go talk to her and see her. The man across the street, he still lives there. See, we are all neighbors," resident Sam Hatten said. "I don't mind Meijer doing whatever they want on the city's property, but once they start coming to get the individual homes, that's another story all together."

The preservation group has placed the Flanner House Historic District on its 10 most endangered list due to the threat of redevelopment.

City officials and developers have yet to finalize a deal.

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