Demolition ordered for Far Eastside's troubled Oaktree Apartments

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Marion County judge has ordered the owners of the Oaktree Apartments to tear the abandoned property down – the culmination of years of efforts by Far Eastside residents to rid themselves of a blight on the area.

The remaining residents of the already troubled property were evicted in February 2014 due to a lack of hot water, or any water, in the apartments. Since then, the property, located just southeast of 42nd Street and Post Road, has remained officially vacant – although neighbors have reported squatters taking up residence in the empty buildings.

On Thursday, a Marion County judge sided with the city of Indianapolis in a lawsuit against Oaktree Apartment’s owner, Indy Diamond LLC, and ordered the property to be demolished within 60 days.

Rev. James Jackson, pastor at Fervent Prayer Church and president of the Far East Side Coalition, called the ruling a win for the neighborhood.

“That particular address had become a public safety issue in many, many ways,” Jackson said. “A lot of illegal activity. A lot of lawlessness taking place in that area. The residents who live in close proximity to that particular address have been dealing with that for a long time. It’s a major victory not only for the Far Eastside, but for all of Indianapolis.”

The 42nd and Post area near Oaktree Apartments has been one of the most violent parts of the city in the first two months of 2018. Five people were killed in the immediate area in January. Those victims include 19-year-old Tre’Von Mann, whose body was dumped at the Postbrook East Apartments, which border Oaktree.

MAP | 2018 Indianapolis Homicides

Another victim, 26-year-old Derick Daniels, was found shot to death in a car in the same complex.

The property’s problems aren’t confined to this year, either. In 2009, 45-year-old Margaret Russell’s body was found inside an empty apartment at the complex. In March 2012, 34-year-old Murry Suttle was found shot at the apartments and died a short time later at the hospital.

It was not immediately clear whether Indy Diamond LLC intended to appeal the ruling. If not, the company will have until April 29 to either demolish the complex or be approved for an extension.

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