Senior staff writer
With the sale of the vacated Gerdt Furniture Building, progress is just around the corner for the heart of Southport on East Southport Road between Madison Avenue and Derbyshire Road.
Southport Redevelopment Commission President Russell McClure predicted, “We’ll see instant progress in that area.”
McClure was referring to the recent sale of the 62,259 square-foot furniture building and warehouse on 2.8 acres to Randy Faulkner Enterprises of Greenwood and the long-vacated Davidson Industries property, each in the 2100 block of Southport Road.
McClure announced at a recent Southport City Council meeting that the Gerdt building would be redeveloped as a multiple-tenant business complex similar to Faulkner’s redevelopment of historic Polk Place on East Main Street in Greenwood.
“This is a big win for everybody in Southport and central Indiana,” McClure said. “He (Faulkner) has a good track record, and he knows what he is doing.”
The warehouse has an 18-foot ceiling, which adds to the versatility of potential uses. Gerdt Furniture had been in Southport for 53 years before going out of business in early 2014.
Across the street from Gerdt, the Davidson Industries property is to be developed as The Villas at the Plaza, a multimillion dollar, 93-unit apartment complex for senior citizens. McClure said he is hopeful that state approval will be granted within days, which means that groundbreaking could take place soon. The facility is expected to open in mid-2016.
The complex is expected to feature some retail shops on the ground floor and will be the new home of Perry Senior Citizens Services, which is now housed at the Southport Community Center. The RDC has spearheaded redevelopment with Partnership for Affordable Housing Inc. and the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority.
Redevelopment of both properties represents tremendous potential for the business core of Southport, said McClure. “This area has been the entire focus of the RDC for the past three years. This corridor will become what Southport should be.”
The corridor draws more than 16,000 vehicles daily, according to a 2013 study.