Historic fire station donated to IMPD as a Near Eastside substation

City police officers have a new space to take a breather, fill out reports, workout or regroup after an incident – and it’s not costing taxpayers a dime, thanks to a donation by the owners of the historic former fire station in the 1000 block of East Washington Street.

The Fred Abel LLC ownership group recently donated the three-story, 8,000-square-feet building to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for use as a centrally located substation. The former fire station sits on the southeastern end of a four-block property once used as the Angie’s List campus, an area recently renamed Elevator Hill.

“This is the kind of public-private partnership that makes Indianapolis stand out as a great community,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “We’ve been following the rebirth of this area just outside the mile square for several years and continue to be impressed with the creative use of the space and the dedication to maintaining its historic façade.”

The building is one of the city’s oldest fire stations and was former many years the home to Firehouse Photo Labs, which left for larger facilities in 2003. The building was later the Angie’s List reception center.

“This building has served Indianapolis since 1886 and it seemed a shame to carve it up to make it attractive for office use,” said Bill Oesterle, part of the Fred Abel LLC ownership group and a co-founder and former Angie’s List CEO. “We knew there wasn’t a large, centrally located IMPD substation for these districts, and we know how a police presence can bring heightened security to an area, so we jumped at the opportunity to offer the space.”

If the space were fully leased at the current average office rate, it could generate up to $160,000 a year in revenue, said Rob Coombes, who serves as the Shook Realty Group leasing agent for the properties.

The historic firehouse opened in 1886 and served the Indianapolis Fire Department for 70 years.

“That’s not even close to the value the added security presence brings not just to our tenants, but to the entire neighborhood,” Oesterle said.

In addition to the use of the Firehouse, police personnel have complimentary access to fitness and yoga classes and gym facilities operated by Taylor Made Wellness, one of the occupants of the Elevator Hill property.

“Our officers are really pleased with the amount of space in the building and the welcome they’ve received,” Chief Taylor said. “There’s a lot of room to work, have a meal and regroup, which can be a great respite for our officers.”

For many years, Oesterle contracted with off-duty IMPD officers to provide security at the property, first as Angie’s List grew and took over more buildings in the area and again as property manager for the various Fred Abel LLC tenants. The property includes several homes, buildings, parking lots, a vintage diner, a café and greenspace.  

Occupants at the property include Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning, JAT of Fort Wayne, Taylor Made Fitness, Circle City Kombucha, the Indy Gaming League, SupplyKick, RezPower, Advanced Agrilytics, InGen Technologies, Futuro Pizza, Morphey Construction, Elite Back and Body, Coforce Marketing, Garrison Logistics and Capitol City Fence.

PHOTO ABOVE: The historic firehouse sits on the former Angie’s List site now given the name “Elevator Hill.”