News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 15, 2013

Proposed downtown housing project for ISU moves forward

Project targets frontage on entire 500 block of Wabash Avenue

TERRE HAUTE — With pieces of the property puzzle falling into place, a proposed downtown housing project for Indiana State University appears to be getting closer.

But the proposed project — in the 500 block of Wabash Avenue on the north side — is by no means a done deal, said Paul Thrift, president of Thompson Thrift Development, which has been hired by ISU to do pre-development and planning for a downtown student housing project.

“We continue to work with ISU to determine the feasibility and to continue our due diligence on that site,” Thrift said Monday. “We hope to be successful in redevelopment of that entire block of frontage on Wabash Avenue, but by no means are we at a point where it’s a done deal. There continues to be a lot of things we have to accomplish to make it a go.”

He was responding to some new developments related to the proposed downtown housing:

• Mike and Kaleel Ellis now own all of the property on the north side of Wabash Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets, except for the former bus transfer center/parking lot at Fifth and Wabash.

On Dec. 13, the Ellis brothers purchased 522 and 524 Wabash Ave. from Sassafras Inc. for $200,000. Joseph H. Seliken Jr. is the president of Sassafras Inc.

• Also, on Monday, Thompson-Thrift submitted the lone bid of $118,000 to purchase the property at the northeast corner of Fifth and Wabash, which is owned by the city. The Board of Public Works took the bid under advisement.

A “notice of intent” to accept bids for the parking lot at Fifth and Wabash stated that bidders must show plans for how they plan to use the property and also how they will use adjoining properties, which are owned by Kaleel and Mike Ellis.

In its bid documents, Thompson Thrift outlined plans to build a four-story, 150- to 200-bed building stretching from Fifth to Sixth streets on the north side of Wabash Avenue.

The facility would include retail space on the first floor while the upper floors would contain student housing. The building would be a masonry structure, designed to complement other downtown architecture.

Thompson Thrift stated in the bid proposal that the property at Fifth and Wabash, “together with five adjoining lots that the company currently has under contract, will enable Thompson Thrift to construct off-campus housing for Indiana State University in a downtown location.”

Neither Thrift, nor Mike Ellis, would comment on details of the “contract.”

On Monday, Kaleel Ellis confirmed that he and his brother “acquired the last piece of property necessary for the sale of the entire block,” except for the parking lot at Fifth and Wabash.

“We are moving the train forward,” Kaleel Ellis said. “I would think in the next quarter we’ll see some movement.”

ISU and Thompson Thrift remain interested in the property, and negotiations continue, Kaleel Ellis said. “We’ve never spoken to ISU directly.”

Kaleel Ellis also said, “We all would like to see a major development occur that would affect the landscape for the next 100 years. … We’re all on the same page.”

Mike Ellis, in a separate interview on Monday, agreed that “we’re still in communication” with Thompson Thrift, and said he spoke to a Thompson Thrift representative over the weekend.

“I’m optimistic something will happen,” Mike Ellis said. “I don’t know that it will involve ISU, but I’m confident there will be a new building in that block” beneficial to Terre Haute and downtown.

He said a lot has changed from 2012 to 2013, including possible tax ramifications. “I may be less interested in selling,” Mike Ellis said. He said he and his brother might develop the site.

But he vows that whether he and his brother, Thompson Thrift or anyone else develops the area, there will be a new building on the site that blends in with existing downtown architecture, and that it would have retail space on the main floor and housing on upper floors.

Mike Ellis said if he and his brother were to develop it, the housing would be for ISU students, faculty and staff and the project would not directly involve ISU as a partner.

Thrift said his company is investing a lot of time and energy to make the project work, as is the university.

“I remain optimistic that we’re going to bring it together with a successful conclusion,” Thrift said. “There are days I’m frustrated with the time it’s taking, but at the same time, that is very much part of the development process.”

One area that is taking a lot of time is determining whether any of the buildings, or facades of the buildings, can be saved, Thrift said. “We’re spending a lot of time and money to make that determination.”

Diann McKee, ISU vice president for business affairs, concurred with Thrift’s comments.

“We remain interested in that location. We are working with Thompson Thrift as to how that can be accomplished,” she said Monday. “There are still many facets to nail down.”

She anticipates that within the next few months, and potentially the next few weeks, “we’ll know” whether the project goes forward at that site.

If the project becomes reality, Thompson Thrift would own the property and would be responsible for construction. ISU would have a master lease with Thompson Thrift and would lease space from them for use as student housing, McKee has said previously.

Reporter Howard Greninger contributed reporting to this story.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

    July 9, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana education board faces contentious meeting

    Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
    The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 9, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana getting $849,000 for outdoor projects

    Indiana is receiving $849,000 to use toward outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

    July 9, 2014

  • Semi fire halts I-70 traffic in Putnam County

    A fire in a semi tractor-trailer temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Putnam County on Tuesday evening.

    July 9, 2014

  • I&M proposes five solar facilities in two states

    Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • wilson,robert.jpg BREAKING: ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A suspect police considered “armed and dangerous” is now in custody in Marion County.
    Robert Wilson is facing local charges there and has a hold on him for Vermillion County, according to Vermillion County Sheriff Robert J. Spence.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 8, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 8, 2014

  • Update: Silver Alert for Lawrence man canceled

    The city of Lawrence Police Department has canceled a Silver Alert issued earlier this morning.

    July 8, 2014

  • Thomas to resign as Indiana’s inspector general

    The only person to serve as Indiana’s top ethics watchdog since the position of inspector general was created in 2005 is planning to leave.

    July 8, 2014

  • Indiana 42 road washout.jpg Photo update: Indiana 42 washed out in Clay County

    A state highway in western Indiana has been closed after heavy rains washed out part of the roadway.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070714 CULVER PHOTO.jpg Maker of history

    A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
    Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.

    July 7, 2014 3 Photos

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding GOP: Immigration a 'human Rights Issue' Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Former NFL Player 'Excited' Deal Almost Done Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans
NDN Video
Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter Joan Rivers Storms Out of Interview Watch: A turtle and dog play ball Yikes! This Jet is Way Too Close Late-Night Highlight: Ben Falcone Screwed Up His Proposal To Melissa McCarthy Jenny and Sherri Talk "View" Departure

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010