The Commonwealth features 32 mixed-income apartments in a converted school building.
The Commonwealth features 32 mixed-income apartments in a converted school building.

INDIANAPOLIS--Long after this year’s Super Bowl is played, The Commonwealth Apartments will remain.

The development, the transformation of an old public school building into 32 housing units, opened its doors in January as part of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Legacy Project.

In the past, the National Football League (NFL) has given each Super Bowl host city $1 million to build a youth center. This year, Indianapolis had bigger plans–renovate an entire section of its Near Eastside neighborhood.

The effort includes The Commonwealth, which gets its name because it is a mixed-income development with units for market-rate (serving those earning up to 120 percent of the area median income), low-income, and formerly homeless residents.

By attracting multiple public and private partners, more than $154 million is being invested into the neighborhood, including the The Commonwealth developed by the Englewood Community Development Corp. (CDC) and John H. Boner Community Center.

“This is about neighbors working with neighbors on a comprehensive, quality-of-life plan,” says Joe Bowling, chairman of the Englewood CDC board and a staff member at the Boner Center.

The Commonwealth did not receive a direct investment from the NFL.  In fact, only one project, a community center, did. However, the housing development still benefited from the home field advantage of having the Super Bowl in town because the local 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee funded several staff positions at the Boner Center to assist neighborhood-based organizations like Englewood CDC on neighborhood projects, including the development of The Commonwealth.

The $7 million project involves the redevelopment of a 1905 school that was named after Quaker minister Lucretia Mott, a social reformer who is remembered for her efforts to end slavery and promote women’s rights.

The school closed in 1980 and was purchased by Wheeler Mission Ministries and used as a homeless shelter. After moving this branch, Wheeler Mission donated the building to the Englewood CDC in 2009.

Financing for The Commonwealth came from several sources, including low-income housing tax credit equity from City Real Estate Advisors, Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from the city and state, and the federal Shelter Plus Care program.

The funding team included the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Old National Bank, The Realtor Foundation, State Farm, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.