Longtime residents of this eastside enclave might balk at the idea that their neighborhood is suddenly hot—to them, Irvington has always been the best value in the city for a beautiful old Craftsman home in a tight-knit community. But even they would have to admit that until recently, it wasn’t exactly hip. The place you moved when you needed an affordable four-bedroom for a growing family? Sure. But God help you if you were 30, single, and looking for something to do on a Saturday night. That’s changing fast, and there are other encouraging signs. Although the place remains in the IPS district, there are now solid charters like Irvington Community Schools. Lofts are replacing sleazy old motels. And area leaders are working to identify commercial districts beyond the lovingly restored Washington Street corridor. The neighborhood may be named after The Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving, but right now, there’s nothing sleepy about it.
The Turning Point
Appropriately enough, this neighborhood got its buzz from a brewery. Black Acre Brewing’s arrival in 2012 gave Irvington what it had long lacked—a hangout. And the taproom’s success allowed it to expand and anchor the new Coal Factory, which promises to be the most significant commercial development there in decades.
What’s Holding Things Back?
For all its charm, Irvington remains surrounded by blight. The place can only hope that the revitalization of the near-east side continues to spread its way.
Justin Miller, Black Acre owner and co-developer of the Coal Factory, a $400,000 investment in a $1.5 million project at the corner of Bonna and Ritter avenues
“With Black Acre, we were looking for a good residential base that could support a neighborhood pub. Irvington was historically dry, so there was nothing like us here. That worked so well that when it came time to expand, we wanted to stay. Two blocks away was an abandoned industrial complex. We didn’t want to see that become a scrap yard, so we redeveloped it. The Coal Factory will be 50,000 square feet with 15 tenants—a restaurant, a coffee roaster, a bakery. The goal is to be open by midsummer.”
Who Lives Here?
Megan Bennett, 43, married with one child, owner of Socially Acceptable, a social-marketing consulting firm
“My husband and I moved here 16 years ago because we wanted an old home, and the prices were about half of what they were in Broad Ripple. When we arrived, there were a lot of aging couples. But as those folks moved on, the houses filled with younger people. And the new restaurants in the Irvington downtown area have really helped. People are coming from all over the city to eat at Jockamo. They’re seeing plays at Q Artistry. It has been fantastic to watch these changes happen.”
1509 N. Leland Ave., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
5233 E. 10th St., 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
955 Campbell Ave., 5 bedrooms, 2 baths
40 Percent Increase Since 2009
Average Home Price: $120,614