Fox 59: Amber Woods Apartments invests in safety during renovations

The Amber Woods Apartments & Townhomes on Indianapolis’ far east side has known its share of heartache and violence.

In 2002 a tornado gutted the complex.

In 2015 a police action shooting claimed the life of a man firing on police.

This past summer a 24-year-old man in a wheelchair was shot to death.

On Tuesday, developer Flaherty & Collins Properties cut the ribbon on the last $11 million in renovations of a multi-year $24 million rebuild of the complex.

“Every building has been touched on, every square inch inside and out,” said Michael Collins, President of Property and Asset Management. “Completely brand-new kitchens, brand new asphalt, new camera system, we’ve made a big commitment to resident safety.

“We spend over six figures a year on private security, those gentlemen and ladies are current off-duty IMPD officers, which gives us another connection into their system.

“We see all over town at all types of properties, when you get a chance to bring people together and show them that the property’s on an upward trajectory, positive momentum, people buy in.”

There have been 13 homicides this year in the general community near the East 38th Street and North Mitthoeffer Road intersection that Amber Woods calls home.

“It’s no secret that this complex has had its challenges,” said IMPD East District Commander Rick Riddle.  “Our hope is that a fresh coat of paint and new investments will attract a different kind of tenant than we’ve seen in the past.”

Amber Woods has 350 Section 8 rental units where more than a thousand residents receive federal housing assistance.

“It instills pride in people who want to take ownership in where they live and to make sure where they want to preserve where they live and it makes people want to give back and do more where they live at,” said City County Councilor La Keshia Jackson, a democrat. “There’s over 35 apartment complexes on the far eastside and I think that if you can get the buy in that is here, you can change the mindsets of residents.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett said enhancements to Amber Woods and the positive impact the improvements will have on the lives of the neighbors will make the complex a safer place to live.

“If we could take what is happening here today at Amber Woods and multiply to apartment complexes throughout the far eastside, I think we would definitely have a safer place,” he said. “When you have really really nice affordable housing, clean, it becomes safer because people take pride in where they live, and they take care of their property and they take better care of each other.”

Amber Woods is the latest visible proof of investment and improvements to the far eastside.

In the last year, the long-delayed demolition of the abandoned Oak Tree Apartments was completed along North Post Road where IndyGo will begin construction of the Purple Line to improve bus service between Lawrence and downtown Indianapolis.