This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, September 3, 2018


Several years ago I did some posts on empty or for-rent buildings. I have noticed quite a few empty buildings lately, so decided to catalog what is empty in downtown and the College Mall.

A recent entry on the list is the old PNC bank building. The bank closed the local office.
There are a couple of empty spots in the old Horton building. Balloons Galore and More moved two blocks further east.
 Further north on Washington the old gas station remains empty. The last tenant was Paul's Garage, which moved about mile north on McKinley.
 I expected the little building across the street to be empty because it has been for years. I was surprised to see a new sign in front. Hydro vac and jetting services seems to be involved in cleaning storm sewers. I do not know anything about this new business.
 Here is the little building. It was built as a gas station, I believe. I remember its glory days as an ice cream shop.
 The front part of the building with Turning Point Surveying has been empty for several years.
 A couple doors down the space that was Unique Finds is empty. The building recently changed owners. Unique Finds moved back to a smaller location across the alley from Moonshiners.
 On Van Rensselaer Street Gallina Insurance moved a over a space, vacating its previous location. I think a massage therapist was in the space that Gallina now occupies.
 The Police Department has moved to the what was the fire station. The City has not announced any plans for this space.
 Back on Washington St., the old office of Landmark Realty is empty.
 Across the street one of the renovated halves of what had been Lafayette Bank and Trust space remains empty. Lafayette Bank and Trust used this space when its building was renovated and then moved out. The part of the space that is used is occupied by WIC and Northwest Indiana Community Action. WIC had been in the old Sears building and NICA had been in the old Nesbitt building.
 With the additions of Embers and Fenwick Brewing, the south section of this block has been renewed and filled.

On Front Street the building that housed Stunt Dawg remains empty. Stunt Dawg closed.

Unwind Massage Therapy is in the rear of this building but the two spaces in front are empty. One former occupant moved into the remodeled Lafayette Bank building and the other, Birthright, moved to the corner of Grace and College. The building at Grace and College was the Impact (Welfare) office, which moved to the north end of the Strack and Van Til building.
The old Long's Gift building has a new tenant, Thee Dragonfly, a flea market. It has attracted some of the vendors that were in the Greene's Antique Mall.
There are vacant spaces in the old downtown Sears building. TV Cable was bought by NITCO and they moved to the former Blockbuster building. The WIC office moved to the Lafayette Bank Building. There is also an empty space by the door.

A little space with only an exterior door is also empty. It briefly held a company selling wireless plans.
The space next to 5/3 Bank where Farm Credit used to be is still vacant. Farm Credit moved to a new building on Drexel Drive.
There are five empty spaces in the College Mall. The space that was occupied by Help at Home is vacant. Help at Home moved further south in the Mall and now occupies a much bigger space.
The former Sears store has been empty for several years. In the past few years a seasonal fireworks store has occupied the space for a month or so before July 4th. This year it did not.
Fastenal and American Rental moved a year or two ago and the spaces that they occupied remain empty. Fastenal is on Drexel Drive and American Rental moved north of Strack and Van Til.
 Finally, nothing has moved into the old Devon's space.
 A lot of what was once retail space in both downtown and the College Mall is now occupied by businesses or agencies providing services. Is the decline in retail due to people going to Lafayette to buy things, or is it another effect of the Internet and the ease of buying things there?

Let's close on a positive note. The actual groundbreaking for the proposed assisted living units east of Walmart has taken place.


Ed said...

Nice photos, especially of downtown.

HannahWilliamson said...

Sad. All these empty buildings...some of them part of history...and new buildings are always going up. :(