Happy in Herron Morton
One of the things we love to do most at the City Gallery is to help newcomers to Indy fall in love with our great downtown neighborhoods. I asked new Herron Morton resident Nabeela to tell us a little about her and her husband Brian’s journey to becoming downtown homeowners. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Tell us a little about yourself. What brought you and Brian to Indianapolis? Where did you come from?
Brian was born and raised in Indianapolis. He grew up on the South Side and attended Perry Meridian High School. He went to IU-Bloomington for undergrad and studied Communications and Business. The two of us met while we were working at Chili’s waiting tables to pay for rent while we were in college. I was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, in Canada, and I lived there until I was 10 years old. I moved to Kokomo, Indiana at age 10 because my dad was recruited to open a medical practice by Methodist Hospital in Kokomo. I studied and majored in secondary education while I was at IU. I then moved back to Kokomo and taught for a couple of years before going to law school. I ended up going to law school here in town at IU McKinney School of Law, which is located downtown at the corner of West and New York Streets. That’s what brought me to the city about 4 years ago and I just loved it, so I stayed… Brian was a bit of a factor, too ;-)
2. How did you go about deciding where to look for housing? Why did you decide to buy downtown?
When it came time for us to purchase a house, we knew that we wanted to live downtown; either in the Old Northside, Fall Creek Place, or Herron Morton Place. Our dear friends, Travis and Hilary Barnes, lived at 12th and Delaware (they’ve since moved to 13th and Broadway); we were always at their house and we just fell in love with the neighborhood. It has so much character and history, it’s hard not to love it. Also, it seemed like a logical choice since I am an attorney, practicing at Lewis Wagner, a downtown firm. Brian works for City Securities, which is also located downtown. Living downtown made our morning commutes much shorter; but more importantly, there’s just something charming about the historic neighborhoods and the culture that surrounds them. We could tell from working downtown that real estate was only going to increase in value with all of the new housing developments that were being built, like the City Way project, The Artistry or even on Michigan St., where the new Marsh and apartment complex is being built. Not to mention the “revival” of the Fountain Square area. There is an influx of young professionals who are moving into the city, and we wanted to get in early on before there the big push and prices got to a point where we couldn’t afford it.
3. What initially attracted you to Herron Morton? Any new discoveries since you've been here? What are your favorite things about your new neighborhood?
Herron Morton Place is, in our opinion, the best place to live downtown. The history of the neighborhood includes its ties to the Civil War and the fact that the original Indiana State Fair was in the neighborhood. There are lots of great locally-owned restaurants and bars that are popping up, including Shoefly Public House, The Thirsty Scholar and The Foundry. We love that there is a gay bar on the same street that there is a church along with one of the best high schools in the state (Herron High School). It just shows you the diverse culture that exists in downtown Indianapolis. A lot of native Indianapolis people, even though they have lived here their whole lives, don’t realize that downtown Indianapolis has all this to offer. We love being able to walk around our neighborhood and look at the historic houses and just see an eclectic group of people. Also, we’re finding that the neighborhood is very community oriented. They take pride in banding together to create that “small town” neighborhood feel where everyone watches out for everyone along with a strong desire to make the neighborhood safe for all the residents. That’s what we are seeing is really bringing the revival to the area as the city continues to grow up and out.
4. First impressions of Indianapolis?
Well, Brian was born and raised here, so he might be slightly biased to the city, but, initially, I didn’t think that Indianapolis had much to offer. It just seemed like every other midwestern town. Now, after living here for a few years, I realized there was so much to do and there is a lot of culture here. I believe Indianapolis’ better days are still ahead of it. I think some of our restaurants rival those in Chicago or New York City and our people are friendlier than those two cities. Even though Indianapolis historically has been known as “Nap Town” because it was considered a sleepy, midwest town, that is just not the case anymore. You have got a major NFL team, an NBA team, a minor league baseball team, a new soccer team, a hockey team along with it being a major hub for NCAA sports. It is an epicenter for activity. Plus, don’t forget, we have the “greatest spectacle in racing” in the Indianapolis 500. We are a huge convention and destination city, so you’re always getting people from all over the world visiting our awesome town. As you can see in the media, Indianapolis is definitely on the up and up, and it has been recognized in national newspapers like the New York Times.
5. How are you hoping to engage in your community?
Brian and I are in the process of opening up a craft distillery, Hotel Tango Whiskey, with some friends. It will be located in the Fletcher Place neighborhood, just neighboring Fountain Square. We’re excited about developing our small business in the downtown Indianapolis community. In the past, Brian has been involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He is currently an active member of the Indianapolis Rotary club, a service based organization that has been around since 1913. I am active in the Indianapolis Bar Association and still spend a lot of time at the law school, speaking to incoming classes and mentoring students. We are really excited to become active members in the Herron Morton Place Homeowners Association and getting to know our neighbors!