Downtown Crothersville building sold


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“SOLD!” reads the orange lettering across a photo of the historic Crothersville building at Armstrong and Howard streets.

After it was rehabilitated and stabilized, the structure was first listed for sale in early 2017. It changed agents in November 2018, and Crothersville native Adam Schill, a Realtor with Dean Wagner Realtors in Columbus, took it over in November 2019.

On Aug. 17 of this year, he shared the image on Facebook letting people know he closed on the commercial building.

The buyers were John and Sarah Edrington of Scott County, who own some buildings on the courthouse square in Scottsburg.

After their offer on the building that formerly housed Jeeves and Co. restaurant in Scottsburg was turned down, John said they looked at buildings in Crothersville, Salem and North Vernon.

“This kind of fit more what we were looking for,” John said of the 2,030-square-foot Crothersville building, which was constructed in 1891 and over the years housed an Odd Fellows lodge, a library, a license branch and a pharmacy.

“We can see the potential,” he said. “It’s got good bones. It looks like we could put something here. It’s on a high-traffic road. … That’s what we saw. We wanted to get involved with it, and the town of Crothersville has been willing to work with us some and shows a desire for this building to come back, and we’re not really seeing that in Scottsburg right now.”

The current plans are to lease the space downstairs for a restaurant and the space upstairs for two one-bedroom apartments and a studio apartment.

John said he plans to start construction in 2022, but it’s possible the downstairs work could begin sooner if they land a tenant.

Since he became the Realtor for the building, Schill said he received some inquiries from out-of-state people and three or four locals. He had an offer accepted on it in February 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic ended up killing that deal, he said.

“Since that deal fell through, I’d shown it to two or three people from town who had an interest, but most of them didn’t have the resources or knowledge to get it renovated to the historic standards that Indiana Landmarks wanted,” Schill said.

Indiana Landmarks is an organization that rehabilitates architecturally unique and historically significant structures.

In 2015, Crothersville officials became concerned about the safety of the building and feared it would crumble into the street. The former owner, Nathan Ray, didn’t have the money to make repairs, and at the time, property taxes hadn’t been paid on the building since late 2012.

In July 2015, the Jackson County Commissioners voted 3-0 to give the town the tax sale certificate for the property. That move came after the county tried to sell it to collect unpaid property taxes on the property. No purchaser came forward.

The town had set aside $40,000 to demolish the building and clean up the site, but officials agreed to give that money to Indiana Landmarks to help pay for stabilizing the building.

The organization’s board met and approved the acceptance of the property and the $40,000 donation. Indiana Landmarks received the tax deed on the building in November 2015 and made improvements to the inside and outside in 2016 before putting it on the market in 2017.

When Schill saw it expire with the previous real estate agent, he reached out to Indiana Landmarks.

“I had helped sell a house in Seymour back five or six years ago that they had some covenants on, so I was familiar with their process and their staff,” he said.

Being from Crothersville, Schill said he personally wanted to see the building sold and turned back into something useful and cool.

“It has been primarily sitting empty as long as I can remember,” he said. “I vaguely remember the library being there in the early ‘90s, but I was pretty young when the current building was built.”

The Edringtons became involved with investment properties, including historic homes, about 10 years ago. They bought their first building in Scottsburg about five years ago, leasing to two commercial businesses on the first floor and renovating apartments upstairs.

They also bought the building that used to house Scott Theater and later operated as the Ross Country Jamboree music venue and now is known as Ross Theater and is run by the family as a nonprofit organization.

The theater has been showing movies and plans to add music next year, John said.

“When we bought the theater — we have four small children — there’s just nothing for kids to do,” he said. “Our mentality is giving the kids something to do.”

Their goal is to bring historic buildings back to the community.

“If Indiana Landmarks hadn’t stepped up or we hadn’t stepped up, this building would have gotten demolished, and we don’t like to see that,” John said of the Crothersville building. “Everybody talks about sustainability and eco-friendly stuff, and one of our things is going back and finding buildings like this that nobody wants and fixing them up and bringing them back as a vibrant part of the community.”

The covenants on the building require it to stay in Grade A condition on the exterior, so the focus on the interior is to maintain the historical integrity.

On the first floor, John said they want to minimize the impact of the tin ceilings and possibly do some work on the old light fixtures. The main room features about 800 square feet, and there’s another 200 square feet that could be used for a kitchen if the space is used as a restaurant.

There’s a room on the south end of the building that could contain washers and dryers for use by the upstairs tenants and the public if it’s not needed by the downstairs renter, John said.

Upstairs, the open room with large windows on the north end will be split in half for two apartments, and the studio apartment will be on the south end.

John said his plan is to hire a contractor to work on the Crothersville building and a building they own in Scottsburg at the same time.

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