The demolition of the Keystone Towers apartment and office building structures near 46th and Binford Blvd. brought an end to a complex constructed in the 1970s with optimism and shuttered 30 years later after years of crime, mismanagement and deterioration. City government, having given up on ever collecting back taxes on the property, condemned and finally razed the property, correctly guessing it would be cheaper to pay $827,00 to tear it down than to restore it to its former glory.
Unlike other demolition projects in the city, most notably the 2001 destruction of Market Square Arena, few in the city mourned the loss of the Keystone Towers, formerly known as Vantage Point Apartments among other monikers. There is little nostalgia to be had about an abandoned eyesore of a building but much anticipation at seeing it explode.
The crowd that assembled at 46th Street and Allisonville Rd. in the early hours of Sunday morning was a bloodthirsty lot, eager to see tons of concrete come tumbling down upon itself in a dynamite-inspired haze.
News helicopters hovered overhead and cameras inside the building fed live pictures of the destruction to viewers of all local TV stations and their Internet feeds.
Few of the spectators or media folk present were around when the apartments opened in the 1970s, just prior to the reconstruction and revitalization of downtown Indianapolis. The buildings were widely perceived then as an uptown equivalent of the tony Riley Towers complex. Stories of wild postgame parties featuring players from the ABA champion Indiana Pacers, who played home games just down the road at the State Fair Coliseum, spread through the city and, whether the tales of alcohol-fueled hijinks were true or not, bolstered its reputation as a swinging place to be.
It was also one of the first apartment buildings to be constructed in a post-segregation era and the racial diversity among its tenants was unusual for its time, when an unspoken but powerful red line of housing kept many blacks living south of 38th St. Old-timers who know the area speak of the building housing a mix of young professionals and elderly residents who respected and educated each other.
As 1970s renaissance dreams were reduced to rubble, the canvas cleared for new vision to take root.
Watch video of the Keystone Towers demolition on YouTube. (Warning: loud noises!)