Third rebirth reveals modern remodeling, historic discoveries in 1914 landmark

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As an Indiana State University student in the mid-1960s, Sandy Billing frequently walked past the former Hotel Deming at the corner of Sixth and Cherry streets on her way to class.

Years later, she and her husband, Leon, had their first look Friday evening at the transformed downtown landmark, now called The Deming, which re-opened this summer as apartments and retail/commercial space. Indiana Landmarks, a supporter of the project, hosted a community open house to show off the new amenities.

“The downstairs looks magnificent,” Sandy Billing said, as the couple watched a slideshow of historic photographs in a ground-floor lounge area. “We’re anxious to take the rest of the tour.”

The renovations mark a third rebirth for the eight-story 140,000-square-foot structure at Sixth and Cherry streets. Hotel Deming opened in 1914 and admitted guests until the early 1960s, when ISU gained the building for student housing. Terre Haute Housing Authority took over the building in the late 1970s for low-income senior citizen housing.

After the housing authority planned to relocate residents across town to the old Warren School, Indiana Landmarks western regional office director Tommy Kleckner realized the building’s next opportunity.

He contacted Core Redevelopment, an Indianapolis-based real estate development firm, which eventually won the bid for the project. Kleckner said with the company’s record, he knew there would be an extraordinary renovation.

“It’s really a project we’d like to see more of in Terre Haute,” he said.

Kleckner stood near the building’s fitness center, where the hotel’s tavern, dining room and grill were located. The developers uncovered stained-glass windows in the fitness center, which had been covered with plywood from the outside for nearly 40 years.

He described the building’s feel as a “hip, modern vibe” in a neoclassical setting.

John Watson, Core Redevelopment managing partner, told the Tribune-Star crews saved a lot of the structure’s historic finishes while adding a modern “flair.”

“It creates a pretty inviting space [in which] to both live and work,” he said.

The building contains 111 apartments, mostly one-bedroom, and all but one of the tenants has moved in, Watson said. Commercial space is still available, and developers are finalizing plans with Launch Terre Haute to relocate there.

The open house crowd had the opportunity to see the former second-floor ballroom, which is slated to be renovated later. Large photographs of dances held at the hotel were displayed near the staircase.

Resident Stephanie Allison opened up her eighth-floor apartment to visitors, who marveled at the westward view from her living room. From her perch, Allison can see everything from ISU Foundation’s office to the courthouse and beyond toward West Terre Haute.

Allison, a first-year graduate student studying dietetics at ISU, said she moved in Aug. 13.

“I love it,” she said. “The location’s perfect. The view’s great.”

Reporter Nick Hedrick can be reached at 812-231-4232 or nick.hedrick@tribstar.com. Follow Nick on Twitter @TribStarNick.

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