The 600-square-foot building at 660 Fort Wayne Avenue in Indianapolis was only the third White Castle ever built, dating to 1927. Vacant for at least a decade, it’s changed hands a few times in the past two years. Indiana Landmarks bought it from the city in 2017 for $1, and then sold it to local resident Jason Hartman at the beginning of this year for $70,000. Now, Hartman is searching for a tenant. Any takers?
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports Hartman plans to make some improvements to the white brick, castle-shaped building in hopes of attracting a new lessee. Because of its zoning, the building ironically can’t be used as a restaurant, but could be rented as an office or a live-work space, if you don’t mind living and working in 600 square feet under some turrets. Hartman estimates repairs to the brick facade and interior upgrades will cost about $60,000 and could be finished as soon as July. Given those costs as well as zoning issues, Hartman says his original vision of a purely residential purpose for the building is now unlikely. Still, he’s open to a retail, office, or live-work tenant.
“I loved that it was a perfect square box,” Hartman told IBJ. “I could see how you could renovate it and make the interior into a blank slate for someone.”
This particular White Castle sold its final slider in 1979, at which point it was the oldest continually operating White Castle in the country. The chain was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921, which the company says makes it the world’s first hamburger chain. (Other fun facts from the White Castle archives: It publicized “a nutritional study” in December 1930 that boasted of the burgers’ health benefits, citing University of Minnesota medical student Bernard, who ate only White Castle hamburgers with water for 13 weeks.)
White Castle has seen something of a reputation makeover of late, as it went from stoner punch-line to quasi-ironic Valentine’s Day dinner destination to legit fast-food option for vegans. If the Indianapolis property appeals to you, it’s reportedly listed through FS Houses.