Smoke and Numbers

In the Century Building scrap, everybody's deal is shaky, even the mayor's

Instead, two public players who are already denizens of the city's central core are being ripped from their roosts, creating a gaping hole in two historic buildings -- the Wainwright State Office Building at Seventh and Pine streets, where the judges now wield their gavels, and the restored Lammert's Furniture building at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue, where Webster U. hangs its night-school hat.

And then there's that public bludgeoning of Heller, McGowan and Bates. The martyred trio have to live with big black marks on their reputations, but Slay has to deal with the growing reputation of city rife with cronyism and an administration hostile to players who aren't part of his select circle.

"Character assassination had already occurred. It even reached Mansur's offices in Indianapolis," wrote Bates in a March 22 response to Miserez.

Mark Poutenis

While pondering Bates' words, it might also be instructive to review the reputation of the third target of this smear of numbers and half-truths.

Mansur is one of Indiana's biggest real-estate players, a major force in downtown Indianapolis' redevelopment and an experienced hand in historic-rehabilitation projects, says J. Reid Williamson Jr., president of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and trustee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"They have high standards," says Williamson. "They're top drawer. Bob Bates has done many historic rehabilitation projects."

Consider this final point:

Mansur cut its teeth in the historic-rehabilitation game 15 years ago with a turn-of-the-century building in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

Its name? The Century.

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