by ari attack, editor

last week, i picked up a copy of indy’s local “urban” neighborhood newspaper, urban times. a ridiculous ad on the back, which didn’t catch my attention at first – but thanks to my friend WildStyle, I took a closer look. Flock Realty, a local company that’s taken stake in the fall creek place neighborhood – replacing the historic homes with something out of an ikea brochure.

the ad on the back stated, “real estate prophets said build here, so the people came and they built. and all was good in the kingdom.” further down the ad also read, ‘it was once an unseemly place filled with unholy habitats and vice lords. thusly people banded with bureaucrats and rebranding oracles who ordained dodge city be henceforth and forever known as fall creek place. with blessing of the banks, broker and bureaucrats ZMC urban homes began building new homes for the blessed who believed urban living could be holy, hip, righteous and upscale. people flocked downtown and ZMC built mightily, and a new order of peace and prosperity spend across from Goose the Market, where kingdoms start at $636,000. only four left. yikes.”

THERE ARE SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS AD.

first, it’s out right ignorant and racist.

the description of a historically black area as “unholy habitats” is ridiculous.

as soon as i saw the ad, gathered some questions and gave flock realty a call.

kurt flock, VP of flock realty answered the phone and stated he wrote the ad, “was meant to be humorous in a way that conveys the progress the neighborhood made.”

this ad, and a few before this – were in line with an ad they placed one year before that said, “build here. it’s fall creek place, ’nuff said,” with a picture of empty lots.

flock said this most recent ad came from info he paraphrased from wikipedia when he googled “dodge city” and “fall creek place.”

“i’m not a racist. people will read into what they want,” kurt said. “they don’t know us, or what’s in our hearts.”

flock also indicated that he showed the ad to a few former customers, before sending it to urban times to run. he also agreed those customers were all white, and from the same economic bracket.

he ended our conversation by saying, “you can’t make me what I’m not by saying it’s so.”

a day or so after our talk, he apologized on Facebook.

flock realty facebook apology

but that’s not enough. (especially since their page was later defending the ad, after the apology. and they removed their reviews page)

here’s a one of their comment in reply to the ad:

We didn’t and wouldn’t call poor people “unholy”. “Unholy habitats” was a reference to vacant and abandoned homes that ruin neighborhoods as they are magnets for drug dealers, prostitutes, and arsonists. The city tore dozens of such homes down in Fall Creek Place to make way new homes, and huge efforts were made to insure that at least half of the homes in the first two phases of Fall Creek Place did NOT displace people. 50% of the homes built had to be priced so home buyers meeting affordable income requirements could buy them and remain in or move to the neighborhood. We worked to promote that area before Fall Creek Place got it’s start. I am sorry we were not clear in our message. We really do care and are committed to diverse and inclusive neighborhoods. Thanks.

kurt flock also reached out to local activist, satchuel cole of don’t sleep, and stated in his email, “my roommate was black. another was gay.” like as if that were to give him a pass?????

i wasn’t really aware of the changes in that area, because i haven’t driven near there in a few months. now when I drive south on college ave, and hit fall creek – it’s like a different place. and it saddens me, because i know i won’t see black families and history there anymore. you’ve gotta go visit your neighborhoods. with these corporations trying to turn everything into a “hip” and “happening” place, lower income families are being displaced. removed. legacy to the area destroyed.

i still have so many questions.

how could any company build in an area, and have to google it to be able to speak/write about it? what does this say about the regard for the existing residents and assets of the community?

what’s scary, is they’re probably not the only realty company who feels the same about “urban” areas they’re destroying and creating this “hip” white-topia aka broad ripple.

who is this ad supposed to appeal to? clearly, someone who has zero regard or awareness of gentrification. and this ad displays the clear sentiment of this whole neighborhood revitalization movement: to bulldoze an area and rebuild to attract new “hip” people who can afford $600K homes, in a former low income neighborhood.

i ask this question every time, but what happens to the residents who’ve been pushed/forced out? not every person was selling drugs, shooting or anything like that? and why not try to add to the neighborhood then completely change it, with what seems like for the worse.

but now, more people are aware. thankfully.

but will this change the wave of gentrification in the city of indianapolis? sadly, not.

here’s a link to sign a petition against flock realty. click here.