Angie's List Campus Re-Imagined as Creative 'Playground'

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(Image courtesy of Angie's List.) (Image courtesy of Angie's List.)

A group of investors, many with previous ties Angie's List, has closed on the acquisition of the company's former corporate campus. The backers that make up the Fred Abel LLC investment group are led by former Angie's List Chief Executive Officer Bill Oesterle and include participants in Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York and Ohio. Boston-based Aquent CEO John Chuang is an investor and says the vision is to "create something far more than office space."

The property, acquired from Colorado-based HomeAdvisor Inc., whose parent IAC (Nasdaq: IAC) took over Angie's List last year, includes 41 parcels with 25 buildings on the city's east side Holy Cross neighborhood. In all, the 17.5-acre campus includes 190,000 square-feet of office space and additional features like a historic diner, cafe and fitness center. Oesterle says the investors are "actively talking" with potential tenants. "This investor group is from all over, but we have a common tie in our belief in the potential Indianapolis offers."

Investment in the property over the last decade by Angie's List has served as a catalyst for the neighborhood's resurgence and Oesterle says there's more than business on the minds of the investors. "It's been about the rebirth of a community and about neighborhood involvement and about entrepreneurial creativity," he said. "We think there's a great economic opportunity, but there's also the opportunity, but there's also the opportunity to do something more significant and that was just very attractive. I can't stress the quality of this investment group. It's a remarkable group of people who have just established an attachment to this place."

Chuang, an early investor in Angie's List, adds "the space offers so many kinds of uses, and we want to fill it with like-minded people leading innovation in the arts, in tech, sciences, agriculture, non-profits, retailers, you name it. The potential is virtually unlimited. We see it as a playground for the creative and the innovative. Working with Angie's List introduced me to Indianapolis and to so many amazing and creative people. I've seen firsthand the talent, the drive and the potential there, and I wanted to come back for more."

The Fred Abel Group beat out four other bidders. The investors say they will take possession of the property after Angie's List employees transition to new space in downtown Indianapolis, which it expects to take place in the coming "few months."

Oesterle co-founded Angie's List with Angie Hicks in 1995 and stepped down as CEO in mid-2015. He has since been involved in a venture called TMap, which focuses on attracting and retaining talent in Indiana; Tech for Equality, an advocate for LGBT civil rights laws through the state's tech community; and Midtown Growth LLC, which is working to transform an old bank on the city's north side into a restaurant run by well-known restaurateur Neal Brown called Midtown Brasserie. It is slated to open this year.

A Fred Abel LLC managing partner, Bill Oesterle, says there's more than business on the minds of the investors.
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