Home for the arts: Owners of historic Lacy Building in Noblesville to bring new life to structure

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The historic Lacy Building in downtown Noblesville is undergoing a major renovation that will eventually create workspaces and studios for local artists to showcase their work.

The building, which was constructed in 1888, formerly served as a Kirk’s Hardware Store and was purchased by Katie Beeson Nurnberger and her husband, Chris, in November 2021. In late 2021, the Nurnbergers reached out to Nickel Plate Arts after purchasing the building and asked what the Noblesville arts community might need and said they would love to find a way for the building to be a home for artists and artistic ventures.

“I was immediately excited to hear that one of the square’s oldest and largest buildings could have a new future and be fully activated after so many decades,” Nickel Plate Arts Director Ailithir McGill said.

Renovations on the three-story building have been underway, with includes plans to install an elevator to make the building accessible to all people. Katie Nurnberger said she and her husband, who purchased the building for just under $1 million, want to open a vinyl record store on the bottom floor with event space planned on the top floor.

“It’s magic to us. There’s so much space,” she said.

Renovation of the nearly 30,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in about two and a half years and is estimated to cost between $6 million and $7 million. The second floor will be home to a CPA firm, according to Katie Nurnberger.

McGill said her organization’s goal is to cultivate art opportunities and experiences for eastern Hamilton County. Nickel Plate’s main headquarters are at 107 S. 8th St. in Noblesville, but McGill said the space is too small.

“For a long time, we’ve been looking for opportunities to get more space for artists and arts happenings,” McGill said.

McGill said the historic Lacy Building is a good fit for artists’ needs and is excited for what’s to come when the renovation is completed.

“Artists love being in spaces with some history to them, with some character to them, with spaces that can accommodate all the weird and messy things that artists do, and this clearly is going to be that,” McGill said. “The impact to downtown, to take the largest, most important and historic asset and finally activate it (is signficant). But to even put the basic things into the building to make it accessible to the community is the coolest thing to happen in downtown Noblesville in a long time.”

McGill described the Lacy Building as the “crown jewel” in downtown, adding that she thinks it has the most potential for public use. Artists will be able to use space in bays that will allow them to work in designated areas, she added.

The basement could also be potentially used for woodworking, ceramics or welding, and McGill expressed her appreciation for the partnership between her organization and the Nurnbergers.

“It seemed like a match made in heaven,” McGill said. “The more I looked, the more potential I saw, and the more I worked with the Nurnbergers, the more convinced I was that they wanted to be meaningful, long-term partners for the arts community.”

Katie Nurnberger said she looks forward to bringing new life to the historic Lacy Building.

“We want it to be a space that can be enjoyed for another 100 years,” she said.

How to help

Nickel Plate Arts has a waiting list for studio spaces; artists should contact [email protected] to get added to the waiting list to be considered for one of the new studios.

Artists who want to get more involved or anyone wishing to support the Lacy Building renovation project through monetary donations can reach out to Nickel Plate Arts Director Ailithir McGill via email at [email protected] with “For the Lacy Arts Building Project” in the memo or notes.

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