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Brookville apartment project required cooperation
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Friday, October 3, 2014

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The Valley House Flats project on Brookville's Main Street will transform the former Valley House Hotel into 38 apartments, according to developer Bruce Rippe, Batesville.

Once renovated, the development "will look very similar to RomWeber Flats (in Batesville) with similar amenities," he said.

Rippe expects the apartments to be ready to rent in September 2018. Some are income qualified, while others will rent at the market rate.

The developer reported by email the structure "was the oldest hotel in Indiana and on the list of endangered buildings of Indiana Landmarks."

"Valley House Hotel was constructed circa 1852 and originally served as an inn for canal travelers. Its heyday was from the 1870s to the 1900s. It was noted for providing excellent accommodations and fine cuisine. It housed business activity for more than 125 years, but it has remained vacant more than 20 years," noted a "Tour of Historic Brookville" brochure.

According to a news release from George Gillman and Allen Vonderheide, "Helping the Valley House renovation project become a reality for the benefit of the town of Brookville has been foremost in the mind of George Gillman of Gillman Family LLC, and the Gillman family members. To cooperate to allow this project to succeed, Allen Vonderheide and Vonderheide's Garage have worked with George Gillman, Gillman Family LLC and George's Family Pharmacy. These forward-looking citizens have engaged in creativity and compromise so that their vision of the development of the Valley House property for the good of our community can become a reality."

"Vonderheide will relocate Vonderheide's Garage and continue to operate it as an independent business readily accessible to the customers he has served for many years. That relocation will take place in a timely way to allow the development of the Valley House project to stay on schedule."

Since 2001, Gillman Family LLC and Vonderheide have been the members of Dependable Co. LLC, which has been the owner of the property located at 16 W. Fifth St. that is occupied by Vonderheide's Garage and George's Family Pharmacy as tenants. "That real estate is necessary to be used to allow the development of the former Valley House property," according to the news release.

"Allen Vonderheide and George Gillman have sorted through many inaccurate and mean-spirited rumors to do their part as responsible and informed citizens to help to make this renovation project a success.

"Even a needed change can evoke emotion. Emotion can create a fog that distorts a clear vision of factual circumstance."

The news release stated both men "have recognized that many mischaracterizations made by uninformed meddlers were poisoning their business relationship and threatening the development of a civic project which both believe to be in the best interest of the town."

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.


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