Real Estate February 12, 2024

Dylan’s Blog

A downtown legacy, and the power of community.

This post highlights our family’s deep connection with Downtown Indianapolis—a story steeped in dedication to mutual aid, resilience, and the art of shaping neighborhoods into inclusive havens.

The story begins with my maternal grandfather, John Liell– a luminary in both academia and activism. As a sociology professor at IU Bloomington, and later IUPUI, he balanced his work at the University with ardently advocating for the cause of civil rights and fair housing. His unwavering commitment to justice, equity, and community empowerment was a guiding light for our family’s ethos.


John Liell (aka Papa Doc) in his element.


Fast forward to the late 1970s and the move to IUPUI, Papa (as we called him) fell in love with and bought a house that would become a family and community hub. Located in Herron Morton, (a historic area that had seen a long period of divestment and neglect) this choice wasn’t merely about property acquisition, it was about becoming a part of the existing neighborhood and investing in preserving the beauty that was there.

The legacy of community building continued when in 1983, Dave & Becky Hostetter, (my folks) moved to the Davidson’s subdivision of Downtown Indy later known as Cottage Home Neighborhood. There they helped to form a dynamic, inclusive neighborhood association—one born from a collective desire to safeguard the heart of community already embodied by the area’s long-time inhabitants.



Our family home on Dorman St during renovations.


This safeguarding was a necessity, as a looming INDOT proposed freeway exit ramp threatened to displace lives and erase history.

With impassioned vigor, our family and our neighbors rallied and formed a united front against the impending threat of eminent domain, and in the process helped to form the neighborhood association that still thrives today. The people ultimately triumphed in their remonstrations, preserving the soul of Cottage Home and ensuring its survival and vitality despite the odds against them.


Former mayor William Hudnut with my brother Demian, my mom Becky, and Tim Harmon, at the 1985 Block Party.

The Hostetter Crew in front of the Ruskaup building across the street from our house.


It’s impossible to have a conversation about the Downtown revitalization without acknowledgment of the deeper complexities involved. The fight for preservation and renewal is often juxtaposed with the racist history of redlining (among other dubious practices) and the enduring impact on these communities, the struggle against displacement, and the painful erosion of diversity. Facing this history, we are compelled to fortify our commitment to champion a future where everyone can find belonging, and every voice resonates.

With all of this in mind and in the spirit of honoring our legacy, Kat and I are fully invested– in mind, body, and spirit– in being in community with our neighborhood, as exemplified by our support of local non-profits, community service, and the renovation of our Windsor Park/Springdale home in 2022. This dwelling is more than brick and mortar or home equity; for us it’s putting into action what we’ve learned “home” should be all about: a place for friends, family, and neighbors to gather and be in community together.

Today, as we celebrate our heritage, we extend an invitation– to share our fervor for living in community, and for working toward inclusivity.

Join us in this collective endeavor to shape the future of Downtown Indy—a journey not just of transactions, but of enriching lives and fostering vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. Together, let’s continue weaving a tapestry where lives and legacies intersect, and past struggles inspire present action.

Welcome to our legacy, welcome to Downtown Indy—a testament to resilience, hope, and the transformative power of community-driven change.

Warm Regards,

Dylan & Kat