Buggs Temple, formerly known as the Simpson African Methodist Episcopal Church, had a rich history with early African American influences in the late 1800s and jazz and gospel influences in the early 1900s. The church had been vacant while the City of Indianapolis re-created the Canal Walk to generate pedestrian traffic and cultural substance to a historically functional element of the old City.
Buggs Temple was completely renovated; it was essentially torn down to the shell and methodically built back up with repaired wood support framing (where needed), new steel framed interior floor systems, an elevator, and circulation and egress stairs to meet current code. The masonry facade was meticulously restored and a curved, multi-level outdoor patio with fabric canopies were added to the building to provide sanctuary from the elements for future diners. The wrap-around ground floor plaza also provided an accessible transition between the main floor level and the canal level. A hidden gem is the second-floor exterior balcony with outstanding views of the Indianapolis skyline and canal basin.
Although the building has seen its fair share of ownership changes over the past few years, it is nestled in some of Indianapolis's best Downtown real estate and should have a long, prosperous future.