Home News Residents of longtime Carmel neighborhood oppose $133M project – Indianapolis Business Journal

Residents of longtime Carmel neighborhood oppose $133M project – Indianapolis Business Journal

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Residents of the 60-year-old Carmel district are fighting a $ 133 million redevelopment project that extends to the backyard.

Pure Development Inc., based in Indianapolis, Merchants Bank, based in Carmel, Indiana, Buckingham Cos, developer based in Indianapolis. , Third Street Ventures will redevelop the site of the former AT & T Building at 210 3rd Ave. SW.

The project includes a six-story building with 244 luxury condominiums, an 80,000-square-foot Merchants Bank headquarters expansion, a 15,000-square-foot headquarters for Pure Development, and has not yet been announced.


The apartment building will include 443 spaces of parking and the project will include solar components.

Two new single-family homes will be built on Emerson Roads 449 and 451 in the Johnson Additions district, built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. According to Henry Mestetsky, Executive Secretary of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, new homes will replace homes purchased with pure development at double the market value.

“We’re going to confirm that [the project is] It was integrated into Midtown, “Mestetsky said.

On May 16, the Carmel City Council approved $ 20.5 million in TIF bonds for the project. This will take place before the June 27th Carmel Zoning Appeal.

Residents of the Johnson Addition have expressed opposition to previous AT & T site plans. They oppose six-story apartments, worry about rising traffic and housing costs, and fear the future of their neighborhood.

The multipurpose proposal on the right replaces the vacant old AT & T building on 210 3rd Ave (IBJ Photo / EricLearned)

Charlie Demler, who has lived in Johnson Addition for 42 years, is dissatisfied with the purchase and demolishing of two homes just east of his home. He does not want multiple trees to be cut down and the two plots split to provide space for the building that houses Pure Development and the second undecided company.

According to the figures provided by the city, he is also worried about his privacy given the height of the 70-foot apartment, which is more than 100 feet away from his property. Current zoning regulations allow buildings up to 75 feet high to be built on the premises.

“They overlook my backyard and my pool,” Demler said. “It will affect me more than anyone else.”

Demler is an informal neighborhood leader who runs the Johnson Addition and Wilson Village’s Facebook group to the south. He is always present at Carmel City meetings when the redevelopment project is on the agenda.

“I raised my child here,” Demler told IBJ. “It’s a great neighborhood. It’s very family friendly. It’s affordable. It’s just one of the last few really nice and affordable districts in Carmel.”

Larger midtown

However, Carmel officials are promoting the project as a continuous expansion of the bustling Midtown area.

“Obviously Midtown is a place [where companies] I want to be, and everyone else wants to be, “said Mestetsky. “It’s very exciting because we can turn old AT & T buildings and lots of vacant lots into continuous growth in this vibrant area.”

Pure Development Principal Adam Seger told the Carmel City Council on April 16 that Midtown is “the place it should be.”

“We are excited to be there,” Seger said. “We are excited to move our Pure headquarters there and do a lot of work with Merchants Bank in its expansion.”

Pure development authorities did not return IBJ’s call for comment.

Jim Brainard

Mayor Jim Brainard urged the area to be transformed from abandoned buildings into skyscrapers, apartments, offices, retail stores and parking lots. This project helped connect the City Center and the Arts & Design District to a seamless and walkable urban environment.

“I heard from people that they wanted downtown,” Brainard said. “They wanted an area that was easy to walk in and pedestrian friendly.”

Midtown has grown into a large-scale multipurpose development over the last decade. A place to live, work and play, it is now home to Allied Solutions LLC, Carmel Midtown Flats and Sun King Spirits.

The redevelopment of the AT & T site is one of four projects currently underway for Carmel’s core core, dominated by a total of $ 324 million in apartments.

The other three projects are:

The concourse is a $ 55 million multipurpose development built by Carmel-based Pedcor Management Corp. just south of the Midtown water tower near the Monon Greenway. It features 99 luxury apartments, 23,000 square feet of office and commercial space, and 229 spaces of public parking.

Carmel-based Edward Rose & Sons has developed $ 76 million on the corner of Old Meridian Street and Main Street, making East Ridge Plaza 266 luxury condominiums, 22 condominiums, 9,720 square feet of office and commercial space, 581. Replace with. -Space public parking.

A $ 60 million project being developed by Old Meridian Apartments, a cross-development based in the suburbs of Dallas between Blueberger Bar and Home 2 Suites on Old Meridian Street. This includes 263 luxury condominiums, 10 condominiums, 9,000 square feet of office and commercial space, and 395 public parking spaces.

If all four projects were developed according to plan, 872 apartments and over 1,600 parking spaces would be added to the city.

“Downtown Carmel was once a less attractive industrial area, and it’s really cool to see this continuous change in these things,” said Mestetsky. “Usually people don’t buy old warehouses and invest $ 130 million, but it’s really exciting to see such an investment as Midtown has changed.”

When the AT & T site project is completed, Mestetsky said the site’s valuation is expected to increase from $ 300,000 per acre to $ 15 million per acre, benefiting everyone in the region. rice field.

However, residents of Johnson Addition, which existed long before the city began developing downtown, feared that the project could be the first of many invasions into the neighborhood. say.

The multipurpose proposal on the right replaces the vacant old AT & T building in 210 3rd Ave. SW above. (Rendering by the courtesy of Carmel City)

Not their first fight

Demler isn’t against redevelopment, but expects to continue within Johnson Addition, further down the industrial drive east-west along the AT & T site.

“If there is a property available, it will continue to happen everywhere,” he said.

Demler and his neighbors are trying to stop the redevelopment to keep the area old-fashioned and affordable as other old homes near the Arts & Design District, Midtown and Carmel City Center are being redeveloped. I have tried.

In 2014, when Johnson Addition was afraid of being on the verge of redevelopment, they began fighting for it to be designated as a protected area. commission.

The proposal passed slightly through the city council that fall, but was later rejected by Brainard. The city council never voted to overturn Brainard’s veto, and the protection sought by the inhabitants was not implemented.

In 2015, some neighbors failed to work with staff in the city’s community services department to create an overlay zone that provided protection similar to protected areas.

Residents won in 2019 when AZRHaver LLC succeeded in demolishing the 7Sherman Drive home and preventing it from being transformed into a four-unit townhouse. This is a controversial project that did not get the support it needed from city leaders. It bears fruit.

Mestetsky said the goal of Carmel’s redevelopment was not to disrupt established neighborhoods.

“We are not here to enter the neighborhood,” he said. “We want to protect our neighborhood, but we never miss a one-story warehouse.”

“Loss battle”

The current commitment for Demler and his Johnson Addition neighbors is the lack of a direct representative of the central district of the city council.

Bruce Kimball, the representative of the Central District, has been away from the council since he suffered a stroke in December 2020.

In December 2021, the city council passed an ordinance that adopted a procedure to declare vacant seats if members were unable to perform their duties. The ordinance requires a resolution, an impeachment bill, and a two-thirds majority vote to dismiss a member.


City council member Sue Fincam said a situation like Johnson Addition was the reason for introducing a resolution at the city council meeting on May 16 to begin the process of declaring Kimball’s vacancy.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars in the backyard of the residents of the Central District. They have the support of all of us in the council, but those who can specifically vote for what they want or donate. No one is there. I don’t want to, “Fincam said. “I firmly believe that it is a disadvantage to those inhabitants.”

When the council split the 4-4 vote, the resolution declaring Kimball’s vacancy failed. Fincam said he plans to return to the issue this fall.

Demler is dissatisfied with the lack of representatives as he seeks answers about the redevelopment next door.

“fact [Kimball is] There is no sadness on his part, on the side of his family, but we felt taxed without a representative, “Demler said. “”[It’s] $ 133 million has been negotiated here and no one speaks as a direct representative. “

He said most of the people at Johnson Addition are retired. Many have lived there for 20 to 30 years, and their children have taken over their homes from their parents.

“We love the neighborhood,” Demler said. “We are fighting a losing battle. Unfortunately, it just piles up against us and feels unfair.” ••

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