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$30M Keystone mixed-use project seeks city approval

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A $30 million, mixed-use project proposed for the southwest corner of 86th Street and Keystone Avenue will take what could be the first step toward city approval this week, but a prominent neighborhood group objects to the plan.

Hendricks Commercial Properties wants to build a five-story, L-shaped building with more than 36,000 square feet of ground-level retail space and 130 high-end apartments on the upper floors. Construction of the building, which would replace the vacant Woodfield Centre retail strip, could start this spring and be complete by the end of the year, said Mike Cook, the local attorney representing the Beloit, Wis., developer.

Dubbed Ironworks at Keystone Village, the project has grown since last May, when it was being promoted to potential tenants at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas. At that time, Hendricks envisioned a four-story building with 40 fewer apartments and about 30,000 square feet of retail space.

The height of the building, about 68 feet, and its closeness to 86th Street are the main sticking points for the Nora-Northside Community Council, whose board voted unanimously Jan. 3 to oppose the project.

"Our brand is beautification of the 86th Street corridor," said Ruth Hayes, president of the group. She said "putting a 5-/12-story brick wall up against the street" is counter to that beautification goal.

Hayes is concerned that the Ironworks project, named for a project Hendricks developed in Beloit, could set a precedent for more mid-rise buildings being allowed up against 86th Street.

Urban planners typically applaud the idea of buildings built at the street edge, but along 86th Street it's more common to see parking lots screened by landscaping hugging the street. Ironworks calls for 365 surface parking spaces behind the building and 184 underground spaces.

Nora-Northside will remonstrate when the project comes before the Metropolitan Development Commission hearing examiner Jan. 10. The project is likely to be heard by the full Metropolitan Development Commission Feb. 6 regardless of the hearing examiner's recommendation.

Though the 6.4-acre property is already developed for commercial use, the site's commercial-special zoning category requires that anything built there go through the zoning process. Hendricks' petition also seeks approval for a 4,050-square-foot commercial structure to be built on an outlot south of the main building.

Retail real estate brokers told IBJ for a story last June that Ironworks, which would be built along one of the richest retail corridors in the state, could easily command rents in the $30-per-square-foot range. The site is across the street from the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing, which houses the only Indiana location for Saks and other high-end retailers.

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  • Need new blood
    Someone needs to replace Ruth Hayes. I'm not volunteering mind you, but she rules with an iron fist and fails to acknowledge the progress that Nora needs to embrace in order to remain relevant. What was she doing to help the businesses that slowly atrophied in the existing setting (which met her design guideline?)
  • Nora Northside
    In my humble opinion, there is no greater example of a small, vocal minority that claims to speak for the majority than Nora Northside. This will get approved, though, because not a soul listens to what Nora says these days.
  • Compromise
    I live in Nora and I agree with some of the other comments about Nora not wanting to move forward. I believe this neighborhood is desirable based on location and amenities, however it appears the Association does not want to improve on it. I agree the traffic will be a concern but lets hope the different parties can come to an agreement on leveling this eyesore strip mall.
  • Setback
    Idyllic -- Your eyes don't deceive you. Technically the proposal is only 10' from the 86th ROW and code says they need to be 21'. However, the swale next to the street is in the ROW and the developer proposes an outdoor seating area to the north of the building. Add those up and the building is actually 55' from the edge of the 86th St. pavement. But they still need a variance.
  • Say what Ruth?
    I clicked on the link, but I couldn't find the brick wall up against the street or sidewalk. It looks like the building is set back quite a bit from the street. Is the rendering misleading? It looks like quite an improvement.
  • Looks decent
    I almost choked when I read Ruth Haye's comment about "our brand is beautification of the 86th St corridor." The newest development of a site is a Taco Bell next to a Jimmy John's and that helps? Time for the Nora Council to drop its mulish opposition to the neighborhood joining the 21st century and let some modern development take place. I do have some concerns about traffic but I think there is more to be gained by more retail and residents than potential problems.
  • Project Renderings
    Project renderings can be seen here; http://www.hendricksgroup.net/property/details.aspx?a=46
  • no different
    Why is this bldg. anymore displeasing than the other commercial bldg.s immediately to the south and west of where this one would go. To the west of this bldg is a furniture store and long term hotel. The only difference is this will sit a little higher than the current bldgs. Also this is an intersection of Keystone and 465. Its not pretty to begin with and what person would try to "walk" that close to all that car traffic.Even if I were to live there I would drive over to Keystone at the Crossing
  • Translation
    Nora - We want walkable, community oriented design so we can walk to shops and restaurants and it will be a peaceful place to raise a family. Nora real life - we are scared of people and proximity and want parking lots for cars to be our gateway.
  • Ironworks
    More apartments added to Ironworks

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