Apartment developer plans 217 units in Lawrence

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Developer J.C. Hart Co. is designing plans for a $17 million upscale apartment community in Lawrence.

The New Urbanist project, part of the master-planned Lawrence Village at the Fort, will consist of 217 mostly one- and two-bedroom units with some three-bedrooms. Rents will range from about $700 to $1,000 per month.

The Carmel-based developer has agreed to pay $1.2 million to the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority for the parcels it plans to develop along the new Otis Avenue, near the YMCA and Fort Harrison State Park. It also has an option to buy more land for a second phase that would add about 35 units.

Preliminary plans call for apartments built to the streets, with parking spaces hidden behind. The buildings would extend into the neighborhood, rather than being grouped together. Designs would vary. The main building at the corner of Wheeler Road and Otis Avenue would include a first floor that's convertible to retail space if demand eventually warrants.

"The whole idea is to be part of a thriving mixed-use development that'll give our residents the opportunity to come home at night, park their car and walk to get dinner or find entertainment," said company president John C. Hart Jr. "It will be rather unique in that we'll have buildings and units spread throughout the redevelopment area."

The company submitted a letter of intent to build the project this month. IBJ first reported on the plans in a January story about J.C. Hart's $100 million bet on apartments in Hamilton County.

Luring J.C. Hart is a coup for Lawrence Village at the Fort, the 90-acre final phase of a decade-long redevelopment of the former Army base, said Kris Butler, executive director of the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority.

The roughly 700 apartment units within the boundaries of the old Fort Ben are more than 90-percent occupied, she said. The new apartments also will help feed demand for the retail and commercial components of Lawrence Village.

"I think things could happen fairly quickly for us," Butler said.

The Lawrence Village plan calls for a new downtown with shops, offices and public plazas mixed among condos, townhouses and apartments. The area to be developed is bounded by Post and Lee roads and 59th and 56th streets.

The project started last year with a $9 million installation of streets, landscaping, utilities, lighting, three parks, signage, rain gardens, raised median planters and entrance columns. More than 350 trees will be planted along streets featuring bike lanes, sidewalks and on-street parking.

Plans for the community were developed by the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority in partnership with Carmel-based Eden Land & Design Inc., the city of Lawrence and Indianapolis-based Browning Investments Inc.

Only about 73 acres remain of the 2,500 acres left by Fort Ben's closure in 1995. The Reuse Authority has led the efforts to redevelop about 500 acres.


  • Expansion
    Lawrence expansion will have a great positive impact on the community, but we want to keep in mind to continue to provide affordable living because of single parent families in the area and Lawrence Township schools are still nearby. Alot, of homeownwers are downsizing because of the economy but still would like to live in the close area where they previous resided in.
  • Lawrence Taxes
    One percent of assessed value at the most. Property taxes in Lawrence Township are not high unless your house is very valuable.
  • Lawrence Taxes
    Why do you say Lawrence taxes are high? I thought in Indiana everyone paid 1%.
    • new J.C. Hart project
      Upcoming J.C. Hart project
    • Urban Design
      I find it amusing that this project sounds more sensitive to urban design goals than JC Hart's Waverley project that was actually built in an urban environment.
    • Public Transit missing in Lawrence
      I live in Indy but work in Lawrence. Lawrence, with high property taxes, doesn't support mass transit. Hopefully they will with the new master plan and that would be a plus for this development.

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    1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

    2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

    3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

    4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

    5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.