A commercial corridor brimming with office buildings, similar to the one along U.S. 31 in Carmel, is what Noblesville city planners envision for the 146th Street extension from State Road 37 to Interstate 69.
Ground is expected to be broken this fall on the four-mile extension, which will make the street a major east-west thoroughfare through the south side of Noblesville if finished as planned in October 2007.
The street is already a busy route across much of Hamilton County, especially through Carmel, but it comes to an abrupt halt at Cumberland Road, one block east of S.R. 37.
"The unique thing about [the extension] is that it creates a whole new corridor that has never existed before," said Chris Hamm, economic development director for the city of Noblesville. "This is the golden spike, the final piece."
The extension, which will run from S.R. 37 southeast to Greenfield Avenue, just before it meets the Exit 10 interchange on I-69, is vital to Noblesville's mammoth Corporate Campus project north of 141st Street. The 3,600-acre plot is planned as the city hub for commercial and residential development.
Hamilton Town Center will represent the retail component of the campus. Indi- anapolis developer Simon Property Group Inc. and local development partner Gershman Brown & Associates plan to open the center near the Exit 10 interchange by the spring of 2008.
Construction is expected to begin later this summer on the $135 million, 950,000-square-foot open-air center, making it nearly twice the size of Simon's upscale shopping development Clay Terrace in Carmel.
With that much retail planned for the eastern portion of the extension and a large cluster existing nearby on S.R. 37 to the west, city planners are hesitant to add more.
"There is a possibility at the Promise Road intersection, but we're trying to limit the amount of retail to preserve the corridor to have a real office feel to it," Hamm said. "We spent a lot of time master-planning it for what we want for the future."
The strategy makes sense because 146th Street is one of the major connector corridors north of Indianapolis, said Abbe Hohmann, senior vice president and land expert at the local office of St. Louisbased Colliers Turley Martin Tucker.
The road ultimately will connect to Interstate 70 to the east of Indianapolis via Olio and Mount Comfort roads. To the west it will extend into Boone County after a road is built near State Road 32. That someday could be linked to the stillto-be-constructed Ronald Reagan Parkway in Hendricks County, a north-south corridor connecting I-70 and I-74 through Plainfield, Avon and Brownsburg.
Hohmann said zoning requirements are likely to make office development along 146th Street in Noblesville different from that along Meridian Street in Carmel. The Noblesville extension is zoned for officeflex development, whereas the Carmel corridor is zoned for Class A office space.
"It will still be high-quality and certainly will provide a lot of amenities for people who live in proximity," said Hohmann, "and should be a good economic driver for the city of Noblesville."
Health care concentration
The 146th Street corridor already includes a concentration of health care providers and is expected to lure more.
Noblesville's Riverview Hospital carved its space in July 2005 when it opened the $5.2 million Riverview Health Park at the southeast corner of 146th and Hazel Dell Parkway well west of the extension. The health park includes a primary and urgent care center, and a fitness center that includes outpatient rehabilitation services.
The hospital now has plans to occupy a 40,000-square-foot office building at 146th and Cumberland, where 146th now stops and the extension will begin.
The project is a partnership between the hospital and its physicians and will include cardiology, orthopedic, obstetrician-gynecology and pediatric care. Podiatry, ophthalmology and surgical services may be available as well.
Riverview's project is part of a development that could include five office build- ings on the southwest corner of the intersection.
"It's going to be a hyper-growth area," said Jared Stark, Riverview's vice president of professional services. "Certainly, the extension was an interest of high importance to us. It certainly made the property more attractive."
Clarian Health Partners is sold on the corridor's need for medical facilities. It started construction in May on a 40,272-square-foot medical office building near the northwest corner of 146th and Hazel Dell Parkway, several miles west of the extension.
The Indianapolis hospital network has a much bigger goal in mind. It has submitted plans to build up to 450,000 square feet of medical office space in four buildings on the nearly 40 acres of land it owns nearby.
Some of the area's residential growth will come from the 725-acre Saxony development spanning both sides of I-69 at Exit 10. While commercial development will make up about 75 percent of the development, it will contain 1,300 town homes and single-family homes.
Community Health Network opened a 50,000-square-foot health pavilion last August in Saxony.
Saxony and the Hamilton Town Center alone make the 146th Street extension necessary, said Mark Perlstein, a partner and retail expert with local developer The Linder Co. Most of the four-mile extension will have four lanes, with the road widening to six lanes near Exit 10.
"I think it will totally change the complexion of that side of town," Perlstein said. "A lot of that will be going through a residential section, but no question that when the connection happens, it will have a significant impact on the potential for commercial development to pick up in the area."
The nearest major east-west thoroughfare on the north side is 116th Street. Once the extension is finished, traffic flow on 146th should be similar, Perlstein said.
But developers agree that the buildup along the extension will take years.
"I don't think you'll see a land rush of suburban office space being developed along the corridor," said Tim Stevens, director of development for Mann Properties, which has developed many properties in Fishers and Noblesville. "But whenever you have that good of a connection to other roadways in Hamilton County, I wouldn't count it out."
The city of Noblesville acquired the land for the extension and is funding it by closing on $52.9 million in bonds.