Apartments and Residential Real Estate and Mixed-Use and Hamilton County and Westfield and Development/Redevelopment and Amateur Sports and Regional News and Sports/Recreation and Real Estate & Retail and Sports Business

Westfield residents to hear plans for $1B development

June 21, 2010

The public will get its chance to weigh in Monday evening on a Hamilton County home builder's plans for a nearly $1 billion mixed-used development in Westfield that could include a 5,000-seat multipurpose stadium.

Details of the project are set to be discussed at a public hearing of the city’s Advisory Plan Commission, which likely will not vote on the development for several weeks, Mayor Andy Cook said.

The Estridge Cos. of Carmel is asking Westfield to invest $70 million in the project to fund roads and sewers, as well as the stadium,  which has a preliminary price tag of $15 million.

Establishing a tax-increment financing district could help the city pay for the infrastructure improvements and stadium project, Cook said.

“We will make our decision based purely on what is best for the city of Westfield in the long run,” he said.

Estridge’s proposed development, called Symphony, would cover 1,500 acres along Towne Road between 146th and 161st streets. It would include 3,000 homes, condominiums and apartments, in addition to retail shops, restaurants and hotels. The project already features the Wood Wind Golf Club.

Carmel-based developer J.C. Hart is proposing a $30 million, roughly 300-unit apartment project at the entrance to Symphony.

As IBJ reported last year, the massive Symphony development would be anchored by a sports component that would include the stadium, as well as a youth sports complex with indoor sports facilities and fields for baseball, soccer, softball and lacrosse.

The city hopes to attract an unaffiliated minor-league baseball team to play in the outdoor stadium, and also hopes to lure the YMCA as a major tenant. YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has only one branch in Hamilton County, in Fishers.

It’s all part of the mayor’s vision to establish the fast-growing Hamilton County suburb as the “Family Sports Capital of America.” The city has a population of more than 20,000 people.

Three developers, including Estridge, have responded to requests to submit plans for the youth sports complex, which is not part of Estridge’s Symphony proposal. A location has yet to been determined, and it will be several weeks before a developer is named, Cook said.

A benefit of creating the 200-acre sports complex is that it could help the city spread the tax burden to something other than residential development.

“That is our very reason for looking at this sports facility,” the mayor said.

The city worked with the Hamilton County Convention & Visitors Bureau to create a Family Sports Advisory Commission to coordinate the development.
 
Hamilton County already has attracted premier youth sports events, including the national championship for AAU Division II 11-and-under girls’ basketball last June and the Continental Athletic Baseball Association World Series last July.

Still, the mayor realizes that such a large development could face opposition.

“Like any development, I’m sure there’ll be pros and cons,” Cook said, “but we’re very excited about it.”

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