Will retail follow rooftops in Village of WestClay?

July 22, 2013
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If the “retail follows rooftops” real estate mantra is true, The Village of WestClay may soon see the commercial development its founders envisioned more than a decade ago.

Home-building activity in the upscale neighborhood is up 46 percent this year compared to the first six months of 2012, and at least two retail projects are in the works for its largely undeveloped business districts. (Subscribers: Read my full story here.)

With only about 100 home sites remaining in the 1,700-unit community—and other residential projects rising from the west Carmel cornfields—developer George Sweet is hopeful that the time finally is right for retail to take off.

“I think everyone here would rather have the commercial [development] completely done,” acknowledged Sweet, president of Brenwick Development. “But the people weren’t here, so we couldn’t sustain it.”

Plans call for a total of 275,000 square feet of commercial development in two locations:  the town-square-like Village Center Shoppes in the heart of community, and the Uptown district at Main Street and Towne Road.

Sweet said the economic downturn slowed its progress, but momentum appears to be building as consumers—and business owners—gain confidence. A gas station and convenience store is planned for Uptown, he said, and a microbrewery is in the works for Village Center.

Several high-profile vacancies in the central business district are tied to a property owner’s legal woes, but Sweet said several restaurant operators have expressed interest in at least one of the buildings—most recently home to a neighborhood market.

Although the Village Center lacks drive-by visibility, experts said it is intended to be supported by residents of the community, which was designed to be walkable.

What’s your take on the Village of WestClay and its progress so far?


  • Nothing but Crickets Chirping
    I drive through the Village quite frequently and I don't think there are enough homes to support many of the businesses still left, let along the vacancies and all the empty commercial lots. An extra 100 homes won't help. For a chance to survive, they need so called "destination businesses" that draw people in from outside the village without signage (maybe a chain from the "not a chain" Patachou or something similar, that draws people no matter where they are located). I foresee a lot of the empty lots becoming apartments with office or retail space on the ground floor, thus increasing the density and bringing more customers.

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?