Controversial Broad Ripple office project not dead yet

February 25, 2014
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A controversial plan to demolish two homes along North College Avenue in Broad Ripple to make way for a two-story office building has been thrown a lifeline in a bizarre, procedural twist.

                              office building Broad Ripple 225pxMembers of the Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday voted 5-3 to reject the proposal from Scott Lindenberg and Thomas Willey, who operate Reliant Partners Commercial Realty on Westfield Boulevard.

The pair had planned to invest $1.5 million in the 5,700-square-foot proposal.

But the Department of Metropolitan Development has announced that another vote on the project will be taken March 19.

That’s because MDC member Bruce Schumacher looked as though he marked both the “yes” and “no” boxes when a part of his signature on the ballot spilled into the "no" box, causing the MDC's secretary to misread his ballot, DMD said. His vote changes the tally to a 4-4 tie, requiring the petition to be reheard.

“We just feel appreciative that we have another opportunity to be heard again,” Lindenberg said.

Their proposal to demolish the aging bungalows at 5915 and 5925 N. College Ave. already has sparked contentious debate among residents in the neighborhood.

One of the more outspoken critics of the redevelopment is Clare Fox, who owns the commercial building at 5901 N. College Ave., immediately south of the homes. Fox operated Fox Studios there for 33 years until it closed in July.

“The Envision [Broad Ripple] plan calls Kessler and College a gateway to the Broad Ripple Village that should speak to the village character,” she told commission members Wednesday. “These homes are an integral part of that village character. The proposed building is not.”

The Broad Ripple Village Association’s development committee had voted 10-1 to support the project, believing the two homes were close enough to commercial activity to be sacrificed.

“Our interpretation [of Envision Broad Ripple] is that a commercial node should be treated differently than mid-block residential areas, particularly on these arteries that have potential for mass transit,” Brooke Klejnot, executive director of the BRVA, told IBJ before the commission’s vote.

  • Great news!
    Thanks for the update Scott. This is great news who want Broad Ripple and Indianapolis to move forward and not be stuck in the past. Please keep us updated with the time of the new hearing, so its just not the vocal minority that gets their voice heard.
    • The Ballot was confusing
      This is just too funny.
    • Seriously!
      If someone is not smart enough to vote only once, I don't think they should be voting at all. Something strange here.
    • Well....
      That's one way to get another vote. So, if this does go through and the homes are torn down. Doesn't that mean the commercial "node" has move further to the north, thus you can remove more homes because they are adjacent to the "node" and just keep going? This is going to be mainly office space, not retail, so not much need for mass transit. Besides, who said Indianapolis has mass transit? I have nothing against the developers, and wish them well in a different location.
    • Developers
      So you wish developers well in another area? So you don't want people to invest in Broad Ripple? It needs to stay the same? How is that a winning strategy. Also, why don't you just mind your own business unless you have an actual negative externality that this development causes. I assume you do not own the property.
      • Further Clarification
        As the other partner in this project I can assure you our vision have always been towards Broad Ripple and this College Ave corridor. We live, work and support this area and are convicted to make this project work through multiple concessions. Yes the vote was confusing but an honest mistake, plain and simple. We welcome input/support and all constructive comments.
      • Already a business district
        So it's okay for Clare Fox to have a business for 33 years just south of this location, but she doesn't want any other businesses near her building? Sounds kinda hypocritical if you ask me.
      • I welcome
        new development with responsible management. This pre-occupation with the' 'character' of a particular project usually boils down to turf protection. Broad Ripple is not a time capsule.
      • LOL
        Did someone really say since this will be "office space, not retail" then that means the development wouldn't use mass transit? LOL. WOW. I guess mass transit users only use transit to go shopping.
        • thanks Maria
          I had to do a triple take on that comment about mass transit also: very confusing? Not sure how to take it, but I'm just relieved somebody else noticed, LOL!
        • Mass transit...
          I understand that the owners will occupy the vast majority of the space with a small section set for retail. I doubt vey much that their clients will use the bus, especially if they want to get there on time.
        • Paul..
          Paul, sorry I hit some kind of nerve. Did I say no new Broad Ripple development?. There a quite a few locations in the area for this project, I just like to see a little preservation now and then. As for minding my own business....
          • Bollocks!
            This is pure politics.... BRVA ok's "believing the two homes were close enough to commercial activity to be sacrificed".....with that rational, all BR Village are up for a vote! Shite!
          • Development
            I feel that stifling development like this is bad for Broad Ripple and it is bad for Indianapolis as a whole. By all means save historic important structures. But these houses? Where do you draw the line? In my opinion people should be able to develop their own land as they see fit unless people can come up with a reasonable negative externality as a reason they should not. That's great you have other places this should go, but the developers chose, bought, and own this land. Not the land you speak of. Houses are converted to commerical properties because it is cheap and can suite someone's needs. The owner has clearly seen that these houses will not fit his needs and will pay for them to be demolished and in place constructed a new building that will make for a more productive use of this land.
          • chads
            I happened to receive copies of the "misread" ballots. The one in question had a clearly marked "X" for approval, and part of a loop in the voter's signature extending into the "no" box. Maybe it's just me, but that's really, really funny...

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