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Fishers / Hamilton County / Regional News

Developer wants Fishers to take over Saxony Beach

November 15, 2013

Saxony HallFoundation work is Saxony Hallunder way for the next phase of Republic Development Corp.’s Saxony Village project, which includes a lakefront community building that it wants to turn over to the town of Fishers along with Saxony Beach.

Situated on a 20-acre man-made lake just north of 131st Street in the Saxony development, the 300-foot stretch of sand has been open to the public for the last two summers. Lifeguards watch over a roped-off swimming area, and a private vendor rents kayaks and other water-sports equipment.

Now the developer and town are working on an agreement that calls for the beach and planned community building to be owned and operated by Fishers.

The town and Republic would split the $1.1 million cost of constructing the 4,500-square-foot Saxony Hall, which could house parks programs and special events. Once it’s complete, the developer would dedicate the land and building to the town in exchange for $586,100 in future park-impact fee credits.

Fishers then would be responsible for maintaining the building, lake and beach as a public park facility. Officials estimated expenses at about $100,000 a year, including the cost of hiring a firm to provide and manage lifeguards.

Town Manager Scott Fadness said officials have been impressed by the popularity of the beach, which drew 20,000-plus visitors this year. The town also was drawn to the opportunity to add a public community building in what he said is an area under-served by parks facilities.

“We weren’t in the market for beachfront, but the offer was intriguing to us,” he said. “It’s a unique amenity for the town.”

Officials hope to finalize the deal and complete design work over the winter so construction can begin next spring. If all goes as planned, the building (and its public restrooms) could open before the end of beach season, said Sean McKinnies, senior vice president of Saxony Management Co.

In addition to housing parks programs, a town-owned Saxony Hall would be available to rent for special events. The single-story building could accommodate about 150 guests at eight-foot round tables, McKinnies said.

When it’s completely built out, Saxony’s Lake District could have as much as 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 600 multifamily housing units, he said.

If the foundation work gets done before Mother Nature turns down the thermostat for good this year, the first lakefront mixed-use building could “go vertical” before the beach opens, McKinnies said. Plans call for a two-story, 8,700-square-foot building with ground-floor restaurant space and four loft apartments.

“We hope to land a tenant in time to open [the building] with the beach in early summer,” he said. “That will give the restaurant operator the opportunity to take advantage of the season.”

An 11,000-square-foot office/retail building overlooking the lake also is planned.

What’s your take on the proposal(s)?

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