Broad Ripple project takes heat at Village meeting

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The developer of a proposed residential and retail project in Broad Ripple faced stiff opposition, and occasional jeering and catcalls, from area residents during a meeting Thursday evening of the Broad Ripple Village Association.

“I would be against this project,” local resident David Duvall told IBJ newsgathering partner Fox59. “It’s out of scale with the neighborhood.”

Browning Investments Inc. has staked out about two acres northeast of the intersection of College Avenue and the Central Canal for the $18 million project. It would include 35,000 square feet of retail space—currently earmarked for a Whole Foods—a parking garage and as many as 88 apartment units.

Tempers often flared at a BRVA meeting Thursday night, in which members of the public were invited to listen to Browning’s pitch and sound off on the project. At one point, an association leader had to admonish the crowd for “getting way out of control.”

Residents expressed concern about how the development would affect traffic and potentially change the character of the low-rise neighborhood, which even in its commercial sections has managed to maintain a residential quality.

City officials have yet to rule on zoning changes that would allow the project to move forward.

Another issue dogging the project is the potential use of tax-increment financing to help fund development. The project is within the North Midtown TIF district, which was established to help finance new projects in struggling neighborhoods. City-County Councilor John Barth, who pushed for the creation of the district, has told IBJ he thinks Broad Ripple is attractive enough on its own to garner private investment.


  • Needed progress!!
    It is great to read positive comments on this article! I was afraid the vocal minority at the meeting would continue to be the only people to speak up! The majority are older residence who don't want to change anything. We need new blood in Broad Ripple. College age kids are used to living in a more quality apartment than I did, which was only 15 years ago. I live 2 blocks south of Broad Ripple Ave and the office our company just bought is 4 blocks north of Broad Ripple Ave-one block east of College and we (my wife and I AND our office) could not be more excited for this type of project. Along w/ the 10-01 building, the United Package site, the parking garage, the new building on Westfield just north of the canal, etc. Please move forward with the project. We need to continue to encourage progress!
  • BR project
    I used to attend many movies at the Vogue Growing up I remembered when it wen't XXX. THIS is good for Broad Ripple. It will be a nice addition to the area. Better then a broken down gas station.
  • BrdRipl Guy
    Bring in a Trader Joe's NOT Whole Foods...a boring waste of land & project opportunity...
  • Bring It To Irvington
    Irvington is up and coming much like Fountain Square. We would love to have something like this in our neighborhood!
  • From another BR resident
    I hope people realize that the 'vocal' opposition at the meeting represent the minority of people against this project. As with any controversial project - those who don't want it are the loudest, while those who like it or really don't care one way or the other don't come to such meetings. Unfortunately the same may be true of the survey now being offered by the BRVA. I live less than a 5 minute walk from BR Avenue and can tell you that I and most of my neighbors are support this exciting project, or are ambivalent. And how great that it includes quality apartments - something that BR sorely lacks. This is a first class opportunity that we should embrace (and no, I'm not with the BRVA or the developer.) As for the fellow who owns the Good Earth store, if he doesn't want competition then let him pull together his own investors and out bid Whole Foods to operate the proposed grocery component! Come on folks - let's move ahead.
  • Uptown in Minneapolis
    I frequently travel to Minneapolis on business. The last time I was there I had meetings in the Uptown neighborhood. I remember saying to myself, wouldn't it be cool to see Broad Ripple evolve into something like this. The look, feel and atmosphere is nearly identical to BR, the only difference is intermixed with the traditional bungalows and storefronts are cool mixed unit developments such as the one proposed here. I understand the fear of too fast, too soon, however I believe that all of the opponents would be pleasantly surprised to see just how well these types of developments integrate with enclaves such as BR. Also, the tenants who live in these units are overwhelmingly the type of new residents you want for this area, young professionals who spend money. One interesting item to note, despite at minimum the 5-6 developments similar to the one proposed for BR, there was no obvious traffic jams, on the contrary, a great deal of vibrant foot traffic during all hours of the day. This was also my experience, we parked our rental car there around 11, walked to a very cool Cuban/Asian fusion restaurant for lunch (one of the many cool local restaurant options), met with two different customers, walked to Lake Calhoun to kill time, conducted a customer audit, walked to dinner (a great local seafood spot), checked out a local band at a great gastropub, then ended our night people watching while walking back to our car to head back to our hotel in Medina, MN. Of the 7-8 hours we spent in Uptown, we did as the locals did, we walked everywhere. I say all of this because I love BR as much as everyone else on this board and as a young professional myself, I could see myself moving to BR if it offered the same residential amenities as Uptown. **and please no snarky remarks telling me that I should just move to Uptown...trust me, it would be amazing, however my heart is in Indy**
  • PR Work
    It's funny to see the work of the Browning and Whole Foods PR people in the comments section posting fake messages in support of this project. You see they repeat the same thing over and over again. That's how they know they're fake. They're using a script to hit their talking points.
  • BRVA
    I see every member of the BRVA board is on here posting comments in favor of the project. The vast majority of the people who live and work in Broad Ripple doesn't support this project. That's not a surprise. BRVA rarely supports what the people in Broad Ripple want and are always for handing over our tax dollars to politically-connected developers. Those geniuses after all supported the elimination of two traffic lanes on Broad Ripple Avenue for bicycle lanes.) The notion that Broad Ripple needs more "density" is ridiculous. Broad Ripple doesn't have the infrastructure to support more population. The traffic is positively horrible, especially the intersection where this development is going in. The idea someone else said that this five story apartment building will encourage people to walk and ride their bike is liberal nonsense. Those people will have jobs and will have to drive to get to them. We need to get rid of the BRVA, or at least the idiots that run the organization.
  • To Laura-moving forward
    Laura-the festivals and tastings are free. What does is strengthen the sense of community with activities. What are those empty lots doing for the Village? it's sad you can't see the good that this progress can do for the area. No one is requiring anyone to shop there. I guess you'd rather see a Dollar store move in or no, we'd rather see the property stand empty b/c change is out of the question.
  • Good Project
    For the people concerned about traffic, you should know that mixed-use projects (like the one being proposed), actually allows for and encourages more people to walk and bike, thereby mitigating additional automobile traffic. If we continue to design and build suburban-type projects in the City (i.e. automobile-oriented projects), we are not offering anything different from what the suburbs offer, which means we will continue to lose jobs/people to the suburbs. The reason Broad Ripple is somewhat successful today is that people want to live in a place that offers the convenience of being able to walk/bike to restaurants, retail, nightlife, the Monon, etc. Why would you not want to support a project that is complimentary to what already makes the area desirable? The real argument with this project should be its lack-luster design and layout, not the density.
  • What is wrong with people?!
    Serioulsy, people are AGINST this project? Most communities would be salivating over a project like this. You'd rather have an empty eye-sore gas station and shacks posing as apartments? This project is exactly what BR needs. BUILD IT MR MAYOR. And yes, I am a BR resident, and have been for 20 years.
  • Need a different retail anchor
    If Whole Foods went in, I doubt the Nora one would stay open, and with all those customers coming to Broad Ripple traffic would be horrible, and forget about a run to the grocery on weekend nights. I think concern over the number of apartments is misplaced, but the 400 space parking garage has me concerned - someone needs to ask the developer just how much traffic they think this development is going to generate. I am not against more neighborhood residents, but heavy commercial traffic going in and out at that location sounds like a mess.
  • why this isn't a good idea
    First, let me say that I love the idea of communities being self-sufficient and people in the community not needing cars, living, working and shopping all in their neighborhood. To sum it up; I love good urban planning and hate urban sprawl. However, there are two reasons that I am against this development. First, this building doesn't fit. Density can occur in Ripple by building up top the street and better use of land. The scale of this project should be downtown. Secondly, I would be willing to bet that if a whole foods in Ripple is built, the Nora store would be closed. Here's my reasoning. The Nora Whole Foods expansion plans have been put on hold. I'm guessing they are waiting to see what happens with the Ripple proposal. Communities next to each other should work together to end sprawl and not work against each other and take other neighbors assets. Develop something both communities can be proud of and will attract more development and density. There's my soap box for the day.
  • Re: Moving Forward...
    That's fine if you want a grocery store that has festivals and live music. I guess with the prices they charge, they can afford to host such activities. As for me, I choose to spend my money more wisely and if I want to go to a festival or a concert, I will pay for that separately - not through my grocery bill.
  • Why TIF is good
    TIF is not just to attract development but to attract a higher use for that development. Carmel wisely is using TIF for numerous public parking garages. Asphalt seas of parking pay little taxes and bring even less value to a commercial area. Also density is what is going to save Indy and Broad Ripple. The days of trying to compete with burbs are long gone.
  • Doubtful
    I don't know the exact numbers, but I have to assume this project is close to a wash in terms of added density. Lots of fresh college grads live there now, cramming 2-3 people per apartment. The future demographic is more likely singles with a bit of cash who want a nice place to themselves. Not saying it's good or bad, I just don't buy the claims of added density.
  • Awesome
    Awesome project and planning by the Envision Broad Ripple group. Travel thru Broad Ripple now requires a packed lunch and now we will have the privilege of shopping at Whole Foods because there is no store like that in the Village. The problem in Brad Ripple is not the people living under the bridges.
  • Moving forward...
    As a former BR resident, I hold the village and the nearby neighborhoods near and dear to my heart. I am disappointed but not surprised at this outcry. I've had the opportunity to live in several other cities and when I come home to visit I drive through the village and think, that's it? Nothing's changed except more businesses have closed or moved away from the strip. BR can handle this development and still maintain its quaintness (my biggest complaint would be the style of the apartments looks bland). WF actually does a lot in the local communities with tastings, classes, live music and festivals that will bring needed traffic to the merchants of BR village. The stores currently in Indy are pretty poor representations of a real WF store IMO and the peoposed one looks to be a lot larger. Look how sobro has come back with the Fresh Market in place (and yes, they are different enough).
    • Net gain on apartments
      Adding 88, tearing down 40, net 48 extra apartments. And trust me, a LOT NICER.
    • Variety
      The Sunshine Market went out because the entire chain went out. I don't think it had to do with Broad Ripple, just the company in general. As far as I know, Whole Foods has never closed a location yet. What do you have against diversity? I like choices. I will still shop at Krogers, I will still shop at the Good Earth. This is a Whole Foods, not Godzilla. It's a good thing.
    • Addition or.....
      They are adding 88 apartments, a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom units I believe. How many apartments are they tearing down? And how many bedrooms are the units they are tearing down. Broad Ripple can certainly use more residential density, but a 35,000 sq ft retail giant and a handful of apartments (depending on how many they are tearing down) is not what I call residential density addition. They keep referencing the "old Shell Station", but what else is coming down along with it, how many current units will be lost?
      • We've tried this before
        Does anyone remember the Sunshine Market, or whatever it was called, that was in the place where Three Wisemen is located now? It didn't make it. What makes you think another expensive specialty market can?
        • Great project
          This is just another example of "the same ten people" trying to stop progress. This project is exactly what should go on this site.
        • Not Whole Foods
          Why does it have to be Whole Foods? That's the worst possible choice for a grocery store. They only sell over-priced foods under the auspices that their food is somehow more nutritious because it is organic and non-gmo which couldn't be further from the truth. It's just a way for them to get you to pay more money for their products. There's already a Kroger a few blocks away.
        • Huh?
          For those of you who didn't grow up in Indianapolis let's take a walk down memory lane. When I grew up in the late '70's and early 80's the Vogue was an XXX movie house. Some people had the bright idea to clean up Broad Ripple and turn it into the cultural center that it is today. So now 30 years later it is AGAIN time to clean it up and things like this development will do just that.
          • YES, Finally
            Long overdue...and yes, I live in Broad Ripple.
          • GREAT PROJECT!
            I'm ecstatic at the potential of this project. Along with the new development on BR Avenue and Carrolton(?) replacing the old liquor store, Broad Ripple is becoming quite the vibrant and progressive spot. The nimbys still want their "village feel" but are slowly and surely being outnumbered by people that understand the direction this area needs to go. The people that are complaining about traffic on college are the people that never venture to any other part of the city and probably haven't been to any other big city in awhile. The only concern I agree with is the Whole Foods thing. There is the Fresh Market south and an existing WF in Nora. Either way, I think this will be great for Indy and Broad Ripple.
          • Complaints
            The only complaint I have about this project is that it is not dense enough. I wish this project contained more apartments and more canal fronting retail. The same people complaining about this development are also the very same people that complain that their property taxes are too high.
          • Why Whole Foods
            As previously stated, why in the world would we need a Whole Foods? I'm a Broad Ripple resident and not against this development completely, but perhaps a Trader Joe's would be a better addition. More affordable than Whole Foods, and overall it feels more "Broad Ripple."
          • In Support
            I get that there are people that want to keep the "feel" of Broad Ripple, but this project needs to move forward. At the very least, College Avenue needs more density. There are few nice rental options in the area making this project necessary. I just don't get why people would be against this unless they enjoy seeing empty commercial space scattered around the village.
          • Another FS resident
            Fountain Square welcomes Whole Foods to our growing and vibrant neighborhood. Come join us!
          • Come on Up to Fountain Square
            No NIMBYs here to chase off a decent development. We don't need tons of parking and we'd happily play the role of host to a downtown Whole Foods.
          • Luddites
            Whatever you do, don't change a single thing about Broad Ripple. I want it to look just like it did in the late '70s, with 30% of the north side of Broad Ripple Avenue burned out and plenty of places to park. That's right Broad Ripple, NEVER CHANGE. Let the world pass you by, don't improve your empty, abandoned lots full of weeds. Someday someone will want to film a zombie movie here.
          • Laughable
            Just because someone supports the project, they are a PR shill for the developer? Myself and everyone I know has no connection whatsoever to any developer. We just want Broad Ripple to move forward and develop, not stay stagnant.
          • Browning PR
            Get the feeling Browning has some PR presence on the message board this morning. I don't know a single person in the neighborhood who supports this project.
            • Against it
              Grew up in Warfleigh, which is the neighborhood directly across College from the proposed development. I am against the proposed project for several reasons: 1) Traffic Flow -- College is already a mess, especially with the new lane guidance which makes the southbound left lane 'turn only' at Broad Ripple Ave. Not to mention the backups at 64th and College. If this is in fact a Whole Foods, I would expect a steady stream of cars pulling in and out, either off College or 64th Street which are both bad already. 2) Use of TIF funds. I though TIF funds were for under-developed areas, to help bolster property tax rolls for the city. I agree with Barth that this area will do just fine letting market forces dictate what is developed. 3) Specialty Grocer Overkill. There is already a Fresh Market a mile south and a Whole Foods 2 miles north. This store is not needed. Frankly I shocked that the Whole Foods site selection criteria supports a store right here 4) Hurts the Character of the Neighborhood. This type of development, along with the (hideous) parking garage down the street are out of character with the history and fabric of this area. Broad Ripple has succeeded because it was quirky and different. It would be a shame if the city gets involved and helps support ANOTHER project that aims to turn Broad Ripple into some kind of manufactured urban center.
            • Better than a Shell station
              Yeah! Lets keep the character of Broad Ripple alive with a dilapidated gas station and parking lot.
            • Living in Broad Ripple
              I think this project is perfect for Broad Ripple. I would like to live in Broad Ripple, but there are no decent apartments/rental units in the village. This type of residential development - done right - will attract the kind of residents who will support the restaurants and retail in Broad Ripple.
            • Vocal Minority
              The vocal minority at these types of events is always heard due to them simply being more vocal. Broad Ripple could use this type of development which will bring in a small specialty grocery and 80 apartments. These are two things the village area sorely needs and will only serve to augment existing amenities. If anything this development should contain additional one or two story retail/commercial space directly adjacent to the proposed parking garage. Broad Ripple should be welcoming a higher population density and more residents to fill their existing establishments.
              • IBJ
                IBJ, there was not "stiff opposition" at the meeting last night. There was vocal, rude opposition at the meeting. HUGE difference. Most residents of Broad Ripple that I have spoken to SUPPORT this project. Just because you can yell the loudest or interrupt the most times, doesn't make your viewpoint the viewpoint of the majority. Shame on you IBJ for the one-sided reporting.
              • Don't get it
                I live in Broad Ripple and I don't understand the fight against this. I don't like looking at an empty gas station and run down apartments as I drive down College. Broad Ripple needs nice living spaces to compete with the rest of the city. Just because a non local company moves in doesn't mean the village will lose its feel. It's up to the people to keep that. I've seen plenty of Broad Ripple people over the past few years tell me how great Broad Ripple is while holding a Starbucks coffee or a drink from McDonalds. Broad Ripple is losing to the rest of the city. How about the group of angry people focus on a real problem in Broad Ripple and that's the people living under the bridges.

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              1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

              2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

              3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

              4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

              5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.