BROWNING: How to fix Broad Ripple

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

viewpoint-browning-jamieIt is a tragedy that the senseless shootings in Broad Ripple earlier this month might define one of the most important destination districts in Indianapolis.

For generations, Broad Ripple has been a singular place in Indianapolis to shop, raise families, socialize, work, go to school, eat a great meal, ride your bike, and, perhaps, meet your future spouse. Broad Ripple has unintentionally been a model for what has become known as a live/work/play/learn community. This is exactly the kind of dense, walkable and multi-faceted community that cities around the country are trying to replicate.

As many before me have correctly pointed out, the live/work/play/learn community that Broad Ripple has been for years has recently felt different and off balance.

I have witnessed and felt these changes firsthand. Since 2005, I have worked with my business partners in developing a variety of restaurants and bars in and around Broad Ripple. Most recently, my employer, Browning Investments, along with its partner, Sheehan Construction, has been working hard to develop a $30 million mixed-use project that includes luxury apartments, retail and parking facilities.

When I started doing business in Broad Ripple, the village had a much more balanced live/work/play/learn equation, with far fewer bars and restaurants than today and a more robust and diverse daytime retail trade.

As the balance has shifted over the years to emphasize the play component of the village, problems—including crime—have arisen and grown, and these problems now threaten to redefine Broad Ripple as a dangerous nightlife district.

While crime control and increased police presence are necessary in the short term to help change the nighttime dynamic in Broad Ripple, what is really needed is a deeper, more long-term and systematic way of recovering the fundamental building blocks that made Broad Ripple such a special destination in the first place.

The current equation desperately needs to be rebalanced to better emphasize the live/work/learn variables.

How can we accomplish this?

With variety.

Existing daytime businesses and retailers must be supported and nurtured and, just as important, new daytime businesses and retailers should be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to invest in the neighborhood.

New and creative housing options should be encouraged—especially housing options that attract and retain families and professionals.

Investment breeds investment. Strategically encouraging and supporting daytime businesses and foot traffic will help attract new quality housing options, and new quality housing options will help support existing daytime businesses and help attract new ones.

This is the secret sauce of great live/work/play/learn communities—all the constituent components of the communities complement and support one another, giving rise to a healthy, vibrant and balanced neighborhood.

Generously support the Broad Ripple Village Association and Midtown Indy. These organizations deeply understand the value of Broad Ripple’s historic culture, and they have the personnel, plans, smarts and energy to rebalance the equation in the neighborhood.

I will continue doing business in Broad Ripple. I love the village, I love its history, and I see incredible potential in its future. But to realize this incredible potential, we have to get the balance right.•


Browning is vice president of real estate development at Browning Investments Inc. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.


  • Wrong focus
    fix or work on the other areas and issues that are causing Broad Ripple to have these crime issues or it won't matter what you do in broad ripple. amazing that no one cares when these problems are in a different part of the city but now that they have come to broad ripple, we need to fix broad ripple.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.