Browning set to start retail project; another in works

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Browning Investments is close to breaking ground on a small retail strip center on West 86th Street in front of St. Vincent Hospital and is in the early stages of planning a larger retail center at 131st and Meridian streets.

It’s been several years since Browning, a longtime local developer, has tackled a retail project. “I can’t remember the last time,” said Jamie Browning, the company’s vice president of real estate development.

That will change in the second quarter when the firm begins construction of an 8,900-square-foot retail strip that will replace a vacant Peoples Bank branch at the southeast corner of 86th Street and Harcourt Road. The $1.9-million project will have room for three or four retail tenants.

The site is owned by the hospital. The developer, which has it under contract and expects to close on the purchase soon, anticipates the project will be ready for tenants by the fourth quarter.

Browning said the site in front of the hospital was too good to pass up in spite of what has been a poor climate for retail development. He said the firm is working with a few banks interested in financing the deal.

The company is simultaneously trying to put together a deal for a 30,000-square-foot retail center at 131st and Meridian, adjacent to a surgery center the developer is building for Indiana Spine Group. Browning said his firm owns the four-acre site where the retail center is to be built but doesn’t have a timetable or other details firmed up.

Donna Hovey, a retail broker with CB Richard Ellis, said both the 86th Street and 131st Street locations can accommodate more retail space because they have dense daytime populations.

“You can make the case it’s an underserved market,” Hovey said of the site in front of St. Vincent. “You can’t see any retail from the front door of the hospital.” Likewise, there’s not much available inventory near 131st Street and Meridian, Hovey said.

As for the retail market in general, Hovey said there are still plenty of opportunities for deals to fall apart, primarily because of financing, but overall conditions are much better than last year.

Tenants are looking for space, she said. “The level of activity has picked up dramatically.”


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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?