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Buckingham set to redevelop Carmel shopping center

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Buckingham Cos. is set to redevelop a dated shopping center on one of Carmel’s main thoroughfares as part of its plans to revive its adjacent Gramercy project.

The Carmel Marketplace on East Carmel Drive near Keystone Avenue is anchored by The Fountains Banquet & Conference Center, which occupies a 49,000-square-foot building that once housed a Marsh Supermarkets store.

Built in the early 1990s, the center also features two 15,000-square-foot strip buildings on each side of the seven-acre property. The property is 82-percent leased; tenants include FedEx, Kinko’s and Subway.

“It’s a great location on Carmel Drive, but it just needs to be refreshed,” said John B. Cumming, senior vice president of development for Buckingham Cos.

Indianapolis-based Buckingham, which owns the property, is planning the overhaul—which could include demolition—to coincide with the revival of its Gramercy redevelopment.

Buckingham shelved the $500 million Gramercy project when the economy tanked in 2008. It was to include more than 2,000 apartments. The company now plans to move forward with the redevelopment, which is at the southwest corner of Keystone and 126th Street, but on a smaller scale.

The company, which developed the massive CityWay project in downtown Indianapolis, is talking with potential tenants for the shopping center that could fill spaces ranging from 2,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, Cumming said.

Carmel Marketplace is directly south of the Mohawk Hills apartment complex, which Buckingham originally planned to demolish to make way for the Gramercy project. It now plans to renovate the apartments.

A redeveloped Carmel Marketplace serving as an entry to Gramercy would be the latest of several retail upgrades in the area.

Kite Realty Group Trust overhauled two shopping centers it owns at 116th Street and Rangeline Road in Carmel. The Indianapolis-based developer landed new tenants, including specialty grocer Earth Fare and a handful of restaurants, for its renovation and re-tenanting of The Centre and The Corner.

Despite its own appearance, Carmel Marketplace remains a solid property, retail brokers say.

“It’s good real estate positioned in the main Carmel thoroughfare,” said Jacqueline Haynes, a retail broker and vice president at Cassidy Turley. “There’s not a lot of opportunity to have street-front retail, and I think [Buckingham] can create that.”

Gary Perel, a retail broker at Newmark Knight Frank Halakar who is listing the Fountains space, concurred.

“It’s time to get something done,” he said. “It’s probably one of the larger infill opportunities in Carmel.”

Buckingham purchased the Mohawk Hills property containing 564 apartment units and a nine-hole golf course in 2004 from a Chicago group for roughly $30 million.

The developer plans to finally start work on Gramercy by the end of the year, Cumming said. The new plan for the 116-acre site calls for 1,276 residential units, 39 percent fewer than the company planned back in 2006.
 

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