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Decision on $25M Broad Ripple project delayed until October

Scott Olson
September 4, 2013
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Browning Investments Inc. will need to wait another month to find out whether its controversial $25 million Broad Ripple development will get the go-ahead from city officials.

Members of the Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday voted 4-2 in favor of continuing a decision until Oct. 2 after Kathy Davis, the attorney for opponents of the project, said they didn’t have adequate time to review a traffic study showing the impact the development could have on the area.

Browning is seeking a zoning change and variances to redevelop the 2-acre property northeast of the intersection of College Avenue and the Central Canal. Browning has planned a 75-foot-tall apartment building for the site and a 33,500-square-foot grocery store, earmarked for a Whole Foods.

Last month, the commission’s hearing examiner, Rex Joseph, recommended approval of the changes.

Davis on Wednesday requested a four-week continuance, telling commissioners that business for her client, Good Earth Natural Foods, not only would be affected by the grocery competition but “by the building that will be towering over them.”

Opponents argue that the project is too big for the area and will increase traffic and cause more congestion.

Besides the retail component, Browning’s project would contain 104 apartment units and a four-story parking garage with 340 spaces.

Browning’s lawyer, Joseph Scimia of Faegre Baker Daniels, said the developer voluntarily completed the traffic report and was not obligated to do so.

He argued that Browning first filed its plans for the development with the city in April and that a decision already has been continued several months.
 

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  • Light at Garage Entrance?
    One thing that none of the articles have mentioned and none of the renderings have shown is a stoplight at the College entrance of the garage. Those that don’t frequent that area between 7-9am and 4-7pm each weekday, and much of the day all weekend, may not realize is the constant flow of vehicles and often southbound back-up from BR Ave up to 64th. It would be a nightmare and impossible at times for Residents or Shoppers to depart the garage without a light. Hence, a stoplight will be required. About 1 month ago there was one of those cables across College that measure car counts…must relate to the Browning traffic report. Within a week, the cable (which wasn’t anchored on the west end) curled up in one northbound lane (i.e. Bad Data was collected). And why was this Traffic Study just completed a month ago? How has this project gone through multiple revisions and received the blessing from the BRVA and other city agencies without a prior Traffic Report? If they haven’t previously compiled the Traffic Flow data, they cannot have a good understanding or PLAN...put the light too close to BR Ave and northbound will back-up through the BR Ave intersection (which already happens now /it will be a mess)...put the too far from BR Ave and the 63rd Street entrance to CVS and VP will constantly be blocked (these 2 businesses need to be concerned). As one who lives very close and walks by proposed site frequently, I have specific concern as to why this has been omitted??
  • Fountain Square
    By the way, I'll say again that we would gladly welcome a Whole Foods in Fountain Square that could serve all of downtown. Just take over Bud's Market...
  • @ Paul K Ogden
    Every single time this guy posts, he accuses supporters of being developers' shills. I've never been paid by a developer in my life. And I'm sure that none of the other commenters here have, either. The angry, vocal minority is always who shows up to these meetings, so of course the remonstrators outnumber the supporters in those scenarios.
  • Couldn't agree more
    It's time to move on. I'm in Broad Ripple almost daily and agree this would be a great thing for the community. The folks who think their business will be affected are so short-sighted. Don't they realize that having hundreds of new shoppers in the area will actually be a benefit to them if they merchandise their products correctly? More people than before will walk over to get their vitamins, unique foods, special footwear, and so on. The only thing they should fear....is fear itself.
  • Take a breath, and relax
    I live, work, walk, bike, eat, and sometimes drink in Broad Ripple. I went to BRHS...can't get much more of an "authentic" resident. I'm telling you...I and every neighbor I've talked with are strongly "for" this project, and hopefully the positive effects it will have on the long neglected and dilapidated store fronts on the south side of BR Ave. And, Gary, the "vibe" you mention at Good Earth and other spots in Broad Ripple will likely survive. In other words THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE AT THE TABLE, IF THE TABLE IS LARGE ENOUGH. Now, go dig out your 33 rpms, listen again to the tunes from the 60s, sit back and enjoy the ride
    • Why not support both
      My wife and I shop at Good Earth and Whole Foods and Earth Fare and Georgetown Market. I don't get it. Good Earth is probably not competitive when it comes to food stuff, but is very competitive with natural remedies, vitamin and and other products. While Whole Foods has a few knowledgeable people Good Earth has a whole staff of people than can help you with remedies, vitamins and other health products. I believe both stores will survive when built.
    • Good Earth- Good Karma
      Good Earth represents far more than just the distribution of organic/natural foods. It is an institution that goes back to time when Broad Ripple was a haven for alternative ways of living, and the energy that I felt then, is still alive today. The historical value that it represents, far supersedes the real magic of eating and living a lifestyle that was foreign to this city at the time of its origin, and has maintained that energy throughout for close to fifty years now. The atmosphere and energy from those working there is reminiscent of the very same feeling and mindset, set forth from the day that it opened its doors. Many of these larger, more sophisticated(plastic) but certainly not better retail stores, cannot even come close to the positive energy Good Earth has always given. To open any store like that so close to the Good Earth, would be such a mistake to the historical Broad Ripple mindset. Even though Bob,(one of the original owners evolved to a higher plane,) his energy prevails. Good Earth is a landmark for those of us who remember when eating natural foods was a novelty, even in the counterculture, to today's atmosphere, where that same energy can still be felt
    • Anonymous
      I love how on the IBJ website where people can post anonymous comments there is always more pro-Browning development than against. But you go to websites, like Indystar.com, where people have to identify themselves and people are overwhelmingly against. I went to the BRVA meeting where people were overwhelming against. The comments on here are obviously part of a PR effort to stack the deck with anonymous comments. Broad Ripple has become a congested mess. That intersection south of the proposed development is one of the worst ones in the city and they're proposing a development that would greatly increase the traffic in the area. The BRVA clearly doesn't care about the residents or the people who work in Broad Ripple. BRVA's own survey showed people in Broad Ripple were against the project. What did the BRVA do? BRVA supported it anyway. The development is bad enough, the notion that Browning is getting our tax dollars to build it is utterly outrageous.
    • Behemoth!
      It's a behemoth. They need some kind of development, but this seems waaay to big for the neighborhood. But then again, I don't have to live with it, so I don't really care.
    • BR Development
      Who are these opponents? I live in BR and this is something that area needs. Who wants to continue to live with an abandoned and graffiti ridden gas station rather than some real development that will bring some much needed life back to the vacant parcel?
    • Parking
      A traffic study? Ugh. Congestion is a bit like cholesterol – if you don’t have any, you die. Like cholesterol, traffic exists as a "good kind" and a "bad kind." For congestion measurements to have any meaning, they need to be divided between through-traffic and traffic that includes local origins or destinations, the latter being the "good kind." Travelers who bring commerce to a city add more value than those just driving through, and any thorough assessment of congestion needs to be balanced with other factors such as retail sales, real estate value, and pedestrian volume. In other words, this project is of the sort that brings good traffic. It would, of course, be better without the use of the TIF, but ultimately this development will turn Broad Ripple into an incrementally more productive and financially resilient place. That all said, the parking structure is at least 2x the size it needs to be. The new parking garage in the SW corner is almost always 100% empty. 340 spaces for 104 units and a small grocery is insane. 1 space per unit, maybe 60 for the grocery, at absolute maximum, is all that's necessary.
    • I agree on this.
      This is indeed a city with needed infill projects. Sprawl is gross, my opinion.
    • Wonderful Project
      I can not understand why there are so many residents against this project. The project will convert vacated property from an eyesore to a nice urban project. This will provide an anchor to the village. Most of these residents will be able to walk to restaurants and retail. Broad Ripple is an urban neighborhood. This project provides needed infill and an anchor grocery store. Broad Ripple residents need to understand sometimes change is good.
    • Oh, brother...
      ... these Broad Ripple NIMBY's and their attorneys are jokesters! Indianapolis is probably the LEAST dense major city in America - and that is NOT a good thing! Density is good, sprawl is bad. You live in a CITY people, get with it!

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