Decision on Broad Ripple garage delayed again

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A decision on a new Broad Ripple parking garage has been delayed yet again, this time after remonstrators argued that they didn’t have enough time to digest proposed changes to design plans.

The two-week continuance granted on Tuesday by the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals follows a previous seven-day delay given to the project’s developer. 

On April 10, an attorney for Keystone Construction Corp. asked the five-member panel to delay a hearing on the garage until Tuesday to allow the developer to meet with officials from the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works about construction of a levee system along White River.

Keystone had argued that the levee system would provide enough protection from floods, even though the parking garage would be built on property that lies four feet below the flood plain.

But the staff of the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development recommended in a letter two weeks ago that the parking garage proposal be reworked in order to raise its first floor above the flood plain.

On Tuesday, the developer was set to propose raising the elevation of the garage to two feet below the flood plain, which would meet federal guidelines but not city requirements. Therefore, a zoning variance is needed before construction can begin.

Remonstrators, however, argued on Tuesday that they only received notice of the proposed elevation change about an hour before the 1 p.m. meeting, which didn’t give them sufficient time to “fully absorb” the amendment, said Pat Andrews, a neighborhood activist.

“We need some time to look over the ramifications,” Andrews told the board. “It isn’t simple.”

The zoning appeals board granted a continuance until May 1.

Joe Calderon, the attorney representing Keystone at the hearing, said Keystone would respect the board’s decision, noting a two-week delay shouldn’t affect the timing of construction.

Keystone officials have argued that raising elevation entirely above the four-foot flood plain would make the additional cost of the now-$15 million project too expensive.

The 350-space parking garage at 6280 N. College Ave. would be partially financed with $6.3 million from parking meter revenue, which would normally flow into city coffers.

Keystone’s petition for a zoning variance will now be heard by a different set of board members than the ones that granted the delay Tuesday. The zoning board has three sets of members that attend weekly meetings.


  • Citations?
    PJ, I'd be curious to know from where you are obtaining your cost/space estimations. I've designed several downtown infill garages, estimated by large, reputable construction companies and they've rarely come in over $25k/space. Even at $25k/space the private developer abandoned the project citing unworkable proforma. The retail space on the high end would cost $150/sq.ft. for a white box with final finish paid by the tenant. A suburban garage with some relatively minor inefficiencies should never even hit $20k/space. Before passing judgement, however, I would find out the site acquisition costs, soft costs, etc.
  • Re: Concerned BR Resident
    Not everyone who knows anything about the building industry is working for the developer. If you, "Concerned" BR Resident want a completely bare bones concrete on concrete box, then please, move to Castleton. There are those of us in the area that want to see a project built correctly, something with design put into it. However, design and materials cost money. Not everything is free. No garage would be better than having the plain concrete box.
  • Hmmm...
    Sounds like PJ work for Keystone...
  • Re: Cost of Garage
    Paul, the cost of a 350 car parking garage is nowhere near $6.5 million, especially on a tight angled site such as this. And on top of that, it has first floor retail space. A garage like this would average anywhere from $30k - $50k per space. So, on the low end, it should be $10.5 at the very least. Now, because there is some design effort put into it, you would expect the building to be more, so the $43k/space is perfectly reasonable.
  • It's a duck.
    That garage walks and quacks like a duck: it is being paid for the the City (i.e., YOU) and will be turned over to Keystone lock, stock and barrel. All revenues and rent from all sources go to Keystone, which will likely have no skin in the game. This is a deal worthy of a Chicago mayor.
  • Confused
    I'm confused how in the world this all was not figured out before blueprints were drafted. Either something fishy is going on, or Keystone is a horribly run business. I would assume that before plans were even drawn up, it was well known that this property was below the flood plain. This should have been taken care of well before they started breaking ground on the project. I am a big supporter of a parking garage in Broad Ripple, however, this project feels like it is being forced and is only in the interest of Keystone, rather than the citizens in the Broad Ripple area. I live in a flood plain in the area too and in order to get financing for my home, I was required to get flood insurance (which is a monopoly run by the US Govt., but thats a different subject). So my question is, why was a varience not given (or discussed) when the plans went before the board?
  • IBJ please investigate
    IBJ, please investigate what Paul K. Ogden mentioned in his comments. What is the real cost of the garage? Are the citizens of Indy getting fleeced? We know the Star won't investigate, we need someone to keep the politicians straight.
  • Cost of Garage
    There is nothing to indicate the garage will cost $15 million regarding the naked assertion by city leaders and Keystone. In fact most garages of that size run about $6.5 million which is about the size of the City's contribution. Keystone may not have to pay anything for the garage and it gets 100% ownership, 100% of the parking revenue and 100% of the commercial rents onthe building.
  • BZA conflicts
    Wondering why the reporter didn't mention that two members of this BZA panel both appointed by Mayor Ballard recused themselves from participating in this case ahead of today's meeting in his story due to conflicts they had with the developer. The developer was accused last week if seeking a one-week continuance simply to get a hearing in front of a more favorable hearing. The attorney insisted the developer could not afford to delay the case more than one week.
  • $$$
    The garage would be owned by the developer, Keystone Construction, and they would receive the revenues therefrom.
  • um...
    Admittedly, I am not fully informed about the details of this project, which will be obvious surely; that said, I am wondering and it is not clear from this article, is the garage owned by the city, or a private firm? On the heals of that: Where/to whom does the revenue from this garage go?

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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?