Decision on canal residential project delayed again

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A city board’s vote to once again delay a decision on a proposed residential building along the Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis drew the ire of its developers.

The Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday afternoon continued the matter until its April 18 meeting after Valparaiso-based Investment Property Advisors resubmitted plans to the city March 14 showing the proposed building shrinking from 26 stories to 10.

Commission members granted the continuance on behalf of Maury Plambeck, director of the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development, who said his staff needed more time to review “significant modifications” to the plans.

The decision didn’t sit well with developers Larry Gough and Chase Sorrick, who drove from northwest Indiana expecting resolution on the plans, which they first submitted in November.

“We filed this petition four months ago,” Sorrick said. “It’s been continued, continued, continued. How long can this go on?”

The developer’s original plans for a 26-story tower designed for college students encountered resistance from neighbors over its height and impact on traffic in the area.

Investment Property Advisors reduced the size of the project to 10 stories to improve its chances of winning city approval. Under the proposal, the number of apartment units in the building shrank from 485 to 293.

The number of parking spaces also would shrink, from 434 to 236, within a three-level garage instead of the originally proposed six levels.

Two lawyers representing clients with business interests in the area also asked for a continuance to give them additional time to study the plans.

One, The Sexton Cos., owns and manages the nearby Gardens of Canal Court apartment complex. Its lawyer, Tim Ochs of Ice Miller LLP, said the change in plans is “drastic” enough to warrant extra scrutiny.

“Let’s face it, it’s student housing that’s proposed; in essence, a private dorm,” he said. “You’re looking at putting something there, that if not done properly, could have a significant impact on the canal. We better give that some thought and we better do it right.”

The project would be built on two adjoining parcels along Ninth Street between Senate Avenue and the canal: a 1.2-acre property that includes the offices and warehouse of B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co., and a 0.26-acre canal-front sliver of land that the city in August agreed to sell to the developer. Kirkbride is set to leave its property.

Despite the temporary setback, Investment Property Advisors still is hopeful construction can begin in the fall, which would allow the first residents to move in by summer 2014.

“We’re extremely disappointed, but we’re going to go forward,” Gough said. “We’ve reduced the size; we’ve reduced parking. I’m not sure what else we could do.”


  • JLS, IUPUI is right across the street

    First, I am not sure what "tone" you think the Canal has. It is a public asset that sits right across the street from a large public university. It is not a private playground for the monied-set. It was built with taxpayer dollars and is open to all people. If you have an issue with being around students, then perhaps the Canal is not the place for you to live.

    Second, there is no legal authority to dictate who may or who may not live on the canal. The city only can dictate zoning with respect to height, bulk, parking, etc. Whether students or multimillionaires live in the proposed apartment complex is absolutely not within the city's authority to determine.

    Finally, it is obvious that the the main objectors to this project are the current owners of apartments on the Canal (many which house a significant number of students) who want to keep a scarcity of apartments on the Canal to keep their rents high.

  • Out Of Towners
    The hold up is because the developers are from out of town and not local. The local developers are fighting this (behind the scenes of course) with our local government. They HATE it when someone else might make a dime in this city.
  • And we wonder why developers won't develope in Indy
    We continue to make it difficult to develop in our city, especially along the Canal! Finally someone is willing to put up the money for development and we continue to delay and block building until the developer takes his money and develops in a city where they are much more cooperative! When will we learn!
  • Dorm
    I agree with Tim Ochs (of Ice Miller LLP, who said that "it’s student housing that’s proposed; in essence, a private dorm." This does not fit in with the tone of the canal.
    • Dorm
      I agree with Tim Ochs (of Ice Miller LLP, who said that "it’s student housing that’s proposed; in essence, a private dorm." This does not fit in with the tone of the canal.
    • Please postpone it
      For the simple fact that this design is horrible, again it looks like the Ralston (Dolce) hotel..mixed with the convention center (with the "hat"). Dare I say the Cosmo is more contemporary, (see the Maxwell and Hudson as examples)...Can this city do something about bland design schemes with the typical look seen through out downtown. May I suggest NEW companies to design and build these..how about that Indy?
    • Get the design right
      I appreciate that it has been scaled back to 10 stories, but the truth is, the design is still very lacking....can't the developers try again? Hopefully, the city's stalling technique is designed to goad the developers into coming up with something better.....

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