Developer plans Carmel project

April 14, 2008
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Meridian and MainLocally based Browning Investments plans to develop a 20-acre mix of hotels, office buildings, a medical center and retail space on a vacant former church property along North Meridian Street in Carmel. Browning hopes to break ground this summer on the $10-million project, which will include a hotel built by Dora Brothers Hospitality Corp. The land, which sits north of Main Street across from Hilton Garden Inn, previously was owned by St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. A site plan (shown here, click for a larger version) shows one parcel has been sold but it does not name tenants. The project will be called Meridian & Main, said Jamie Browning, the firm's vice president of real estate development.
  • I find it utterly pathetic these people cant find innovative ways to build stuff like this IN Indianapolis! It's quite distrubing if you ask me.
  • Build stuff like what, Erich?

    It's going to be the typical N. Meridian mess of anti-pedestrian, awkward parking lots and bland, 1-sided buildings.
  • Why would anyone build this in Indy? In case you haven't noticed, everyone is moving out. Property taxes, crime and atrocious public schools are forcing people to live elsewhere.
  • Marion Co. Population:

    2007 - 877,213
    2006 - 873,397
    2005 - 868,913
    2004 - 867,178

    Yeah, they are running for the hills!
  • Atrocious public schools? Everyone moving out? property taxes? Neil must be thinking of a different marion county
  • Might want to look a little deeper into those population numbers. More demographic research might shed some light as to why development is moving further and further north of the city.
  • Hamilton County Population:

    2007 - 261,661
    2006 - 250,979
    2005 - 240,000
    2004 - 230,0000

    More people are running to Hamilton though...
  • ...And I'm guessing most are coming from the county to the south of them. Not trying to knock marion county (I live there) but the trends are much more positive for Hamilton than they are for Marion.
  • if Hamilton Co is increasing by 10k a year and Marion Co is increasing by 2-5k a year, how are people fleeing from Marion to Hamilton?

    Sure more people move to Hamilton than Marion a year, no one is arguing that.
  • The trends are positive for both counties, people.

    (And more people are running for Charlotte, NC than either Hamilton or Marion County.)
  • The trends are positive for both counties, people.

    That was my point, but I guess I didn't make it simple enough. Math is easy and fun!
  • I wonder how that plays with INDOT's announcement a few months ago about putting an elevated roundabout interchange at 31 and Main Street. It certainly doesn't look like the developer plans on any type of interchange there (or they're just manuevering for more money from r/w acq.).
  • Jimmy: Browning is playing up its proximity to the new exit with potential tenants.
  • Oh good! More midrise office buildings on North Meridian! Maybe they'll even make them brown granite so they'll really stand out!

    Ha ha. I think population growth around Indy is pretty good for a midwestern/rust belt city. Give it some credit.
  • Why don't they build this in Indy? Folks, Carmel is very progressive in its planning! The siteplan you see here is only a fraction of a much larger zoning overlay for the whole area (Indy needs to do the same!). Only the red outline is Browning's. The rest is mixed, dense and VERY walkable! Carmel is the most progressive when it comes to new urbanist, sustainable development.

    As a BRip/MKNA res I wish Marion was planning for this kind of thing. It would keep me in Indy. Instead, I'm renting out the condo in the rip and moving to the City of Carmel! Better everything! Sorry Erich but ur utterly pathetic for thinking any developer would try and build this in Indy right now.
  • I too was fascinated by the map and the future higher density development for the area. (Enlarge the map) It will be interesting to see how much influence Carmel will have with the State and the US/31interchanges. Carmel is pushing for the interchanges to be pedestrian friendly roundabouts. Mitch and Brainard understand that perception is reality. Carmel's progressiveness in road design (roundabouts) is one of many different ways the State can turn around how the rest of the country thinks of Indiana.
  • where's Carmel?
  • Have fun in G-rated Carmel, Ivo.

    They might be progressive in their road-planning, but Carmel is obviously ultra-conservative and exclusive when it comes to lifestyle choice and demographic diversity.


    What makes people think this is a progressive development? It's a typical N. Meridian office/retail park surrounded by a sea of parking lots. Is it totally awesome just because it has a round-a-bout in front of it?

    And Ivo, Erich is not utterly pathetic for thinking any developer would try and build this in Indy right now. Ralston Square, Penn Centre, and Legends District SODO are all downtown Indianapolis projects on the table right now that are far more progressive than the Browning development.
  • As ablerock has already pointed out, what exactly is so innovative about this project that we should want it to be built in Marion County? It is your typical SUBURBAN office/hotel/retail development in every imaginable way. And you people touting Carmel over Indy kill me.... yo do realize that there would BE NO Carmel if it weren't for Indy, right?

    Indy and Carmel are two totally different animals. It's easy to pretend that everything is just perfect in Carmel when you realize that Carmel gets all the benefits of being a PART of a major MSA without a fraction of the social concerns which are a part of every MAJOR CITY (that would be Indianapolis in this case, not Carmel).
  • And Christopher, Carmel is a NEIGHBORHOOD just north of the city of Indianapolis..... lol.
  • Few Indianapolis neighborhoods have that much acreage in
  • Carmel does seem to be more adventurous in development than Indy, it's true.

    However: I would debate the true walkability of this proposal. The neighborhood rowhouses are all segregated into one zone, and there is another zone marked residential. Neither of these zones appear to have any diversity of use in them. Instead, the enormous Meijer grocery store is in its own zone, at least a quarter of a mile away from the nearest house (judging by the size of the high school football field).

    The store is HUGE, and it's not *in* my neighborhood; it's not a corner store that I can easily walk to if I need to pick up a few things. If I go into that Meijer, I'm going to end up getting more groceries than I can carry home in a bag. And I have to cross a major street - at least one - to get there. So most likely I'm going to choose to take my car...

    Now if there is a decent bike bath that is separate from the vehicle paths (roads), and a bike rack at the entry, I can throw my groceries in my panniers and ride on home. Otherwise, don't count on as much non-car use in this walkable neighborhood as the developers might tout.

    Of course if gas goes above ten bucks a gallon, then maybe people will walk it!
  • yo do realize that there would BE NO Carmel if it weren’t for Indy, right?

    The past is the past. The future on the other hand is being written right now. Grew up in Meridian Kessler, still live in Broad Ripple. I love my hood and vowed after graduation (with a BS in Real Estate/ Finance from IU) not to be part of the Brain Drain. What I have experienced since coming home from college and buying my first property (in Butler, then in Broad Ripple) makes me sick! In fact, it's the opposite of Carmel's current situation.

    1. High Crime
    2. Poor Leadership (for mixed uses, walkable, dense, sustainable)
    3. Lack of Planning
    4. Nimbyism - especially in Broad Ripple (BRVA: This means you!!)
    5. High Taxes
    6. Piss Poor Schools
    7. sub par infastructure

    1. Low Crime
    2. Great Taxes
    3. Progressive Planning (Village of West Clay, City Center, Old Meridian, Gramercy and Legacy, roundabouts, walkable interchanges, tree lined streets)
    4. #1 Schools in the State.

    I sincerely hope Ballard and Brainard starting meeting weekly!
  • Great post, Ivo. If Indy wants to progress it (we) needs to start thinking of the future, not the past.

    (PS I'm also in BR, and think the BRVA are a bunch of terrified nimbys' Shh, a lot of them are my neighbors!)
  • Carmel is not competing with Indianapolis but with the Columbus Ohio’s of the Midwest and else where. Just as Indy needs a strong vibrant downtown it needs an equally strong Edge City. Carmel most definitely has a big stake in insuring that Indy is a success. Tthe time has finally come to finish the consolidation of most of the township services. It is naive to think that partisan politics will let this happen without a fight. I think Ballard has the vision and timing has never been better. As the Mayor in Carmel has found you can't appease everyone.
  • So what your saying Carmelresident is that Indianapolis should force annex Carmel. Your tax would go down. But then you would have to pay for things. Like Eagle creek or Fort Harrison Park or the roads n streets around the fashion mall or Castleton and that thing called homelessness. I know how you would hate that.....

    And Lov you got me on planning. You seem to think that BR was built and developed in the 70’s and 80's. Most of you youngsters’ seem to think that Indianapolis is what 50 maybe 60 years old. GET A CLUE about city planning? Times change. City planning change. You will find in time, change will come to your Carmel. And some of it will not be for the better. Greedy developer will see to that. Just think. In 15-20 years your Tax rate will be 35-40% just to pay for all this FAKE downtown and roundabout upkeep. Your already 80+ mill in the hole. Some day, maybe in YOUR life time. 116th Street will look like 38th street. YOU WILL BE THE INTER CITY SLUMS. This new Development will be section 8 housing. And most of you would have moved NORTH of Kokomo.

    And would someone please explain to me what is so friendly about roundabouts. If the traffic never stops moving. How in the hell are you going to push a stroller across WHAT 3 lanes of moving traffic. Just to get across the street. Put you 2 year old in a stroller and try to cross a busy one. You’ll see how pedestrian friendly they are. Give me a stop light any day. Roundabouts are FOR CARS not for people.

    Remember Carmel, YOU ARE JUST A SUBURB, a Fringe neighbored, an outlaying commuters group of Homes/office/shops/schools to Indianapolis and you always will be……. small to Indianapolis.

  • Bob is crazy and great. :-)
  • So much hating on the neighbor to the north. A bit of jealousy (or envy?), I suspect. I'm not a huge fan of the roundabouts. They seem to be great for moving traffic, but I'm a little skeptical from a pedestrian standpoint. I think it's unfortunate that some people feel like no matter what Carmel does it's irrelevant because they're not within the municipal boundaries of the central city (Indy) and therefore, nothing they accomplish will ever merit any respect or praise. Yes, Carmel would not exist the way it does if Indy did not grow the way it did, but the continued rotting of Indianapolis' neighborhoods will not necessarily lead to Carmel's demise. Instead of dismissing Carmel as simply a parasite feeding off Indy, the leaders of Indy should learn from what Carmel is doing to build neighborhoods in which people desire to live and apply some of those lessons, in the appropriate context, in Marion County.
  • Roundabouts would be good for Indy. Constantly moving traffic might cut down the amount of car jackings.
  • Issue 1
    I am tired of people saying that taxes are too high. Tell people in Chicago what you pay for taxes, and they will laugh. Places like Boston and Milwaukee have it rough. We need taxes to do things like improve water quality, add street lights (this will help crime), add sidewalks, replace sidewalks, improve school conditions, and fix these terrible roads.

    Issue 2
    Carmel will always be seen as a “Pleasentville” of sorts unless something drastic happens, ala Edward Scissor Hands. Living in a place where all the people look alike, all the businesses are brick (come on, gas stations), and all the houses are big does not appeal to me. I’m not saying it’s bad, but everyone has their own ideal place to live. Carmel is getting new developments because developers flock to where the money is. I’m sure everyone in Carmel has heard about commuter crime. This is where criminals go to wealthy neighborhoods and break in. This is sure to happen if something isn’t done to Indy (like Detroit), but I’m sure the Pacers have contributed to Carmel’s crime rate enough.

    Roundabouts suck for pedestrians (let’s hope they don’t build that ugly figure 8 over west street).
  • I avoid carmel at all costs. too many soccer moms who cut you off because they're on the cell phone too much.

    In fact. I turned down possibly a great job just because it was in carmel. It's an artificial city that decided to forget who they were to begin with and build a completely new downtown.

    Indianapolis is old and organic. Things weren't planned - they just organically came out the way it is.

    I'll put it into these terms. What's more valuable? A real diamond, or a cubic zirconium?
  • No jealousy or envy here, idyllic indy.

    Just some valid frustrations being vented.

    Carmel is a town that is primarily made up of those who've abandoned the core city over the last few decades and perpetuate the trend of rich white-flight.

    Carmel is a fraction of the size of Indianapolis, with a majority of upper-class citizens. They've got way more money spread over a smaller area.

    Just imagine if half those people stayed in the inner city and helped fix the problems they complain about instead of running out to the suburbs.

    Bob is totally right. Sooner or later the same problems that plague any city will hit Carmel. And the same thing will happen again. As Carmel attracts more people because of the concentration of wealth and prosperity there, people will flee instead of staying and fighting for the city.

    Some people just don't want to deal with reality. And because of their position in life, they can buy a ticket out of it.
  • I don't hate Carmel. It’s just, I feel like I’m in a theme park with a bunch of white Christians Republicans’ on vacation with there Kids when I’m up there. I keep looking for that sign saying no B-l a c k s, democrats, g-a y s, people without kids or the poor allowed in the pool. But, I love shopping at that new strip mall. Clay Terrace.

    It’s nice in a way. But I don’t want to live there… To each his own.
  • I think what is happening in Carmel is a huge positive in Indianapolis. They are setting the agenda and raising the bar for future suburban development. Not everyone wants to live in an urban neighborhood. It takes multiple types of neighborhoods and communities, each targeting a different customer to make up an overall competitive and thriving metro area. A great city needs great suburbs and vice versa. The competition isn't Indy vs. Carmel. It's all of Central Indiana versus Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Seattle, China, India, and the whole rest of the globalized world. Intra-region jealousy can be fatal, as Cleveland is finding out to its chagrin.

    The Meijer store predated the Old Meridian overlay I believe. There are already mixed use storefronts along Old Meridian. That street was recently redone with full side paths and even on street parking in some spots. Additional roads such as Grand Boulevard are planned to make the area more gridlike. Mayor Brainard and Carmel are huge advocates of public transit for Indy too.

    Clearly, I do not agree with the wholesomeness agenda a number of residents are pushing. I don't think Carmel is perfect. But I think they realize at at some point they will be built out and unless they try to create a differentiated environment, they will be the next inner ring Marion County surburban area, suffering decay when their day in the sun is past. Whether you agree with it or not, they have a plan and they are sticking to it. Carmel appears to be much more advanced in its thinking than similar suburbs in comparable Midwestern cities.

    I suspect a lot of the anti-Carmel sentiment comes from the social attitudes of a segment of that community that are opposed to urban progressive values, and frankly from a sense of frustration that all too often, Marion County just hasn't gotten it from a development quality perspective. The challenge is not to bring Carmel down, but to bring Indianapolis up. That isn't going to happen by telling people they were wrong to flee the city and that they should have stayed out of civic duty. It comes from elevating your own game, and from carving out your own market that caters to a broader segment of the community: the broad middle class, urban progressives, the GLBT community, young singles, immigrants, etc.
  • The census bureau calls the region the Indianapolis-Carmel metropolitan area for a reason. Carmel has developed into a city in its own right and possesses a special niche. Some people who have posted on this thread do not find Carmel’s selling points appealing. However, they must concede that Carmel has been incredibly successful as a community and shows that cities in Indiana can successfully compete in the global market place. The city has been progressive in a variety of ways which can be implemented with great benefit throughout the state.

    Carmel is making great strides to remain competitive in attracting affluent residents from the region and country even after the city has become fully developed. It is also should be clear that the relationship between Carmel and Indianapolis is symbiotic; however, the prospects of the two joining are highly unlikely.
  • Kudos to the Urbanophile for telling it like it is. I think it sorta sounds like what I said, just much, much better said.

    Admittedly, I haven't spent a lot of time in Carmel, but other than jealousy, I don't understand the bitterness of so many comments here. It's as if people would like Carmel better if it was just like every other suburb, which I don't see how, from the standpoint of a fan of urban development, that would be better.
  • Urbanophile...

    They were wrong to flee the city and they should have stayed out of civic duty! :-)


    I would love to embrace Carmel as a part of Indianapolis, but that's like trying to have a relationship with someone you just divorced.

    The reason Carmel exists is because the residents there don't want to be part of Indianapolis. They're trying to build their own little plastic city. The residents there are typically openly hostile towards the inner city of Indianapolis, and anything positive that happens here.

    That is the reason for what you've labeled bitterness idyllic indy. I applaud what Carmel has done recently as far as progressive development. But I can't support the isolationist, elitist attitude that most Carmel residents have.
  • Amen to Ablerock. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten the look or questions about safety when telling people from the townships or the suburban counties where I live.
  • On top of all that--traffic is AWEFUL up there. It took me 45 minutes yesterday to go from 59th/meridian to 96th/towne--most of the time spent on 96th street in lines behind tons of cars--2 lane roads, 4 way stops and even a roundabout. The roundabouts are much better for cars but definitely not pedestrian friendly. As I was sitting 100 cars back from 96th and towne (moving one car at a time), I re-asserted my determination to never live in Carmel. Don't get me wrong--I am the first to admit that Carmel has great neighborhoods, beautiful homes, big yards, and excellent schools--in addition to low crime. But I wouldn't trade my MK home for it. My 15 minute commute to downtown on one way roads planned to handle traffic just can't be beat. And I want my kids growing up with diversity, blocked neighborhoods, street smarts, sidewalks, the canal, and most of all--summers at the RIVI!
  • GRAMERCY PARK UPDATES? We haven't heard much about it recently, but anyone have a synopsis on where that project is, delayed, shelved, ready to go, anything?
  • We'll see how Carmel can continue to sustain its growth when gasoline is five buck a gallon and people sit in traffic for hours. And then there's having to heat those monster houses houses with the gigantic mortgages. Then there's the increased property taxes that will surely come when the area becomes housing saturated and all those bonds come due.
  • Sandy it seems there is a little envy or jealousy. It would appear that Carmel with its high concentration of office space will be even more a destination place to live with higer gas prices. The redeveloping of its core along with its major rebuilding of transportation infrastructure will add to its appeal. I agree with the Ubranpphile that the burbs are not in competition with the city and vice versa. We each make the other better and need to understand that. Let us encourage higher standards for all.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.