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Developer plans $80M project in Carmel

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Apartment specialist Edward Rose Properties Inc. is proposing an $80 million mixed-use project on mostly undeveloped land in Carmel’s Old Meridian District.

Preliminary plans call for 400 apartments—including some wrapped around a four-story parking garage and above-ground-floor retail “nodes”—65 single-family town homes, a senior-living facility, and a 100-plus-room boutique hotel.

rop-carmel-rendering-15col.jpg Plans call for apartments, retail and senior living. (Rendering courtesy of Edward Rose & Sons)

Two stand-alone commercial buildings would join the hotel on Main Street, a key connection between U.S. 31 and downtown Carmel that Michigan-based Rose’s proposal said “affords opportunities for thoroughfare-oriented businesses.”

Dubbed “The District,” the development spans about 30 acres southwest of a roundabout at Main and Old Meridian streets.

The property borders a parcel at the intersection where Indianapolis-based Keystone Realty Group is planning the 200-unit Sophia Pointe residential project. Its neighbor to the west would be Rose’s existing Alexandria Apartments, which has about 325 units.

“You really can’t go wrong there,” said George Tikijian of local apartment brokerage Tikijian Associates.

Rose, which has a regional office at 116th and Meridian streets in Carmel, is asking to rezone The District as a planned unit development—establishing special rules and development standards for the project.

George Tikijian Tikijian

A plan commission committee is scheduled to review the request Jan. 7, and the full panel could make a recommendation to the City Council later this month.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the proposal in December, but commission members peppered the development team with questions on topics ranging from rental rates (studio apartments likely will start at $800-$900, Rose’s Steve Hormann said) to the expected mix of residential options at the retirement community (Hormann said that’s still being determined, but the national average is about 40 percent independent living, 40 percent assisted living and 20 percent memory care).

Commissioner John Adams asked the company to be prepared to explain to the committee why the project includes so many multifamily units.

“I am more and more concerned with the sheer number of apartments we see coming forward,” he said, citing a 280-unit apartment complex planned for Carmel Drive and the 235-apartment Highpointe on Meridian project in the works on the west side of U.S. 31 at Main Street.

Indeed, growing demand and limited inventory—Carmel’s vacancy rate was about 5 percent during 2013—have fueled an apartment building boom of sorts.

Tikijian said higher interest rates or a softer leasing environment could slow the pace, but he hasn’t seen any warning signs in Carmel yet.

“There’s not that much land left and it’s still a highly desirable place,” he said. “If [The District] gets built over time, it may not have a huge impact.”

The area is zoned now for mixed uses along Old Meridian and town homes elsewhere, said Steve Hardin, an attorney with Indianapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels who is representing the company. He told the Plan Commission that Edward Rose’s proposed development could double the potential assessed value of the 30 acres to an estimated $80 million.

City planners and engineers have worked with the development team to fine-tune the plans for one of the last remaining undeveloped sites in Carmel’s Old Meridian District.

Carmel Planning Administrator Adrienne Keeling told the commission that the staff is concerned about the proposed architectural requirements, street layout and connectivity to other properties. Hardin said the company is working to resolve outstanding issues.

Iprojectt remains to be seen whether the developer will ask the city to help pay for the parking garage and necessary infrastructure improvements, including a planned extension of Grand Boulevard west of Old Meridian.

Company officials were not available for comment by IBJ’s deadline.

Established in 1921, Edward Rose has built more than 65,000 apartment units in 13 states since switching its emphasis from single-family dwellings nearly 50 years ago; about 57,000 remain in its portfolio.

Tikijian praised the private company’s “careful, conservative” approach to development. Rose tends to build projects slowly, he said, and many of its apartment complexes carry no debt.

“It is one of the most well-capitalized developers in the country,” he said.

Rose already operates six communities in central Indiana: four in Indianapolis, one in Greenwood, and the Alexandria in Carmel. It is in the process of building 180 units in the first phase of its Bella Vista project at 106th Street and Lantern Road in Fishers, just west of Interstate 69.

The District appears to be among its more ambitious undertakings, Tikijian said.

“Traditionally, it has been more of a bread-and-butter developer: Buy land, build the right product, and be done,” he said. “This larger-scale mixed use, I think, is new for them. … It seems like a good idea.”

At the hearing, Rose’s Hormann said the company expects to develop the apartments itself but is talking with “national builders” about the hotel, town homes and senior housing. It collaborated with senior-living specialist Ecumen to open Heritage at Irene Woods outside Memphis in 2013, for example, and the partners plan to debut a similar facility in Michigan this summer.

Tikijian expects the senior-living component of The District to be particularly popular, given the aging population and Carmel’s high-end demographic.

“I think there’s going to be incredible demand for upscale senior housing,” he said.•

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  • 31 upgrade?
    Lets ask this question. How will the 31 upgrade, that speeds up traffic on 31, help with access to new office buildings, and commercial development? Access will be much more limited, and the surrounding roads will have to bear the traffic. That means, neighborhoods will be destroyed for more access roads. Patty is right, things are becoming far to crowded up here. And, let me ask you this question.....where are all the kids from these apartments going to school? When is a new HS or two being built, and who will pay for it? How will the citizens and businesses pay for new HS's, and the palladium too? Certainly won't be paid for by businesses in the city center area, as turnover there is just starting. I get such a kick out of the walking and bicycling part. Thats fine for people that live in apartments by the area, but us residents who live in single family homes (which put carmel on the map of best places to live) mostly need to drive to these areas anyway. We have actually stopped dining in downtown carmel, as we prefer to park near or next to our destination. Thankfully, Roma opened in a nice accessible location.
  • school
    Why should there be any expectation that the city pay for infrastructure improvements? Let the developer (and, in turn, the property end users) bear this cost.
  • MORE Apartments
    Carmel is astarting to look very ugly and congessed we acn not even get through downtown anymore they need to rewthink what they are doing or no one will want to live here
  • Planning
    Once again Carmel's long term planning strikes gold. The Old Meridian district is natural as a truly walkable and bicycle friendly area. Residents will be able to work, live and play. Look soon for major office building announcements with the US/31 upgrade being completed.

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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?

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