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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. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

    2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

    3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

    4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

    5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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