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Developer proposes $22M project for Keystone Towers site

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Local affordable housing developer The Whitsett Group LLC is proposing a $22 million project that would include nearly 140 apartments and a retail component on the property where the demolished Keystone Towers formerly stood.

Bids to redevelop the land on the northeast side of Indianapolis were due to the city by noon on Tuesday. The Metropolitan Development Commission revealed at its Wednesday meeting that The Whitsett Group was the sole bidder.

The commission can accept or reject the proposal, though there’s no deadline for the group to make a decision, said a city spokeswoman.

The Whitsett Group wants to develop the property in three phases. Construction could start in late winter or early spring on 58 apartments, followed by another 80 apartments in which work could begin late next year, company principal Joseph E. Whitsett said.

The last stage, which would target a 1.5-acre parcel near Binford Boulevard and Allisonville Road at the southern most visible tip, would include retail space.

Whitsett said he doesn’t have retailers lined up, but thinks the property could be attractive once the commercial real estate market rebounds.

“It’s a fine area,” he said, “except for that hulk of a building that finally got torn down.”

About 750 pounds of explosives brought down the Keystone Towers' 15-story apartment building and eight-story office building in about 15 seconds on Aug. 28.

Whitsett said he’s surprised his company submitted the lone bid. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which will provide financing, is complicated and could have scared some developers away, he said.

Any new projects on the site must include mixed-income rental housing by the rules of the federal grant used to demolish the complex. Roughly half of the units under the Whitsett proposal would be considered affordable under federal guidelines.

Founded in 2007, The Whitsett Group also is working on a $27 million plan to build 190 apartments and more than 44,000 square feet of retail and office space on a parcel northwest of College Avenue and Michigan Street. The company plans to apply for affordable housing tax credits on Nov. 1.

Whitsett finished its 707 East North apartment building at North Street and College Avenue in summer 2010. The 40 units are fully occupied.



 

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  • Factually Inaccurate
    The RFP was posted to the DMD website. Packets were also available at the City/County Building. Proper Public Notice was filed by the city. Suggesting that there was insufficient notice or any other impropriety misleading.
  • really
    Is no one surprised that Whitsett was the sole bidder....no one else was informed to bid on it. just like every other project he does, he has no competition for bidding.

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  1. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

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