More on new Nora Kroger

June 10, 2009
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treeThe Kroger-anchored development referenced below will add far more trees than it has removed, Sandor Development CEO Sid Eskenazi tells Property Lines. The project along the Monon Trail at 86th Street will replace 13 trees with at least 28 new ones. The trees and planned landscaping along the trail were picked out in consultation with the Indy Parks department. The developer also has agreed to give 96 more trees to other parks as part of the project. Eskenazi has a request for the neighborhood group that has fought the project at every turn: "Give us a chance to finish it and see what it looks like when it's done," he said.

You can see the plans for the trail-side landscaping here, here and here.
  • What?! An actual paver-defined, non-asphalt, continuous pedestrian path through the parking lot to the store, linking the Monon and the building with a clearly marked pedestrian zone? bestill my heart!

    Seriously: bravo for this aspect of the plan! It is often a very simple thing to make a decent pedestrian environment, even within a car-centered development. Concrete pavers and continuity do not cost a lot (in the overall cost of a project) but make movement so much easier and safer for people walking, especially those who don't ambulate so well and parents trying to wrangle several young kids.

    Thanks for the clarification, Sid - looks great.
  • Looks to be an improvement. :-)


    The sentiment surrounding this development says a lot about what we expect from our built environment.

    Instead of just assuming that commercial areas are inherently ugly and should always be separate, perhaps we as a community should start demanding more aesthetically and functionally from the businesses that call our city home.

    It's entirely possible for residential, commercial, and recreational areas to coexist and complement one another.

    But it's hard to understand that when the only things to which we're exposed are strip malls, parking lots, big box retailers, and vinyl villages.

    So in a way, one can't really blame the Nora residents who oppose this development.
  • As a former Planning Director in a nearby small town, I would suggest that pretty plans are great but I have never seen Sid Eskenazi or Sandor follow through or complete any projects as per the approved plans without threat of legal action.

    In our small town, he left several local contractors holding the bag for large sums of money. His strip center is almost vacant and is noted for lack of maintenance.

    Maybe he has changed in the last 20 years but..........
  • No way should anyone apologize for criticizing that. Those plans are horrible. As shown, they indicate a variety of ornamental trees (not shade... those are reserved for parking islands).

    Awful, but typical. And Donna, excuse me if I don't jump for joy because a little concrete strip is shown through an asphalt jungle past a denuded lump of garbage.
  • Which would you rather have, a burned out Blockbuster and empty print store
    or a new Kroger?
    You can argue the aesthetics, but the parks department was involved
    in the selection of the materials.
  • Onlooker...Sid's a lawyer. Never forget that, and you'll be fine.

    I'm with tced. The development between Evergreen and the Monon looked bad 20 years ago when I ran a business in Nora. Good riddance.
  • One thing that makes the trail interesting is the variety of the landscape and appearance. It's OK to have so-called old growth portions, open areas, woodsy/weedy parts, and professionally planned landscape. I use the trail often and enjoy something besides just endless natural landscape. After all...the trail is very long...there's room for everyone's preferences. IF Sandor completes what's should look really nice after a couple of year's growth. Give it a chance.
  • Whereas I agree that what was there previously was awful, it doesn't justify what Kroger has done by removing these trees. If you actually READ the plans, you'll notice that these are NOT shade trees, these are just little 15-20 trees that will do little to block the view of the parking lot.
    The trees and growth that were there before were not a veritable forest by any means, but they provided definite shade and blocked the view of the adjoining lot.
    Thundermutt and Tced; you're missing the point entirely!

    And YES, I am in this area ALL the time.
  • one thing that I'd like to clarify; I should not specifically blame Kroger for what has been done. This is most likely entirely the developer's doing.

    The developer has torn down the trees so that he can use that huge stretch of the Monon Trail as a commercial window. Disgusting.
  • LOL @ Nora
  • Indy as a community has let far too much of this nasty honeysuckle invade EVERYTHING. Plant good stuff, be good neighbors.
  • Mark,

    You are right. They have put shade trees in the parking islands because that conforms with regulations. You can't tell me they didn't specifically choose understory trees to open views up to their property, regardless of Parks Department.

    And you're right, Kroger doesn't know the difference. I don't care if they consulted with Jonny Q. Treemaster - what they're showing on the plans will look crappy. Large paortions of spaced out understory trees always look bad.
  • They want everyone on the trail to see thier store. This is why they butchered the natural green scape. What ever they do, it will still leave gaping holes so everyone will see their crappy grocery store. What they should do is elevate the dirt bordering the trail about 3-4 feet and plant trees on top of that. Hopefully nice trees that will grow to a descent height. Then maybe they will have a chance to right this horrible mistake.
  • If you want a pedestrian-friendly development accessible to the Monon, this is the trade-off. I think it's an easy one. This is an urbanized area; it's not like the Monon was passing through unspoiled wilderness until now. Anyone who has actually been on that part of the trail and argues otherwise is being obtuse.

    The Nora-Nimby Council people were opposed to this development anyway, so they'll take any excuse to stir the pot.
  • Mr. Peanut - I don't think anyone wanted a pedestrian-friendly development...I don't think anyone wanted the development in the first place.
    Obtuse? You've obviously been watching too much Shawshank Redemption lately...
  • I think Mr. Peanut has a good point... if by opening up this window to their store they encourage a few more people to take a walk to Kroger to pick up the few things they need rather than drive their gas guzzling SUV's, what's wrong with that? Is the lack of shade on that portion of the trail really such a big deal? Heck, the Cultural Trail downtown has nary a lick of shade (other than from tall buildings) and passes right along busy streets and is gaining kudos from around the country.
  • Mark, speak for yourself. Lots of people are very pleased to see that even though this is still a suburban strip mall, we can at least have suburban developments that accommodate modes of transportation other than the private car. And I fail to see how anyone could prefer the buildings that are there now over this development.

    As for the Shawshank Redemption, I don't know what the hell you're talking about.
  • What Monon users will see first, though, is the GAS STATION! That GAS STATION will be directly west of the Monon Trail. Nice, huh? Oh, by the way, the developer would not make any commitments to the neighbors; not just the NNCC people, but the residents who live south on Evergreen. Lights, compresser noise, deliveries. What a good neighbor.

    Also, residents abutting the trail south need to be worried. If the city decides to give away a part of the trail behind their houses, they'll do it. No public hearing, no nothing!
  • I don't understand what the problem here is? It seems like everyone against this development is against the idea of density. Just because we have land out in the suburbs doesn't mean that we should exploit it simply to keep our vacant buildings and a few trees intact. If you want true rural living, move to Montana.
  • It ridiculous that Nora would have any commercial development. To remove old growth forest and natural prairie just to start paving this area is terrrible. Pretty soon the entire area will have commercial development. Wait a minute, my bad. Nora is already full of commercial development. The Nimby's have had their perceived power taken away so they are going to be against anything.
  • This project should be way more dense. 250 for rent units and a ground floor kroger wrapped around a publicly financed/TIF'd parking garage for public and residents. Also, it should be adjacent to Indy's first mass transit line! That's right! The smartest place to put a transit line right through the backyards of near north, broad ripple, carmel and westfield with TIF'd parking garages up and down the line! Can you imagine how much ridership THAT would generate?

    If the leadership actually insisted on this they'd be voted out of office so fast!

    Instead it will be a Kroger for the next 50 years. BRAVO
  • I just don't understand. The best news you could possibly get from the developer and it causes MORE bitter outrage and disgust??? I don't get it! I think this has done more to expose these NIMBY's as unreasonable petty complainers that anything else. There is no point in taking these people seriously anymore. You guys should be THRILLED about this development!
  • Onlooker's words (post #3) should be remembered. Take a look at Sandor's properties around town and the first thing you notice is a severe lack of maintenance and upkeep. Holes in the asphalt paving large enough to swallow small cars, weeds invading the landscaped areas, dated facades that seem to have been designed for the absolute minimum cost, and an overall lack of attention to curb appeal of any kind. The glossy blueprints and site plans for this project mean nothing if Sandor follows tradition and refuses to spend money on routine maintenance as the years go by.
  • That is not dense, nor urban. Its a strip mall with gas station. It's garbage.
  • The 13 trees which were removed were large old growth trees. The new ones in total do not add up to a fraction of the caliper of trees removed (look it up if you don't know what this is). And as noted, they are a decorative tree which will not have height or girth of what was once there.

    The drainage from the parking lot is being diverted to a culvert (they call it a swale) next to the trail.

    The land along the trail is technically park land (go look this up if you doubt me). The city entered into an agreement with the developer and gave the developer rights to the land - CITY PARK LAND - your land people! But not any more! Oh, and if the city wants to cancel the agreement, which they can do, they owe the developer over $300,000 (that is not a typo) to do so. In exchange, the developer is giving the city 96 trees for Eagle Creek Park (I'm not sure this is fair - do you?). The last time I checked, Eagle Creek is not in Nora.

    Like the new drainage ditch, oops, I mean swale, this stinks. Check back in a couple of years - this property will look like all the other crappy Sandor properties.
  • Noraman, I will check back in a couple of years to tell you that this property still looks better than the vacant buildings there now. (If you doubt me, look it up on this site in 2015).
  • kevin- let me get this right - you work for Kroger, Indy Parks, or Sandor-right? Or maybe all three!
  • If this is good for this Kroger, then why dont all Krogers have this level of Landscaping. It should be the norm, not just for high rent areas.
  • I can't get over the complaining from people like Mark and lois. Good grief, if somebody went in there and knocked down the Blockbuster and planted Oaks to create an old-growth forest, you would complain about the lack of mature trees and the mosquitos!

    The foliage that was there before wasn't aesthetically pretty, folks. It was a jumble of smaller trees, shrubs, weeds, etc. Yes, it blocked the view, but it was a mess. This area is right next to an urbanized part of Indianapolis, a busy street. There are going to be gas stations; there are going to be retailers. I think the landscaping will look nice. So what if it doesn't fully block the view of the store? If you want to ride/walk in a forest, go up to the trail between 96th and 111th.

    Stop the whining.
  • First of all, everyone lay off the NCC and stop calling them Nimbys. They may not be a perfect bunch, but they are looking out for the neighborhood. Have some understanding for these folks. Sure, something new is better than abandoned buildings. But packing ten pounds of dog mess into a five pound bag isn't the answer, either. That land will be overdeveloped. Developers, in the end, have more allegiance to the $ than the community. I've seen it first hand. You can only hope for the best, and keep their fannies to the fire.
  • Just look across the Trail from this site at the back of the Snooty Fox center. IF they were so concerned about how things look from the trail, why didn't they start THERE? Unscreened dumpsters, 100% asphalt paving, poorly maintained building...
    • I can't understand all the ranting. It's not like any of the strips malls next door and across the street are aesthetically pleasing. I certainly don't enjoy the current blight at this location. And yes, I live closeby and shop across the street. The Nora residential community isn't exactly doing their part by keeping their homes well maintained and updated. The neighborhood is on a slow downslide.
    • I think the landscaping will look nice. Obviously, you can't read landscaping plans. It will look like a concrete wasteland (like all parking lots do) with island trees mixed in. The landscaping along the trail is a joke.
      Sorry Chuck71, I can't get over people who don't know what they're talking about.
    • I applaud Sandor for taking this project on, believe me many others may have tried, but this will take what has been an eyesore (I don't miss the gang you/) and actually redevelops: an area that was in very poor condition. There are very few gas stations in the Nora area....and Kroger will be an additional place for many current Kroger shoppers to go to. It will look nice, and as far as trees go, it will take time.....
      I have seen lots of Sandor Development Properties, they are one of the largest independent developers IN THE NATION.....if you want to bash Sidney go ahead, he can take it, but you will all be eating crow soon because this will look nice, whether you like it or not.
    • I'm sure the proposed trees are ornamentals because they are under power lines. IPL has very strict guidelines as to what can be planted beneath overhead lines. Yes, it would be great to have huge shade trees along the Monon, but unless you want to see IPL do their lovely 'carving trees into V's program' in a few years, this is the only choice. The shade trees in the parking lot should help to buffer the store from the trail. It looks to me that they are doing a decent job within the ordinances they are forced to comply with.
    • Is a sidewalk being installed on the west side of the Kroger? My reading of the site plan is that there will be a grass area with trees along Evergreen, but no sidewalk. I understand that pedestrians aren't supposed to exist in Nora except for on the Monon, but still....
    • This is much better than my than my walk to Bud's in Fountain Square, and that's on CITY property! I wish someone would put that in for us! Complainers!
    • The Monon Trail; just another side walk. Just more proof that the Mono was built for development, not for citizens.

      To MJ: So, it's okay to tear down trees, but not be forced to then bury the lines? And I don't see any BUFFER that's going to be created by these trees. Believe me, instead of a beautiful canopy, we're now going to be looking over a lovely gas station and parking lot. Can't wait...
    • I don't understand.....if you look directly OPPOSITE this area there are NO TREES at all, you look at the rear end of a strip center.....if these
    • Snotty Fox
      I agree. Who would eatatthe Snotty Fox anyway after seeing its dirty, greasy underbelly facing the trail. Its nasty and always adorned with cigarette smoking "cooks" standing around in the garbage and grease out the back door.
      Amazing, the focus on Kroger with this going on.
      Nasty, Nasty

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