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Multi-family housing project slated for Monon Trail

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King Park Area Development Corp. is teaming with an Indianapolis developer on an $8.7 million residential project to improve a blighted parcel along the Monon Trail on the city’s near-north side.

The proposed redevelopment with Milhaus Development LLC would include three apartment buildings along the west side of the trail between East 20th and 21st streets. The three-story buildings together would house 84 units—or 28 each—on 2.1 acres.

The city’s Metropolitan Development Commission is set to consider the proposal during its next meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“Obviously, the Monon Trail is right there, and there’s other development [in the area] going on,” Milhaus Principal David Leazenby said. “That was really the main drivers for it.”

King Park Area Development will be the owner of the Monon project and plans to finance it through federal tax credits that are set to be awarded by the Indiana Community & Housing Development Authority in the spring. The tax credits designate that a majority of the units must be affordable housing.

If all goes well, construction should begin next summer and be completed in about 15 months, Leazenby said.

Metropolitan Development’s King Park Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2001, designated the property as “major rehabilitation.” The parcel is vacant except for one dilapidated building on the south end of the site and has become overgrown and neglected through the years.

About 10,000 square feet of outdoor public space will be incorporated into the project, according to the plans.

Site plans call for the front of the buildings to face the trail, with 102 parking spaces positioned behind the buildings.

To limit access from the Monon Trail to the apartment buildings, a “soft” landscaping barrier will be constructed to establish a boundary and to provide additional security for residents, the plans said.

The area near the Monon on the city’s near-north side is just one of five nationally that’s been designated as a Smart Growth Renewal District through a partnership of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Department of Transportation.

A few blocks east on 22nd Street, a $4.5 million, 62-unit project called National Apartments on the Monon is the latest phase of the Martindale on the Monon redevelopment project.

The apartment development is part of a 46-acre expanse of brownfield properties DC Development Group plans to transform into the National Design District, named for the former headquarters of the National Motor Vehicle Co.

National Apartments opened in July and could be fully occupied by November, DC Development Principal Mike Higbee said. Monthly rental rates run from $259 to $700.

“I don’t think the National Apartments would have ever been built where it is without the Monon corridor,” he said.

The housing downturn has breathed new life into the apartment industry, prompting developers to launch all sorts of projects.

Yet, certain markets can only support so many developments, said George Tikijian, a principal of Indianapolis apartment brokerage Tikijian Associates.

“What happens is you get a strong market and everybody gravitates to it,” he said. “We are in the early stages of potentially oversupplying the [Indianapolis-area] market two years from now.”

Milhaus is also working on the redevelopment of the former Bank One Ops Center downtown, for which groundbreaking is scheduled next summer. Tad Miller, founder of Milhaus, is being sued over the project by former partners Kosene & Kosene Development.


 

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  • Well said
    Well said, CorrND. I agree completely. I hope these projects come to pass -- and are done well.
  • Who will get targeted?
    I think attracting more young professionals to the area is the right approach, but will that be possible when the tax credits will require that the majority of households are below 50% of the median income? For a single person, I believe that will mean earning somewhere in the neighborhood of $24,000/year or less. It would be interesting to see the specific breakdown of how many units are income restricted and at what specific level. I'm all for mixed-income communities, but in a neighborhood that is severely dilapidated and has been neglected for decades, additional housing targeted at low-income households might not be the best catalyst for future market-rate investment. Just sayin'.
  • Safety
    There already exists a safety callbox at the corner of 21st and the Monon (i.e. at the north end of the proposed development). That stretch of the Monon currently boasts many vacant lots. This looks to be a great project and a very good step in the right direction.
  • Good... if done right
    As a 7+ yr resident of Fall Creek Place, I've always thought getting an apartment complex along the Monon would help the area -- as long as it was done right.
    * Target the young professionals. There are many that would love to live near downtown. They can't afford living downtown and the apts north of downtown don't have the amenities they want. So their only option is Castleton.
    * Ensure convenience. Bus stops would be nice, but we all know IndyGo's current issues. Hopefully the potential increase in area population would help the development of 22nd and Delaware along with upgrading the Kroger at 16th and Central.
    * Promote the heck out of it. There are still too many people with poor conceptions of the area.
  • One person's perspective
    I own a $250k+ home a block from the Monon and south of 38th street, and we use the Monon all the time (so do many, many others). For what it's worth, we are extremely happy to watch the developments springing up along the Trail. This project is not alone in the greater downtown neighborhood, nor in the immediate vicinity. And for those people who continually (see below) insinuate that I, or my chiropractor neighbor, or my other neighbor the extreme sports instructor, or his neighbor the doctor, or the doctor's neighbor the business owner-- that we are "low-income" or somehow otherwise undesirable: Please. I've attended many events in Carmel, and I know downtown Indy; and I had a choice in where to live seeing as how we bought our home with cash: I did not choose Carmel. Just a thought for those scared northsiders who somehow can't see beyond their own backyards.
  • Effects
    I see it as a gateway for home ownership in the area, or step down for seniors on a budget. Hopefully the programs in place will promote the residents to volunteer in order to add to and be involved in the area. Good luck Janine and the rest of King Park!
  • Is this the path to revitalization?
    More subsidized low-income housing. Will this improve land vaules in the area? Will these increase the likelihood that market rate housing will develop on the scads of vacant lots in the area? Not claiming to know the answer; just asking the question and looking for input.
    • Correct....
      I agree with CorrND. More projects placing people and frontages along the Monon are what is needed. Few people feel in danger in populated places. It is the illusion of dark empty spaces that make people nervous. More people provides more cover and less opportunity. This project is a great start for this area. I wish the design was a little more urban, but again, a good start.
    • Apt's the Solution
      ChristineB -- I would argue that apartments like these are themselves the solution to the Monon security problem. Due to rail history of the Monon corridor, there are very few residential projects right up near the trail and therefore no "eyes on the trail" to protect it.
    • Will this keep the Monon Safe?
      It's great to see that more development is going to happen along the Monon trail, but with the recent accounts of robbery and assault happening on the Monon Trail, I wonder what type of tenants these housing projects will attract. My main concern is better safety and security on the monon. It would be nice if the trail could have those big blue emergency stations on it.

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