Developer plans $55M resort-like Noblesville apartment complex

June 27, 2013
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Indianapolis-based Maefield Development Corp. is proposing a 611-unit apartment complex for young professionals on the southern edge of Noblesville, stirring controversy as it seeks to rezone a portion of the property.

It’s a familiar fight for Maefield, which won approval for the 680-acre Noble West mixed-use development at 146th Street and Hazel Dell Road in 2003. Plans called for 1,600 single-family homes and 520 multifamily units, plus commercial and office space.

(Maefield also gave the city 76 acres for Dillon Park and helped pay for road improvements.)

A total of 37 acres were set aside for apartments and townhomes, but in 2007 the developer asked to shift about eight acres of multifamily land to commercial use after its Kroger-anchored Hazel Dell Crossing retail area got off to a fast start.

Then the recession hit, the housing bubble burst and the rental market exploded. And now Maefield wants that still-undeveloped property for the $55 million apartment project, located north of the shopping center.

It’s pitching an upscale community of one- and two-bedroom apartments with resort-like amenities such as poolside cabanas, sand volleyball courts and a hammock zone intended to appeal to young professionals.

Rents would range from $900 to $1,850 per month, land-use attorney Steve Hardin told the Noblesville Common Council at its Tuesday meeting.

The city’s Plan Commission reviewed Maefield’s proposal and voted 7-2 this month to forward it to the council with a positive recommendation.

During that discussion, the developer said it would come up with a tree-preservation plan for the wooded property and agreed to a pair of conditions intended to assuage neighbors’ concerns about the project: It won’t build any three-bedroom units and it won’t accept any rent subsidies.

Some nearby homeowners aren’t convinced. A half-dozen area residents spoke out against the proposal at the council meeting Tuesday, raising concerns about increased traffic and decreased property values.

They’re also worried about the density. Maefield’s 611-apartment proposal needs city approval because it exceeds the 520 multifamily units originally approved as part of the Noble West plan. (The 100 townhomes already built on the west side of Hazel Dell mean the new project would be limited to 420 units without a change.)

Councilor Mark Boice echoed their concerns about the increase, saying he’s not convinced existing city infrastructure can support a project of that size.

“It’s so far over the master plan, I have a hard time seeing how it would fit there,” he said.

The council will revisit Maefield’s request at its next meeting.

What’s your take on the dispute—and the underlying question one resident raised: Do young professionals want to live in Noblesville?

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  • Insufficient Infrastructure
    We built a house on the western edge of Noblesville in 1993, and we have the most pathetic water pressure believable. Noblesville's government has done nothing to fix this problem and they continue to approve addl. building. For new building to be approved, the infrastructure (e.g. water pump stations) needs to be update FIRST!
  • Traffic concern
    This new development will only increase the traffic past the Dillon Park playground and through neighborhood behind Kroger. Many drivers use the main streets in the neighborhood as a short cut and use excess speed in a 25mph residential and playground zone. These streets are rarely monitored by the police for speeders, in spite of complaints from the residents. Adding a minimum of 1,000 more cars using this short cut will surely result in an unfortunate situation for some family when their child is hit by a car racing to get home or to Kroger for their forgotten dinner ingredient. Not a good idea, unless something is done about the existing situation.
  • young professional
    How many young professionals have a desire to live in Noblesville? I love the area, however it is much more a family draw vs. a young professional (usually single). Young professionals want to live Downtown or in Broad Ripple. There is no way they can fill 611 units with young professionals being their target.
    • Second that notion...
      I agree with the earlier comment about young prof not wanting to move to this area. Unless Noblesville and the bordering towns really see a surge in businesses that will hire young prof (and pay enough to afford these luxury apts), people under 40 without kids will not want to move there.
      • Noblesville Needs More "Smart Growth" and Not This
        I appreciate that Maefield gifted the city the acres for Dillon Park, but an apartment this size is too big for the Noblesville market. We need more "smart growth" in Noblesville rather than blindly grabbing for as many tax dollars, no matter the cost to our community in terms of quality of life, safety, school size and over development.
      • YP with kids
        I am a YP, with 3 kids and we live just north of this development. We loved living downtown, until my wife became pregnant with our 2nd child. We fled to Noblesville for the schools, as previous comments suggest. Before having kids, there is no way we would have even considered "the burbs", let alone Noblesville. That being said, we love Noblesville and chose our neighborhood because there are a TON of kids. I can't even think of any of my neighbors that might fit the demographic this developer is targeting. But I'm super-siked for even more bottle neck traffic at 146th & Hazel Dell!
      • No Way
        There's no way you're going to fill that with young professionals at a minimum monthly rate of $900. Are you kidding me? This isn't New York or California, it's central Indiana. Hamilton County doesn't need any more people as it is.
      • Why Not Buy a House
        Also, why would you pay $900-$1,800/mo for an apartment when you can get a mortgage at $700/mo and pay into something you will actually get money out of when you decide to move on.
        • High rent
          Sounds like the rent amounts charged at Sophia Square & City Center in Carmel. Not sure how that would work in this location.
        • Why YPs??
          At a recent meeting to 'explain' this project, the speaker could not seem to find words to explain why they are targeting this demographic. No studies were cited, or supporting evidence offered. Concerns about traffic were waived off as non-consequential since Noblesville would not require traffic studies for this project.
        • Potential disaster
          This project is misguided and way over scale. As an aging young professional I can assure you Noblesville wasn't on my radar until we had kids. We love it here now. I see why people are so concerned. There is enough traffic and school capacity as is and this has a potential to flop.
        • Real Estate "Professionals"
          Love all the comments from people who think they understand market demand for apartments better than the developers whose actual money is at stake. Let's leave market speculation to the professionals.
        • YPs are looking more to rentals than mortgages now...
          The rental market will continue to be strong because there is a large number of "sideline" renters in the millenial generation that put off household formation during the downturn. Additionally, the stigma attached to renting over buying is starting to fade somewhat. Millenials value mobility and flexibility and high end rental properties with good amenities provide this. Homeownership is not the end all be all dream for everyone anymore. Young people have been shown in the last decade that home real estate values are far from a sure thing and hard to look at as a money making investment.
        • Great Comments
          This is really fantastic feedback. As a developer, I can attest to how easy it is to adopt an us-versus-them mentality and simply push for what's possible rather than seeking to harmonize and really be in tune with what would best serve the community and its resources. It's not like any of you were particularly resistant to change...it's just that, being at street-level, you have a very real-world perspective. The young professionals who spoke up, the water pressure issue, the bottleneck at 146th & Hazel Dell...granular stuff. I loved it. Thank you all for the perspective refresher. ~John Q

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        1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

        2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

        3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

        4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

        5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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