Plans for long-contentious Westfield corner gain steam

August 22, 2014
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An Indianapolis-based development group is moving forward with plans for a CVS Pharmacy-anchored commercial development at the southeast corner of 161st Street and Spring Mill Road in Westfield.

Cooperstown Partners LLC filed a rezoning request for the 7.6-acre site two years ago, but put the project on hold while a neighborhood group worked with city planners to create a vision for the largely residential area.

Proposed CVS at Spring
                              Mill Station in WestfieldA proposed CVS pharmacy at 161st Street and Spring Mill Road in Westfield was designed with the location in mind. Click to enlarge. (Rendering courtesy of city of Westfield)

“We’re patient people,” said Jim Adams, one of three Cooperstown principals. “This is a very unique and ultimately a very exciting project. The level of involvement [from neighbors] has been excellent.”

Indeed, the intersection has been a point of contention for more than a decade. A heated zoning battle over a shopping center on the northeast corner ended up in court—and spurred the town of Westfield to become a city.

But the Kroger-anchored Springmill Commons, ultimately approved in 2003, was been successful despite the backlash, driving developer interest in the increasingly busy corner.

As IBJ reported in January, neighbors came up development guidelines for what they’re calling Spring Mill Station, a railroad-themed neighborhood hub organizers hope will successfully integrate housing and retail. (The theme is an homage to Westfield’s railroad heritage.)

Think public art, green space and multiuse trails that create a village feel. Suggested uses include retail, restaurants, offices and health care, with apartments, senior living and the like providing a gradual transition to existing single-family homes.

Their vision has since been added to Westfield’s comprehensive land-use plan.

Cooperstown has worked with neighbors to adjust its project accordingly. It has four residential properties under contract and is proposing to develop three commercial buildings: a 12,000-square-foot CVS, 7,800 square feet of multi-tenant retail, and a 20,000-square-foot medical office building.

Its plans also include several walking paths, a train car with outdoor seating and a gazebo and benches where passersby can take a break.

The Spring Mill Station guidelines affected the planned architecture—don’t expect a cookie-cutter pharmacy design—and influences thematic elements like the train car, Adams said. The developer also had to adjust the site layout, bringing buildings closer to the street.

If the rezone is approved, construction on the CVS and retail building could start next spring and be complete by late 2015, he said. Now that the neighbors’ vision has been finalized, Cooperstown is starting to talk with restaurant operators and other potential tenants.

“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train bearing down on us,” Adams said.

The developer also is exploring the potential medical-office space, talking with brokers and hospital groups that have expressed interest in the location.

Adams declined to share estimate construction costs or the project’s likely value once the work is complete, saying only that is will be “a substantial number on an important corner.”

Westfield’s Advisory Plan Commission is expected to vote on the rezoning request in early September. City Council also must sign off. Feedback at an Aug. 18 public hearing was positive, Adams said.

A separate proposal to redevelop a portion of the northwest corner also is pending: Kroger Limited Partnership wants to expand the grocery store—adding outdoor seating and a mural in the process—and expand and relocate its fueling station.

The existing gas station at the corner would be demolished and replaced with a larger facility to the north, more than doubling fueling capacity and making way for more parking and a pedestrian plaza offering seating and a brick path to a nearby Starbucks.

A 1,000-square-foot walk-in attendant kiosk, dubbed Kroger Depot, also is planned.

  • Just what we need
    Just what we need: another CVS on a prime corner! Why not make it a complete set? Add a Starbucks, a Panera, and a generic sub shop and a generic pizza shop. Ruining another Indiana landscape.
  • RE: Just what we need
    Josh, I hate to tell you but there already is a Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Subway. No Panera though, sorry. That being said, I don't think this project is at all ruining the landscape. This location is obviously providing services the residents in the area want because it is ALWAYS busy! I think it is great residents took a proactive approach and created a vision/plan for the area.
    • RE: just what we need
      Not only are the services of the pharmacy something that the neighborhood will benefit from, as an anchor tenant they help create the atmosphere that will attract many of the other desired retail services (dining, local retail). It also provides financial support for better pedestrian bike paths and public green space that will create better neighborhood connectivity. A great area to live will become even more social and welcoming. Strong neighborhoods support higher home values. Plus the businesses are good for the tax base of a growing city. How nice will it be to ride a bike to the store or visit your neighbors on another corner!
    • corner status
      Wish it was a Walgreen's instead.
    • It's about time!
      Why in the world would someone not want civilization here? We have a Kroger that is n desperate need of room to carry a full selection of groceries. We could use some good food establishments to eat at. There is nothing here and it's pretty ridiculous if anyone thinks we need to leave town to find a CVS or place to eat. The Mexican place is rancid and Pizza Hut is there for kids. I'm glad someone decided to move forward!

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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. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim