Plan calls for mixed-use giant

May 26, 2007
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A local developer is planning an ambitious project called Woodfield Crossing that would add 1.8 million square feet of development to the southwest corner of 86th Street and Keystone Avenue. Woodfield CrossingThe project, by Premier Properties USA Inc., calls for a 5,000-seat theater, 700,000-square-foot office building, 240,000-square-foot hotel, 650,000 square feet of retail space and 240,000 square feet of residential. The retail portion alone would be about the size of The Fashion Mall. Premier showed off a rendering and site plan for the project at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention in Las Vegas May 20-23. They are pitching possible tenants but said it is too early to discuss the plans publicly. For more, check out the full IBJ story here. And for larger versions of the rendering and a map showing where the project is located, click here. What do you think?
  • The thing is a monster... People from Carmel need this for their mini-downtown on the northside so they dont have to go all the way to the core of the city
  • So is this thing a go? The article was kind of ambiguous as to whether this thing will get built or not.
  • Tim, it's hard to tell. As the article mentions, the owners are serious enough to tell tenants to prepare to move. But they also have a long way to go before the project becomes reality. The eventual redevelopment could evolve quite a bit from these plans, but my guess is something major will get built.
  • This project is just too big, and is not needed in that location.
    If they want to build a giant development retail residential complex there are other better places where it is more needed.
    Such as lafayette square which is dying or build it in an area of the city that doesn't yet have a mall.
    Building this in this location will only cause the problem of malls trying to put malls out of business, because there are only so many different stores available.
    And do we really need to work to make northside keystone traffic any worse than it already is.
  • Matt,

    Get real bro!! Lafayette Square??? Who the F* in their right mind would put such a beautiful, well thought out, dense project in a dying area? Keystone can and will support this kind of redev!

    problem of malls trying to put malls out of business, because there are only so many different stores available
    - Dude!! There are plenty of users left that can and will go to the crossing. It'a a mecca that we should densify and turn into Indy's 2nd CBD!

    And do we really need to work to make northside keystone traffic any worse than it already is

    Northside traffic will continue to get worse and worse but not because of good development like this!! Because all we do is build more roads instead of mass transit (bus lanes, rail, etc)! Don't you want to live in place like this where everything you could want is walkable!!!?? That creates less traffic trips buddy!! I want more liveable choices like this!!

    Lastly (before I finish my rant!!), property taxes are out of freaking control ( I live in washington twshp)! WE NEED TO ADD MORE VALUE TO THE GROUND WE HAVE BEFORE EVERYONE MOVES TO CARMEL!!
  • This all sounds very interesting. If any place in the city could support such a development it is that location. Wouldn't it be a perfect spot for a Ritz-Carlton or Fairmont Hotel, similar to what Ritz-Carlton did in St. Louis (outside the downtown)? And as for retail, what about Neiman-Marcus in that spot and other high-end retailers new to Indy? Sounds exciting.
  • I sure hope there'll be an Applebee's, Pier One Imports and Starbucks there. We're really hurting for some good chain operations up North.
  • Kevin G:

    How about a W hotel (or equiv), new northside venue for music (bigger and better than vouge), jamba juice, neiman marcus, etc. Oh and how about some kick a$$ condos from which people can actually walk to retail ammenities, concerts, etc.
  • I have mixed feelings about this. More condos? I mean, honestly, there's already too many of those on the market. I've long thought Keystone at the Crossing was due for a new movie theatre. I love Landmark but they have a different audience than a regular theatre. That AMC at Clearwater is tired and dirty. I NEVER go there anymore. More retail... well there are definately always more retailers we don't have here in Indy. I would say by the time this project gets off the ground, it's going to be vastly different than how it started out.

    To Matt: Get a clue, dude, it's about demographics and profitability. Keystone at the Crossing is the MECCA of shopping here in the metro area - it's a prime site. Lafayette Square is dead.
  • Are we kidding ourselves? Nora Northside will kill that thing from the second they even think about looking at the plans. They're still fighting the Whole Foods, even though it's a done deal now. That was also a project which was very ambitious at the outset, but the NIMBY's there fought it to the point of suburban blandness. The only way this will be any different is if they don't need rezoning or variances, which I don't think is possible, given its mixed-use nature. Have fun murdering another great project, Nora Northsidee!
  • Don't even get me started on those crazy Nora Nimbys. By the time those people with nothing better to do with their time are done with the project, it'll end up being a McDonalds and a gas station.
  • Exactly, Jim, EXACTLY.... Whole Foods had great potential to be a very good development. Now, it's just another suburban big box.
  • McANA and the neighborhood associations are some of the biggest detriments to this city. They promote sprawling, low density developments with terrible architecture to boot. The associations in downtown are the worst. Its somewhat understandable for the Nora people to be concerned about density, but people living in the mile square have no business whining about density. You're living in the downtown of the 12th largest city in country for Gods sake! If you don't like density, drive 50 miles out of the city and have a blast.
  • Can't say that I am familiar with all the jargon -- NIMBY and McANA, but the Nora, etc. neighborhood assoc. was the first thing that went through my mind when I saw the IBJ Saturday. I like the project and discussion here. I live in BR and it took me awhile to grasp the benefit of the condos, but now, I'm firmly on board. And hey, how about the condos replacing the apt. on Keystone just south of this proposed development. I am thoroughly disgusted with the Nora people. Time to drop the Whole Foods fight and move on. Maybe to Lafayette Square -- maybe they could do some good there!
  • Love the last few comments!! So true!! The NIMBY's are killing our city!! But ya know what? We're letting them. When was the last time any of us went to a planning meeting and spoke in favor of a project. We all (myself included) need to start voiceing our opinions to the elected officials before they're forced to perpetuate the same ol sh*t!!

    I'm starting a new organization (loosely affiliated of course). Citezens For Lower Taxes Through Smart Density!! Look out NoraCC!! I'm already 500 Marion county citizens strong!! If you can make up bullsh*t numbers like that so can I!!
  • Ivo, I have been to a planning meeting and have spoken out. But the subsequent harrassment from these people is just not worth it.
  • ah, not in my back yard...yeah, those are my favorite folks, no matter where they live. Like they bought the view. No, they only think they bought the view. Check your survey, pal.
  • Mary,

    keep up the good fight! Does anyone know yet if they have to file re-zone (I'm sure they do)? If so, have they? When is it scheduled?

  • I think that this project is exactly what the northside/IKeystone area needs. Hopefully the CAVE and NiMBY groups don't jump all over this and kill it. Recently, I had heard that many developers are actually proposing larger developments than they intended to build so that the CAVE's and NiMBY's feel like they have won by having projects reduced in size. Smart idea!

    I have long wondered why Keystone at the Crossing has not had a substantial condo/apartment tower built along the lake. I am sure that there are many people who work up there that want to live the urban lifestyle, but find that living downtown is too expensive, or that they want to be closer to work.

    Finally, a project of this scale along Keystone further underscores the need for the proposed mass-transit line to go up Keystone and not Binford Blvd. I could easily see this project with its own train station/park and ride facility that would achor that entire area.
  • There was a certain green project in Broad Ripple recently that I know a lot of people were in favor of, but no one came out in support of the petition. The main reason why it was denied - density and lack of parking, even though they HAD PROVIDED the required number of parking spaces. This was right on College, just north of 62nd Street. It was really sad to watch, as I agreed with everything the petitioner was saying and wanted so badly for it to be approved. Yet, the Planning staff was recommending denial. I knew several people who were in support, but not a soul showed up. It was rather upsetting. I guess some of us who actually care about this stuff probably can't actually show up in support of a petition due to the nature of our work, or who we are, or whatever; but many like-minded people still could and should.
  • Anonymous-

    Unfortunately, people who support a petition rarely show up. It is only when you are against something do you feel the need to speak your mind. This is very misleading as it gives a false impression of reality.
  • Wow, I guess this board is populated with anonymous commercial developers. Nice try guys, but Nora Community Council has kept the Nora area a great place to raise a family for about 40 years or so. Or maybe you don't care about that since you probably live in Carmelot. Without the nora council fighting in the 70's, fyi, the Castleton thouroughfare would have continued to Township Line Road. Now Castleton, there's some great neighborhood planning right Mary, Jim, Ivo, and Anonymous? Oh that's right, there's no neighborhood association over there.

    I love developers like you who call people who want to preserve their neighborhoods and home values the deragotory term nimby. You're the nimby's. The developments you put in my neighborhood are developments you either move away from or would never live by in the first place, you hypocrites.

    And also, to Ivo. Uh- you might want to look to your MDC and its planning staff and the BZA if you are assigning blame for lousy development. NCC doesn't approve or reject development projects. They simply make recommendations based on input from residents and businesses in the area.

    I for one am glad we have an active neigborhood association in the Nora Area. Without it, I probably wouldn't be raising my family here.
  • Ivo and anonymous: An honest question from a newcomer: How does one find out about these proposals in order to go speak in support of them? I live in BR and fully supported the green scheme, but I didn't know about it until it was published in the Gazette as having been presented the PREVIOUS week.
  • The houses in Nora are pretty trashy looking. Wouldn't development increase their property values?
  • pathas = luddite (sp). Stop holding on to the 70's Nora communities that didn't even require neighborhood sidewalks.

    BTW I live in Broad Ripple and grew up in MK. I love my hood but wish to see it evolve and get a grip on out-of-control taxes! I'm also concerned that if we don't densify with green, walkable projects our city will slowly die while watching everyone move to Carmel.

    Sorry, but look in the mirror NIMBY!! If you want to live in the suburbs move to Westfield (BFE). News Flash Lady!! Nora is now in the city.

    Liberty: you can get planning agendas at and click on Public Hearing Info.
  • Forgot to add a big BROAD RIPPLE BOOO YEAH at the end!!
  • Clearly, the posters here know nothing about the zoning process in this county. A primer on the Whole Foods/Zoning issue:

    A Comprehensive Plan is developed and updated regularly for each township. Citizens, developers, volunteers--all sit around a table and agree on zoning standards for every vacant parcel and every redevelopment parcel. It's long work, and compromises are the norm. The Comp Plan is to be a guide--not a firm rule--and it works well when it's followed. Compromises are sometimes made after the Plan is adopted. On this site, the Plan was raped. And it's not over yet.

    The Metro Development Commission has a hearing officer who's unqualified--wife of the City Council Majority Leader--who approved the Whole Foods development. The remonstrators pointed out, correctly, that the site was for low-density development in the Comp Plan. The Site Plan that got approved was highly dense, much moreso than a neighborhood center or housing, whicih the remonstrators did suggest and advocate. There are also long-term commmitments made on the land parcels, which the remonstrators negotiated with the landowner in 1995, which are now being ignored. So much for promises, huh?

    These particular remonstrators worked with the developer of the Bed Bath center on River Road, and he'd report to you that the result was good. They're not against everything.

    They're For the orderly development of their neighborhood and area. And they've invested the hard work it takes to see it through, albeit negated by an idiotic MDC hearing examiner.

    Do your homework on these remonstrators and the process. Then lob bombs over the fence.
  • Ivo-- the problem is that what the developers propose in our area are not the shangrila type green oriented projects you envision. They are almost always big boxes and strip malls with more national chain restaruants. You may want to live next to that down in BR, but I don't in Nora. Until a developer comes up with something that enhances the community rather than defaces it we rely on our neighborhood organizations to fight to maintain our neighborhoods and property values. P.S. Without NCC there would be no sidewalks on 86th street.
  • You guys already lost out on the 1995 commitment issue. It was set out in state code clearly. Why Nora even challenged it is beyond me.
  • Pathas,

    Do you really think this project will deface your neighborhood? From the plans I've seen, this is some of the most fascinating architecture and development in the city I've seen in a while. Fighting a wal-mart is one thing, but how could you possibly fight this when it would be an asset to the community and property values? Times change, places change.
  • The sad thing is that for every blue haired old lady in neighborhood groups, there are several young, innovative people, who understand the need for density and mixed use. They just are not as active. And, by the way, I would have killed for the Whole Foods project in my neighborhood. It was a fantastic example of a decent density around what may very well be a future transit node. The comp plan is a joke, and it's half of our problem with development, as the NIMBY's came out in force during its creation to to ensure that the entire thing was covered in low density residential. And the planners, being afraid of what they could ever get passed, and laking vision from the top knew that they had no leg to stand on for setting out a plan that would encourage any kind of smart growth in this city. I have a ton of respect for people wanting a zoning ordinance enforced, but when that ordinance is a relic from th 1970's SimCIty zoning philosophy, it's time to throw it out. It's happening all over the country but here... transit supportive overlay districts, mixed use zoning, build-to lines (instead of setback lines), ground floor transparency regulations, sidewalk requirements for all new deveopment... but it's not happening here. It's happening in places like Austin, San Diego, Charlotte, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Sacramento... the list goes on, but they're all places where young, bright people are flocking from places like here to live and where existing residents find their quality of life improving. Yet, we still enforce single-use zoning from the 70's. You can draw your own conclusions.
  • pathas, its people like you and the rest of the Nora NIMBYs that cause Indy to have such a massive brain drain.
  • Jim:

    Did you bother to read the whole thread?? Where the h did I say I didn't like the Woodfield Project???? Anonymous is using this thread and other threads to bad mouth Nora Council for some reason. All I did was offer an opposing viewpoint. Take a look at the Buckingham thread where he brings Nora up there, even though that project is in Carmel fcol.

    I think the woodfield project sounds like a benefit to Nora. It's substituting a mixed commercial and residential development for existing commercial which is not that successful. It's not destroying a neighborhood.

    btw, it's you, Jim - you who either refuses to or can't read or think - that exemplifies the massive brain drain. as one of the cerebrally challenged who remain.
  • This kind of blows Carmel's City Center out of the water.

    The Nora folks have no real power.
  • Kent, we could only be so lucky if your second sentence were true.
  • Pathas & Think Again-

    As a former planner for the City of Indianapolis, I would like to think that I have a pretty good idea of how the entire zoning/planning process works here in Marion County. On numerous occasions I have witnessed neighborhood groups (McANA) throw support to misplanned, hodge-podge projects that are low density and oppose those that are well-planned and actually embrace the surrounding neighborhood, yet because of a higher density, are consider the spawn of satan.

    Yes, a comprehensive plan is to be a guide...a guide only. But there is much more than just the Comp Plan when developments are being considered. There is also the highest and best use of the land, existing development patterns/conditions, and the conservation of property values.

    Concerning thge Comp Plan...yes, it should be updated regularly (every 5 years). However, in Indianapolis, it is not udated regularly. As a matter of fact, the 2000 Comp Plan Update was just completed...why did it take 8 years for the Comp Plan Update to be completed, you ask?? Because McANA and its various incarnations hijacked the thing. Any type of density increase that was proposed for the County was opposed tooth and nail by the NiMBY's. I understand people wanting to preserve their neighborhoods, but I don't agree with those groups who want to see Marion County developed with a density of 5-7 units/acre. Incase you missed it, Indianapolis/Marion County is the 13th-largest city in the Country with some of the worst pollution. Why is that? Because we continue to develop by means of sprawl. When things are spread out, it costs more money to get basic city-services to those areas. It also causes people to have to drive further, which then leads to an increase in emessions, resulting in bad air-quality.

    Cities all across the country are densifying. There is a major reason for that. We can't continue to subsidize sprawl and expect to have a high quality of life. Further, property taxes will continue to increase if the sprawling, low-density developments continue. The same people who complain about density also complain about taxes. Well, you have to give a little if you want to stabilize property taxes. Stop opposing smart, well-planned, higher density projects. Or, suck it up and get out you check book.
  • Planner,

    I don't understand why you find it necessary to address your post to me. Leave me out of your class on urban planning, ok?
  • I'm with you, Pannas.

    Planner must've missed some of the required classes in his degree program.

    There are plenty of parcels in the updated Comp Plan, that call for higher-density. There are plenty of green space parcels (not enough for some, too much for others).

    But here's a tip: once the Comp Plan is adopted, however long it takes, whoever delays or hijacks it, it should be a good gauge for future zoning. Not a Bible, but a decent gauge, particularly for delicate, potentially-abused areas.

    And it should not be fodder for an unprofessional, unschooled political hack Hearing Officer to preside over. Ever. Give-and-take, yeah, but the Whole Foods case was a fiasco, and it began with the findings reached by the hearing officer. A complete nincompoop. She knew nothing about the law, the case, or procedure.

    In a true compromise setting, remonstrators and petitioners have a chance to negotiate. In this setting, on this case, the hearing officer made up testimony, reached faulty conclusions and displayed unprofessional conduct. More than once. It was an embarrassment.

    Lots of folks were angry not just at the decision, which happens in zoning fights. They were angry at the process into which they'd put so much faith.

    If you're really a Planner, you'd know--politics has no place in the process. And the chief, original decider in this case was and is a political appointee who had zero experience with zoning matters. She got her job strictly because her hubby is the Majority Leader of the City County Council, and he demanded she get a good job. By most accounts, she has done a horrid job, but she remains there because of politics.

    Her ignorance can cut both ways, ya know. And it has.

    Once the Comp Plan update began, it took only two years to adopt nine different township plans. I think that's a good timetable.

    And I don't know if you attended any of those meetings, Planner, but I did. And it was good give-and-take among all participants.
  • Ha Ha Ha! I love it.

    I am in no way, shape, or form, claiming that the Hearing Examiner is qualified to do her job. I also agree that politics should not be involved in zoning/land use, but to think that it isn't, is quite foolish and naive. The freaking boards are ALL political appointees!

    As a planner for the city for a number of years, I certainly have the experience of working with all of the County's neighborhood groups. Some are great,, not so great. My post was directed toward the not so great as on numerous occasions I have witnessed support for what could be considered horribly-planned developments that were only supported because of the desnity, when others, like this one in particluar, were slated because the groups couldn't see the forest for the trees due to the project being dense.

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