Browning adding more apartments to gain support for Broad Ripple project

July 12, 2013
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Broad Ripple Shell station 225 pxBrowning Investments’ plans for a massive mixed-use development in Broad Ripple will feature more apartments in an attempt to gain broader support for its proposal.

Browning was set to present its plans to the Department of Metropolitan Development’s Division of Planning on Thursday but asked for a continuance to give it time to rework the design. The plans are now slated to be heard July 25.

Among the changes Browning is making: adding 15 units to the 88 apartments already included in the plans, reducing the height of the building by about 10 feet to 75 feet, and decreasing the number of parking spaces by 30. By adding more apartment units, the cost is expected to increase to $25 million. An updated rendering of the project is not yet available.

“They wanted a bigger housing component,” principal Jamie Browning said of the Broad Ripple Village Association, “so we added some apartments on Carrolton Avenue.”

Browning Investments is asking the city for a variance to allow for the 75-foot-tall building and a 35,000-square-foot grocery store earmarked for a Whole Foods. The developer has staked out about two acres northeast of the intersection of College Avenue and the Central Canal for the project, which also would include a parking garage. The most blighted portion of the property contains a closed Shell station (pictured above).

  • #'s Don't Add Up
    Scott, can you verify the #'s you quoted in the article? They're decreasing parking, adding only 15 units and the cost increased by $7 Million?? So, these units (not including credit that should be accounted for from the decreased parking) are nearly $500,000 each? At that rate, with 88 units to begin with, the project should have been a $44 million project at the least.
    • project cost
      In a follow up conversation with Mr. Browning, he indicated the $18 million figure that his firm used reflected construction costs, though the total cost was higher. I've updated the post. Thanks for reading.
    • Bravo BRVA
      Thank you BRVA for making this project even better. Broad Ripple and all of Indianapolis needs much, much more density and this project will help bring it.
      • Fuzzy Math
        So Browning wants to add apartments and subtract parking at the same time? So where are the additional residents supposed to park?
        • parking
          This project still has more than enough parking even with removing the parking spots. And guess what, not everyone has or needs a car.
        • Density
          There is often a call that we need "more density.* While I certainly agree that there are many under-utilized areas of Marion County, "more density" is not always a good thing in already-dense areas. The typical Broad Ripple home is two or three bedrooms. That was sufficient for the typical family until the last twenty years or so. As people expect more square footage, the typical Broad Ripple bungalow has become the home for singles and couples, not families. That is why "density" is down in the area. A "bit" more would be good. That said, I see nothing good about creating a little Brooklyn. The entire point of Broad Ripple has been its laid-back character. More people create more stress. What really needs attention, however, is the reduction of the Average Joe's type of bar. BR is quickly losing its diversity. What used to be a blend of galleries, shops, and high and low restaurants/bars is now almost exclusively geared to people 21-35. No Ambrosia, no Renee's (the restaurant), etc. Diversity, not density, is what is really needed in BR.
          • Re: Joe
            Joe, the only way you're going to get the diversity in retail, restaurants and bars that you want is with an increase in density.
            • Density??
              Density is not what BR needs....every try to drive BR Ave since the mayor has reduced 4 lanes of traffic to two.. for the minimally used bike lanes?? As a resident of BR for many years, diversity does not come with providing over cost housing directed at a small age bracket....whats next, building on pylons above the canal?
              • @Jim
                There's a massive parking garage literally across the intersection.
              • Pylons on Canal
                The city should put parking on pylons above the canal. Oh. Wait.
              • @Gregg
                Those bike lanes are used a bunch, personally by me every time to/from work, and by many others. Plus, every week I see more folks using it. The problem with BR Ave as a 4-lane road is that most people are simply just passing through at a high speed and doing nothing for the strip itself. Cyclists and slower cars are more likely to stop, shop, and eat along their path. Your point is actually backwards.
                • Re: Broad Ripple Ave
                  **NEWS FLASH** Broad Ripple Avenue is NOT a freeway. You shouldn't expect to get from one end to the other in 30 seconds. It is a street in a pedestrian heavy area that was desperately calling for traffic calming. Adding the bike lanes not only accomplished this, it provided a safer means for people using alternative transportation methods. If you are in such a hurry, use Kessler.
                • 75 feet?
                  Admittedly I don't know specifics of the area, but it seems as though this will be 30 feet taller than anything else in the area. Awfully tall, and a mistake for something people call a "village".
                  • height
                    they're saying closer to 65, with the elevator shafts & stairwell shafts going to the 75' since they need to protrude from the top of the structure. That said, it's still a floor taller than most, but not all of the buildings in BR
                  • Yes
                    Like the project. Like the density. THIS is what urban development should look like. And no matter what quaint little village some of you want to pretend BR is, it IS very much an URBAN area.
                  • Great move!
                    Glad to hear that Browning and the BRVA are listening to the need for quality housing. As said before, this project is filling a niche that is 100% empty - modern apartment living in the heart of Broad Ripple. If the prices are right it's likely the apartments will be leased before the project is even finished. Folks on this blog keep saying they want more diversity (ie: fewer bars and more retail, galleries, maybe a small legit. theater and so on. REMEMBER - it takes people who live nearby to support these uses...the more, the better. As for BR Avenue, I live in BR and work there too...and so use the avenue every day, sometimes 2-3 times. I almost never have any meaningful delays either eastbound or westbound...other than short delays at rush-hour, or a few times when the beer delivery trucks park in the middle turning lane - where are the police when this happens?
                  • Eyesore
                    I can't wait for this eyesore to be removed from Broad Ripple. Something like this in the village is long overdue. Hopefully they come up with something that looks nice.
                  • Broad Ripple Avenue
                    They removed two lanes of traffic on Broad Ripple Avenue to add two dangerous bike lanes when they could have easily constructed a biking/walking path where the sidewalk is now. As a result BRAVE is terribly congested, worse than ever. The notion this traffic congestion will cause people to stop and shop in Broad Ripple is the silliest thing I've ever heard. No, people are avoiding Broad Ripple now because of the traffic congestion. The last thing Broad Ripple needs is more "density." The Broad Ripple Village Association is the group of village idiots (I apologize to the minority on the BRVA that is trying to talk some sense into the majority) that supported the removal of the traffic lanes and the building of the parking garage/commercial building at Westfield and College, paid for with our tax dollars with all the money going to a private company. The majority of people don't want the Browning development which is, of course, subsidized by our tax dollars.
                    • excuse Paul
                      he hasn't been happy since the dark age became enlightened
                      • Honesty
                        Sjudge, honesty is a terrible thing, isn't it?
                      • re: Paul
                        Paul, I'll admit that I haven't lived here incredibly long, but have for the past 5 years. Broad Ripple Avenue has been only 2 lanes with a turn lane through the actual village since I've been around. I take this route 3-4 times/week and never see it backed up where you're complaining about, the bike lanes east of the strip. As mentioned before, Broad Ripple Avenue is not an interstate, it is a local road. Those who don't like it are the ones who are just passing through. Get over it and move to to the burbs where you can travel a whopping 35mph on a good day instead of 25-30 through BR.
                        • Broad Ripple Avenue
                          PJ, the eastern part of Broad Ripple Avenue as it heads out to Keystone has not been two lanes for five years, not even close. I drive frequently on Broad Ripple Avenue and it's backed up at lights quite often. Other people I know complain all the time about the traffic congestion in Broad Ripple. I know many people who refuse to come to Broad Ripple because of the traffic congestion. Of course some of the dimwits on the Broad Ripple Village Association believe that people, frustrated with the congestion, will park their cars on the edge of the village and walk or bike through the village, shopping at stores along the way. Yeah, good luck with that one. Also we in the Midwest have this thing called "winter" that apparently the Broad Ripple Village Association doesn't know about. Broad Ripple used to be a nice place to live and work. No longer.
                        • Broad Ripple Bike Lanes
                          WTHR reported on the "new" bike lanes and the increased traffic congestion in November 2011, less than 2 years ago.
                          • Link to Story
                   I forgot the link to the story.
                          • Always only 2 lanes in the Village
                            Mr. Ogden, I believe PJ's point was that BR Ave has always only had 2 lanes in the actual village area, between College and the Monon. Since traffic manages to get through the actual village with only one lane in each direction, why can't it also function adequately that way east of the Monon. I'll agree that some elements of the bike lane design should be done differently to improve safety, but to act as if it's some traffic disaster there now is taking things overboard.
                          • density
                            My point, Maria, was that it was more diverse before than it is now in terms of restaurants shops and so forth. Just adding people doesn't create a better space unless it is properly planned.
                            • density
                              but, adding residential density creates more demand for services for that residential component, and those who complain about the current lack of commercial diversity being limited to bars ought to be pleased, since bars are transient businesses.
                              • Development 101
                                Paul, Joe, and a few others. You keep missing the point about which goes in first...people, or services. If you look at just about any's the housing that's put into place first. Rarely does a developer or company build a new store or begin a service...then just sit back and hope some homes or apartments will eventually be built nearby. It's almost always the other way around - the housing is established the, when it's dense enough, the services follow. It's a simple rule of economics. Frankly it would have been better if this was mainly an upscale apartment complex. After all, there's a CVS and Kroger within 5 minutes walk. And it would also be better if the primary tenant was a Trader Joe's. But it's the developer's millions of dollars at stake, so we can live with that.
                                • Hmmm
                                  Ghee, you would think common sense would suggest it takes more people living in an area (higher density) to support a village. OK, so gentrification is an issue at times. Let's all go back to when thr Monon Trail wss about to be developed: Really? If you don't want to experience a thriving semi-urban community---plenty of silent abodes out in the burbs. Enjoy!
                                  • Right, Micah
                                    Seems like some folks don't understand the concept of a "village" within a larger community. They've probably not traveled very they don't have a concept of what Roscoe Village, Holstein Park, Edison Park, and many others are like in Chicago. They are all desirable places to live - in the City Limits with easy access to downtown, but much like Broad Ripple with concentrations of stores, galleries, restaurants, etc. The same is true in Boston, St. Louis, and most other larger cities. NONE of these 'villages' have wide streets with traffic clipping along. One expects to have slower traffic when entering a neighborhood shopping and residential node. If Paul, Joe, and others want to zoom here and there, they can use Kessler Blvd., or move to the burbs.
                                  • Perfect for Broad Ripple
                                    Dan, there is a 5 story apartment building on College Avenue just two blocks north and another that is 3 or 4 stories. This project is exactly what the "Envision Broad Ripple" study had suggested for that area of the village and along the canal.
                                    • Simply said...but true
                                      Yeah, it's probably true that people should get out a bit more and travel some. Could be a good learning experience...and may also get them out of their safe, suburban cacoon they've been trapped in. BTW, great news for downtown: I hear WHOLEFOODS going in a space that is currently being developed. Another win for downtown and loss for BRV!!!
                                    • @PAUL
                                      I'm sorry that my 18lb bike is so dangerous. I mean, think about all the damage that would happen to your 3000lb car if you slammed into me. Seriously. We're separated by the bike lane. How does that make it MORE dangerous...?
                                    • BR Could Never Be Brooklyn
                                      Joe, what reality do you live in? There is no possible way to turn Broad Ripple into a "a little Brooklyn" by building one medium density project. In fact, even 100 similar developments would not turn Broad Ripple into something even vaguely resembling Brooklyn. Not to mention, Brooklyn is a great place and Broad Ripple should hope to be even a fraction as interesting, diverse, or livable. The truth is that Broad Ripple is a low-density neighborhood of mostly older bungalows grouped around a short commercial strip that looks similar to what one might find in the heart of a very tiny Vermont town, though without any of the charm. In recent years, various residential developments have given BR a bit more density, but it still is not close to resembling a true urban neighborhood even by Indianapolis standards. It honestly makes Indianapolis seem provincial and backward when people make the silly claim that one 5-story building will cause BR to suddenly transform into a "little Brooklyn"--it shows the people making such comments don't know what they are talking about. Individuals concerned about the proposed Browning development should address the project on its merits and drop any phony comparisons to Brooklyn or any other interesting urban area.
                                      • Chris is right
                                        I couldn't agree more with what Chris said. he is spot on. I live not more than 2 blocks away from this proposed development also. The traffic and the density complaints are way over blown. You cannot expect to live in an area with lots of amenities, attractions, and night life- I.E. what almost everyone likes about Broad Ripple - and not expect some form of congestion. At the same not TRAFFIC IS NOT BAD. I find easy ways to get around the minor congestion. If you are just looking for to get channeled through trown at lightning speeds then live in Greenwood and take I-65.
                                        • Micah, Paul, Chris, etc..You are right!
                                          I had completely forgotten about the 5-story building in front of the Art Center. And do you know why it didn't come to mind? It's because they rarely have vacancies and often have to keep a waiting list! Even though the building is probably 30-40 years old, is very dated, and most of the apartments don't have W/D hookups, the place is full most of the time. To my knowledge it has never had to advertise, and most people don't even know its name. What it DOES have is location...and covered parking (the pool isn't bad either!) That's why I keep saying that the apartments in the proposed building, if designed thoughtfully and priced right, will likely be rented before the building is finished. I hope Browning is smart enough to find an empty storefront (take your pick) and put up a model apartment, with a simulated view of the canal. That should seal the deal. Say your prayers that this goes through.

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