$3.6M apartment project proposed for near-north side

March 27, 2014
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A $3.6 million, 34-unit apartment project is in the works for a vacant piece of land along Meridian Street just north of downtown.

Harbor terrace
                              rendering 225pxUrban residential specialist Axia Urban LLP is co-developing the project with Near North Development Corp., which is seeking $550,000 in grants from the city to help with financing.

The government assistance requires that a portion of the apartments, 11 units, be set aside for affordable housing. Monthly rents for the rest will be priced at market rates, said Gary Levine, a partner at Axia Urban along with Jeff Congdon.

“We’re very excited about this project,” Levine said. “It’s the first piece of land Jeff and I purchased together.”

The nearly one-acre parcel on the east side of Meridian just north of 21st Street became part of their portfolio in 2006. The last building standing on the site was an old abandoned Chinese restaurant.

Axia Urban, though, has a large presence in the near-north area. They purchased and renovated the buildings that became Meridian Walk, The Sheldrake and The Warren. The Warren sits directly across Meridian from the vacant piece of land Axia Urban is developing with Near North Development Corp.

Axia also owns the home that has been converted to office space to the immediate south of the vacant lot, which once housed Near North’s headquarters. That’s how Axia became familiar with the community development corporation.

The proposed three-story project along North Meridian Street is their first together. For Near North, the project is part of its plan to develop more multifamily housing projects.

“We’re increasingly focused on that Meridian-Highland area,” Near North President Michael Osborne said. “The opportunity was right to kind of launch a development project there to kick off our efforts.”

The apartment project could be the latest in a series of commercial developments that are helping to revitalize the area.

Hamid Abbaspour, president of the Dr. Aziz pharmacy and medical clinic on East 82nd Street, is proposing a 5,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 2301 N. Meridian St.

The two-story building would be constructed on a vacant lot where Sherry’s Nightclub formerly stood. Abbaspour is proposing a family practice or urgent care center that Dr. Aziz would operate on the first floor, with either residential or office above.

Also, Lincoln Square Restaurant & Pancake House and Teas Me Cafe & Gifts have opened in the neighborhood, along with charter schools Phalen Leadership Academy and Carpe Diem.

The property owned by Axia Urban will need to be rezoned from commercial to residential. A city hearing on the project is set for April 10.

The architect on the project is A3 Design.


  • Good Idea/Bad Design
    Let me be the first to applaud the concept of housing in this stretch of Meridian. It's a good infill project; kudos to the developers. Let me also be the first to comment on the proposed design -- it looks like public housing. I am not calling for a Taj Mahal, but given the high profile of Meridian Street, I would hope that the design could be upgraded just a bit. All in all, the developers should be praised for this effort.
    • Re: Joe
      Joe, my sentiments exactly. Sounds like a great project, but why must so much that is built in this city be bottom of the barrel ugly? Just because 11 of the units are to be affordable housing, doesn't mean the project has to look like a Soviet era housing project.
    • Another Subsidy?
      And we taxpayers have to subsidize this project, why? Enough is enough.
    • re: robert
      Exactly Robert. Has anything of consequence been built in this city without a taxpayer subsidy??? When taxpayers are footing the bill, the city should hold the builders to a higher standard. I know that's never going to happen in Indianapolis, where we act like we are so desperate for any development that we accept anything to be built.
    • subsidy
      1.Housing is clearly the right use for this site. 2. Creating new affordable housing on the best public transportation corridor in the city is an unmitigated good. 3. Subsidy for safe, decent, affordable housing for low-wage workers is exactly where tax subsidies should be going, not luxury high rises.
    • Parking
      Unmentioned is that the project also calls for 51 parking spaces. When the building is 34 units (28 of them 1BR) and sits on Meridian St., one of the best transit corridors in the entire city, I think you can easily argue for fewer parking spaces.
    • Style
      If the artists drawing above is any indication of the end product, this design is horrendous! Really, who is responsible for this design, 1st year architects?
    • Yes, indeed!
      Joe is absolutely right . . . the vertical (metal?) siding looks like a modern-day cattle barn, and the block walls to the rear suggest a juvenile detention center. An all-brick facade would be a better blend with older buildings in the area and unify the overall design. Let's upgrade such contemporary urban projects!
    • Home Grown
      Meridian street new development projects in this area should be a least three stories, Dr. Aziz. This is not a suburban lot.
    • Sad Indeed
      let me offer a different perspective for thought: Is that stretch of Meridian Street suited to residential development of ANY kind without a commercial component at its base--let alone this subrban-style garbage? This is indeed sad.
    • Hello, City Planning?
      Let's hope someone at city planning will look at this given its location within the Regional Center Guidelines area. I just want to cry and pull my hair out -- if I HAD any!
    • Just Inappropriate!
      Having seen the plans for this project, it can only be called appalling. Poorly designed, too little parking, no landscaping or green space, no buffering to the adjacent historic district, the list goes on. I thought Near North was supposed to be our ally, not an entity bringing inappropriate and harmful development to our area.
    • bad
      Wow, I thought the CDCs were supposed to be advocates of better buildings and good design. That thing is.... AWFUL! Didn't they shut the guy down on Capitol Ave when he tried to build a similar looking pile of garbage a few years ago? Nice!
    • Not the actual design
      Settle down everyone. This isn't the actual design. The architect likely hasn't been paid a dime for this project yet, with low-income tax credits at play they are months from actually designing this project. The image above was clearly just a massing to fit a floor plan that was given to Axia for in house use, that Axia then foolishly handed off. I'm sure A3design is just as unhappy as everyone here that this is being published as the design. Give it time.
    • design
      The image looks to be more than just a massing. It disappointingly looks like one two many other buildings in Indianapolis.
    • It Is Simply A Rough Sketch
      This is simply a very rough sketch of the proposed building to give a sense of its height and massing. The details of the design, including the facade materials, the landscaping, etc. will all be worked out later. Certain people are getting worked up into a froth over nothing. Wait until more detailed sketches are released before engaging in any more handwringing.
    • disclaimer
      Because I know and have worked with the people and organizations involved, I want to make clear that neither of the comments above signed "Chris" were written by me. I believe that this is the right use for the site and trust that the DMD design reviews and the Regional Center process will result in a good infill project.
    • Design
      Baby steps, at least they have not covered it in sheets of cement board. If you want to see that check out the mid-rise on the canal. Small double hung vinyl windows and the whole north side is sheets of cement board. Assume the south wall will also be 10 stories of cement board. CHEAP
    • Inform Yourselves, PLease
      I was completely caught off guard at the publishing of this image, which is not representative of the project. It is less than a massing model used in very early planning to inform the project team of the issues at hand. When I was asked for a rendering from IBJ yesterday afternoon, I indicated that there was no such rendering ready for the public forum. Unfortunately I was less caught off guard at the utterly ill-informed feedback. As usual, no one checked on any facts before attacking. Something we find all too often in society today. Absolutely no one contacted me. Take a quick look at our website at www.a3studio.com and you would have to agree that something doesn't add up. A design void of well thought out ideas and context would not come from my studio. With nearly 26 years of experience working with developers in the housing and hospitality sectors, as well as extensive historic work, we at A3design are quite capable of designing a well thought out design. There is however, a process that is used to bring good design to a project, and it is not simply copying the latest trend from the latest magazine. Something you might accuse a few first year architecture students of but not A3. It requires a progression to bring all interested parties to a successful design. I can assure you all that the free floating mass model shown in the blog post is not representative of the final design of this project. We are just now filing with Regional Center and will be engaging the interested community partners and neighborhoods in the design process in the next week or so. I certainly hope you will all return to a future blog post where we will share a fully rendered design and project details that I will be proud to defend.
    • Whoa
      Wow. CorrND says there is too much parking and Michael says there is too little. I really don't know which "expert urban designer" is correct. I am amazed how many people make their conclusions based on little more than a concept.
    • Contaminated
      Better Check the EPA and who ever else before you dig.
    • Parking
      Jay: Zoning code says 1.5 parking spaces are required per residential unit in C-3-C (the proposed rezoning for this project). 34 units * 1.5 spaces/unit = 51 spaces. Clearly Michael is incorrect that there are too few spaces, because that's exactly what's provided. My point is that an urban site like this should consider parking requirements to be maximums, and developers should work down from there based on project/site considerations and get variances if necessary. Low income rentals generally require fewer spaces (e.g. the recently-renovated, 24 unit affordable housing building at 1733 N Meridian provides ZERO parking spaces, and "Millikan on Mass" added 61 units at the base of Barton Tower without adding ANY parking spaces) and locating a project on a transit-rich corridor like Meridian should also be a consideration for lowering parking needs.
    • Re: Dave Gibson
      Dave Gibson, don't blame the readers of this blog, blame the author who failed to put the rendering in proper context.

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