Developer plans student housing along canal

September 25, 2009
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A local developer has filed plans to build a new apartment complex designed for college students a few blocks east of the Central Canal. The plans for the southeast corner of Capitol Avenue and St. Clair Street call for 30 apartment units in a four-story building on what is now a vacant lot owned by Hulman and Co. The proposal by Jeff Sparks of locally based Di Rimini LLC is scheduled to come before a hearing examiner on Oct. 15. An elevation drawing filed with the city, shown above, says the architect is locally based JT Designers Inc. The working name of the project is Sarojo Commons; Sarojo combines the first names of each of the developer's children.

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  • Glad to see additional student units being proposed for the near northwest side. However, this conceptual drawing reminds me of a shelf at Stout Shoes (stacks of shoe boxes). Hopefully the design will improve as groundbreaking nears.
  • After seeing this proposal, I would rather have the site remain in its current state than building something mediocre at best! How is Indianapolis suppose to develop as a World-Class city if we allow these projects to continue?
    • I was wondering what the signs on this site were for.

      While I'm frequently a supporter of the benefits of middling, "just good enough" designs, this design really isn't even remotely passable for a downtown urban site.
    • The concept is great, 4 levels of apartment rentals targeted towards students. The design is in first stage. I remember early drawings on the Cosmopolitan being subpar and I think they turned it into an amazing product. I think this has great potential and I wont put it down until the thing is standing in front of me looking like those ugly beige boxes on the JW site.

      It's great to see developers glance at the area finally.
      • Brandon has a lucid, balanced reaction to this conceptual design, but many out there don't think it's wise to wait until the structure is complete before we "put it down", let alone before it has broken ground. The ex post facto approach to criticism is what has given the city so many lousy buildings in the past. My biggest gripe with the current design is its awkward middle ground between townhomes with distinct, "defensible space" style entrances and the ungainly five story height. The upper-level fenestration seems pretty baffling as well (no windows on the lowest floor because of parking garages, no doubt). Can anyone else share their specific thoughts regarding their distaste for the design?
        • This design isn't remotely in the same league as the Cosmo, even by comparison to the original rendering:

          http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s289/corrnd/Cosmo%20Canal/cosmocircle2.gif

          That rendering is dramatically better than what we see here with Sarojo, and the final design of the Cosmo is also dramatically better than its initial rendering. If this design ends up morphing into something approaching the quality of the Cosmo, great, but I won't hold my breath.

          A couple specific complaints about this design regard the choice of materials and the strange window treatments -- changing at every level, as well as the blank spaces.
        • Not much chance of it getting better: http://www.jtdesigners.com/index.htm
          This design is jaw-droppingly bad.
        • I remember seeing renderings of some things and thinking "eh, could be a whole lot better." (The Cosmo was among them, for its ungainly height at the Mich/Senate corner, as was the CVS at 16th & Meridian, for its "Disney Main Street" look.)

          Both of those buildings look considerably better as built than as drawn. I'm willing to give this project a "good enough to build" rating, and expect it to look much better once built.

          Plus...look at what's around it now. It'll still be the best building by far and I have to disagree with the poster who rants that leaving the lot vacant would be better. It would not be better.
          This is a market-rate, non-subsidized, tax-paying development. That's a GOOD thing.
        • Eitlejorg could associate itself with this project and give tours on how the Pueblo lived. Duplexic.
        • Hey Cory, How about posting the site plan to help visualize how this would sit on the lot?
        • Just once I'd like to see a developement or an article covering one start with "SUSTAINABILITY". Sustainability is an economic, social, and ecological concept. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society and its members are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire globe. Just once.
        • This is student housing afterall, so I don't expect it to be cutting edge. Nice to see another surface lot bite the dust, especially in an area that has far too many!
        • If the Cosmo is crap, than this is crap with chunks of unprocessed corn in it. Terrible. If this continues the downtown is going to look like Bravo and Macaroni Grill. Boo!!! Hiss!!!
        • Seriously, so many other cities use opportunities like these to call for greater creativity in architecture. Toronto, Seattle, Berkeley, Savannah and many other locations with major universities where I've been create environmentally friendly housing (market rate) that are also way more interesting than yet another blah Indy design. Why do those of us who call for better design (which in turns lures both tourism dollars and creative residents) get ridiculed and called out for complaining when we should all just say "good enough to build?" Is it really too much to ask of our city planners and universities that say they want a more creative and culturally diverse city to have a 21st century view of development instead of 20th century? The problem is that no one seems to understand that that type of culture comes from the details...like encouraging better commercial design than "good enough." There's a blog post with a link to an article written specifically about his topic here: http://specialagentrob.blogspot.com
        • CoryW, student housing? You don't see a lot of student housing in the form of downtown, 4-story townhouses w/ 2-car garages. Call it student housing if you want, but don't sell the awful design on the basis that it's only "student housing".
        • A site plan I've seen calls for an interior parking lot with permeable pavement, which is definitely a green feature. If there are any permeable lots at other downtown residential developments, I'm not aware of them...so it might be a first.

          It's 30 units regardless of configuration (townhouse or flat style). At 2 people per unit, it equates to a density of about 100 per acre or 64,000 per square mile.

          Downtown needs a lot more of this.
        • Downtown definitely does not need more of this. We are no longer desperate enough to ask for any density regardless of how poor the actual outcome is. If downtown needs more of this than I'm moving. I don't want to live in Chucky Cheeseville.
        • I bet it leases up quickly and the developer may even profit. This will be a nice place to live and will add much needed rooftops to this area! No, it won't attract any architectural tours and ULI won't hold a meeting there but it will serve it's purpose and hopefully the market. Leave the iconic conversation starters to government funded projects that have the ability to blow their budgets and schedules without ruing an enterprising entrepreneur. Everything doesn't have to be awe inspiring people! For the record I have no financial interest in this project. Just sick of you guys bashing everything! Move to Paris and rant to your heart's consent. :)
        • http://www.zameen.com
          A good project in a sense that it would be very easy for the foreign students to accommodate near the college and there will be no need to wander here and there for suitable living.
          • : http://www.u-rooms.com
            Hi webmaster, commenters and everybody else !!! The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!house share
          • Ahorrible building...what were you thinking?
            This building is the worst. Please don't build anything else. Believe me we will be watching the hearing notices for your names.
            If you are involved in any other project we will do our very best to stop you before it's built.
          • honest to goodness crap
            The light fixtures while being really horrible are also way out of scale!
          • it's being built!
            To heck with commenting on the poor quality of these renderings...the built product is almost complete and looks even worse!

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          1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

          2. Shouldn't this be a museum

          3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

          4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

          5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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