Parking hangup slows renovation of blighted apartment building

February 19, 2010
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1773 N. MeridianA local developer's plans to renovate a long-vacant and graffiti-covered 1915 building along Meridian Street have hit a snag over a lack of parking. Riley Area Development Corp. has proposed 24 apartment units for the three-story brick building at 1773 N. Meridian St. The city's planning department endorsed the developer's request for a variance to a requirement for 24 off-site parking spaces. The building is surrounded by surface parking lots and metered spaces, and several IndyGo routes travel along Meridian Street. "Urban sites should be developed to the highest intensity possible," the staff report notes. "To require this site to meet the required off-street parking standards would require the demolition of a portion of the building or acquisition of adjacent sites. Finally, it is a common and preferred planning method that little or no off-street parking be added to a reuse of an inner city site." But neighboring property owners complained, and a Metropolitan Development Commission hearing examiner last month denied the plans. If anyone has a parking solution or spaces they want to sell, please speak up.

(IBJ Photo/Cory Schouten)
  • Uggh
    Finally the City Planners have it right and understand the need to have high intensity/density development in an urban core, and suburban (non-urban) parking ordinances and allotment formulas can not apply!
    MDC - go back to school, learn some more about redeveloping urban blight and urban infill practices and pass this proposed development.

    Maybe a solution is a bi-level carport system that lifts your car up to a shelf like a car lift and places it off the ground until you summon it again. Too crazy of any idea? Well it's either that, demolish a building, or allow the variance.
  • 18th/Illinois Garage
    The planning recommendation seems reasonable, but since MDC rejected that idea: contact the owner of the parking garage at 18th and Illinois about contracting 24 spaces.
  • MDC Hearing Examiner
    Of note is that the denial came from the Hearing Examiner, not a full MDC vote. If you would like a fun story, research the minimum qualifications needed to be a hearing examiner.

    Then research the actual hearing examiners, who they might be related to and how they got their jobs. That is the real story here.
    • hearing exminer
      I don't get why the City doesn't see the opportunity to reduce operating costs by getting rid of the MDC and 95% of the staff. Do some research on how much the city spends on obstructing viable projects that would increase the tax base
    • Radio One
      My place of business had looked at this building due to it's proximity to our location, but the sticking point was Radio One owning the parking lot. They're really the ones standing in the way. Granted, I'm sure they got a sweet deal on it, but I rarely see it even remotely full. I don't see why cannot get parking closer to their building. There is plenty in between.
    • GET RID of the Examiner
      GET RID of the examiner. This type of backward thinking cannot be tolerated. I'm very Proud of the Planning Dept. for getting this correct....keep up the good work. Parking should not stand in the way of good and sensible development, especially near public transportation.
    • Planning Staff is Correct
      I often become irked when I read "planners deny, planners approve..." when infact the planners only make recommendations. The City's planning staff is highly competent and often gets its recommendations correct...its the boards and commissions that make the decisions that tend to make the wrong decisions. Hopefully the full MDC will vote on this and get this passed so that a blighted building may return to life.
    • Denial
      This is why we shouldn't have hearing examiners. It's a singular opinion that is not democratic.
    • Hearing Examiner
      How can someone become a hearing examiner? What are the requirements?
    • Hearing Examiner
      The Hearing Examiner in this case is a lawyer who is also a past director of DMD.
    • Colonial apartments
      Speaking of renovating downtown historic apartments, using the llc lookup for Indiana, I noticed that Ali jafari is listed as the agent for Indy downtown, who is reported to have purchased that complex. Is this the same Ali jafari who has made millions selling software as a professor at iupui?
    • Radio One Parking Lot
      The key is to get the owner of the lot North of the building (Radio One?) to be as good citizen and make a deal to use there lot. They could limit the number of parkers and the rest can park on the street. This is an urban neighborhood.
      • OOPS
        I typed too fast. "As" should be "a" and "there" should be "their". My apologies.
      • no brain
        Let the market sort it out. If developer wants to rent to people who don't need parking and can be successful... GREAT!! If not, the price will be reset and someone else will step in at a reduced basis. HELLO? Please remove whoever stood in the way of this!
      • Your Fired
        Fire the examiner. This is a blatant case of incompetence. Even the most basic understanding of urbanism would suffice.
      • it's all about Zoning
        While i agree with most of you that the examiner got this one wrong--as they often do--the real problem is that the developer needed to apply for a variance in the first place. the zoning ordinance in Indy is incredibly out of date. why is a property in the heart of the city zoned in such a way that it is required to have such parking in the first place? the entire euclidian based zoning system that was adopted back in 1969 does not meet the needs of a modern city. i say scrap the whole thing and start over.

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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.