City forbids occupancy of DiRimini apartments

October 14, 2010
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                              OrderThe city has issued an "order forbidding occupancy" of the DiRimini apartment project after code enforcement officials learned the developer planned to start moving in residents. The Department of Code Enforcement also issued a new stop-work order on Wednesday that covers all work on the building at 733 N. Capitol Ave., not just the exterior as an earlier order specified. The occupancy order cites several violations in addition to a drastic departure from approved plans for the building, including unsafe construction practices, violations of the building code, and failure to secure state approval of a fire alarm system and elevators. The order also notes that constructon had been proceeding in a manner that make it "substantially difficult to correct the violations." Code enforcement spokeswoman Kate Johnson said building inspectors have visited the property multiple times and actually cited other violations, for which the property owner received a variance from the State of Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission. "DCE was prompted to again inspect the building upon receiving a Certificate of Completion and Compliance requesting partial occupancy," she said. City planners have been working with developer Jeff Sparks on ways to fix the nearly completed project, which differs in at least 35 ways from the one approved under the city's urban design guidelines. The developer's first offer failed to impress. Sparks has refused to discuss the project with IBJ, and his voicemail message on Thursday said he'll be out of town for a few days. Earlier posts on DiRimini, which include the original rendering and fixes proposed by the developer, are available here and here.

  • Plan B?
    There are many times in life where it easier to ask forgiveness than for permission. The Department of Code Enforcement seems to be gently hinting that this is not one.

    It will be fun to see how Mr. Sparks's attorney will argue that he shouldn't have to tear down the violations. I don't envy that position.
  • Fantastic!
    It's about time this city started using some muscle when it comes to new development! I can't believe the - pardone cy colorful language - "balls" of this guy to even think he'd get permission to start moving people into this shoddy development. Further, I can't believe anyone who's actually done even a little research on their potential new home would seriously consider this place! I hope they literally make him tear the whole thing down and start over - if he still has any money left.
  • Fantastic
    While I understand that this will be painful for the DeRimini developer, I am very encouraged that the city is taking a firm position to fix this development debacle. It will set a good precedent to help prevent future mishaps.
  • Can't wait.
    To see the wrecking ball show up and flatten that huge eyesore.
  • Take your lumps!
    The proposed changes from the developer were less than a half hearted attempt. How about addressing the actual building violations and not just trying a cheap cosmetic fix that I'm sure will look terrible as well. Admit your mistake and take your lumps.
  • Tear it Down
    Where's the Cosmopolitan arsonist when he's needed. Tear this monstrosity down and build anything. It's not often that a brand new development looks worse than the decrepit vacant lot it replaced, but DiRimini managed it. Even a Motel 6 looks better than this.
  • IndyCynic
    I go by this building everyday, and it looks like people are occupying it. I see many cars in the parking area and often see people driving into the individual garages. Given this developers track record, I wonder if he continues to bend the rules?
  • Code Enforcement Failed
    How did it get to this point?!?

    Look, if the City was doing its job, they would have noticed the deviation from plans much, much earlier (foundation and footings, for example. Or at framing, or rough-in inspections).

    I don't have any sympathy for a builder who submits one set of plans and builds another; however, the City needs to be called out on this as well. This should have been stopped before the builder was almost done with the project. Got to love the new self-supporting code compliance department.

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