Proposed Broad Ripple parking garage gets zoning OK

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An Indianapolis zoning appeals board on Tuesday afternoon approved the necessary variances that likely will allow a controversial mixed-used parking garage and retail project to be built in Broad Ripple.

Pending a 30-day appeals period, developer Keystone Construction Corp. is ready to start construction on the $15 million, three-story garage at the three-way intersection of Broad Ripple and College avenues, and Westfield Boulevard. A vacant gas station and a pizza shop now occupy the site.

The city is helping finance the 350-space garage with $6.3 million in parking meter revenue.

“We’re taking an eyesore and turning it into what will meet a community need,” said Keystone’s attorney, Joe Calderon. “Is it perfect? No. We wish we could do more, but we can’t.”

Calderon said Keystone is hamstrung by the small, triangular 1.3-acre site.

Keystone will construct the building without a required 70-foot setback and no loading spaces for deliveries. Instead, the parking garage will front the streets and be separated only by sidewalks, with street-side loading on College Avenue.

Also, nine parking spaces in the parking garage will be reserved for compact cars and will be smaller than the 9-foot minimum-width requirement for garage spaces.

But perhaps most controversial to the project is a plan to include a bank and a drive-through, which neighbors contend will substantially increase traffic in the area.

Attorney Steve Mears, who represents several area business owners, including Broad Ripple Animal Clinic, spoke against the plan.

The developer has yet to line up a bank for the site, prompting Mears to ask that it drop the drive-through from site plans.

“When this location was announced in June,” he said, “my clients were very concerned.”

The drive-through also has drawn some criticism from the Broad Ripple Village Association, which mostly supports the project.

Tom Healy, a board member of the association, said the parking garage will take an eyesore and turn it into an asset, creating a gateway into the neighborhood.

“We want this to be more than just a car barn,” he said, “and we feel we’re headed in the right direction.”

The city is investing in the project to fix a simmering parking problem in Broad Ripple, and to clean up a blighted corner with a long-vacant Marathon station. Keystone will own the project, including the garage, and collect all the revenue.

The Mayor’s Office sought proposals in March and ultimately picked from seven options, including bids by powerhouse local developers Kite Realty Group, Browning Investments and Buckingham Cos.



  • In Fairness
    In fairness, JJ, on this one we're not taking any risk. We KNOW we're going to be out $6.8 million while getting nothing in return.
  • remember the mantra
    I love free market economics, again the republicans want to social risk and privatize profit. I love the idea the risk is mine, and the cash goes to someone else.
  • FYI
    Tom Healy was the BRVA member that was the driving force behind the poorly thought out Broad Ripple Avenue bike lanes that virtually everyone in Broad Ripple thinks was a terrible idea.
    • Not a $15 Million Project
      I have been through that contract with a fine toothed comb - twice. There is nothing in the contract that suggests it is a $15 million project. In fact most garages of that size are in the range of $6 million or so, which is what we taxpayers are paying. There is also nothing in the contract that requires Keystone to put up a dime. Keystone could easily get the garage and the now doubled retail space for nothing or next to nothing. We taxpayers foot the bill. Keystone gets the profits.
    • why do they get all the profits
      Agreed, it is very strange to me that the city is fronting some of the money but not getting one penny of the revenue. I could understand them getting a smaller portion of revenue than Keystone Construction or that whatever revenue they get eventually expires after some time. But why on earth did they make this deal without securing some of the profits?
    • Something is wrong with this picture.
      "The city is helping finance the 350-space garage with $6.3 million in parking meter revenue."

      "Keystone Construction Corp. will own the project, including the garage, and collect all the revenue."

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      1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

      2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

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