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Zoning board rejects Broad Ripple parking garage proposal

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The future of a proposed parking garage in Broad Ripple is in jeopardy after a city zoning board on Tuesday denied a key variance developers sought to build the project.

Members of the board voted 5-0 to reject the variance that would have allowed Keystone Group to build the garage and retail development below the city’s recommended flood plain.

Though disappointed with the decision, Keystone President and CEO Ersal Ozdemir said the project could move forward without the variance.

“We’re going to assess our options and determine what our next step is,” he said.

A decision on the variance had been long awaited both by supporters and opponents of the project. Zoning board members had delayed a decision twice after Keystone requested more time to propose changes to the project.

Keystone had argued a levee system along White River would provide enough protection from floods, even though the parking garage would be built on property that lies four feet below the flood plain.

But the staff of the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development recommended that the parking garage proposal be reworked in order to raise the first floor above the flood plain.

Keystone countered with a proposal to raise the elevation of the garage to two feet below the flood plain, which would meet federal guidelines but not city requirements.

Zoning board members shot down that proposal on Tuesday, even though Keystone pledged further commitments to ensure the project is protected by floods.

One of those involved raising the elevation to meet city requirements if federal regulators didn’t certify the levee’s construction before a certain time.

But opponents of the project wondered why Keystone needed to be prodded to take the integral step.

“If they can do it later, they can do it now,” said City-County Councilor Zach Adamson, who opposed the project.

Raising the elevation of the project would require it to be built on a steeper slope, destroying the pedestrian-friendliness of the garage and causing a loss of parking spaces, Ozdemir argued.
 
The $15 million, 350-space parking garage at 6280 N. College Ave. would be partially financed with $6.3 million from parking meter revenue, which would normally flow into city coffers.

“Since city funds are being used in this project, the city should take the lead and make sure its ordinances are being followed,” said neighborhood activist Pat Andrews.
 

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  • Get Over Being An Apologist for the Developer
    BR Biz Man, you come across as a paid shill for the developer. I am not saying you actually are one, but you are another example of a poster who has refused to address the substance of the objections to the current garage proposal, and instead you have resorted to name-calling and engaging in generally stupid rambling.

    Also, if in fact you are a businessman, you are a terrible one. Smart business people do not disparage their client base since they realize their clients pay for the food on their table. You cater to your clients and you respect them--that is Business 101. If you are irritated by the residents of Broad Ripple, then perhaps you should follow your own advice and move to the suburbs in search of customers with lower standards.

    Also, you have completely misrepresented the position of the majority of the people opposed to this garage project. ONCE AGAIN, (I add emphasis so you might actually pay attention this time), the vast majority of the residents of Broad Ripple want a new parking garage. They just do not want one that is (1) built on a site that is too small and oddly shaped for the scope of the project, (2) poorly sited for providing the best pedestrian access for visitors to Broad Ripple, (3) paid for largely with public funds, unless the the city is going to retain a right of ownership or at least profit-sharing interest (neither of which is allowed in the current city contract with the developer, nor (4) a garage that is out-of-compliance with federal and city flood control regulations for a project built in a federally designated flood-plain. Your opinion of the flooding issue in Broad Ripple is irrelevant. Under the law, the area is a designated flood plain, and that is the final word on the issue.

    The residents of Broad Ripple enjoy having a vibrant neighborhood, and they welcome and whole-heartedly support appropriate new development. They just do not support a corporate welfare scheme masquerading as a public works project. The current garage proposal amounts to the city footing the bill to pay for parking for a developer's new retail project, and the net benefit to the general public is not very substantial. There are plenty of developers who want to build in Broad Ripple without public subsidies, and you admitted that much in your own comments.

    Finally, you are correct that there are a few spoiled brats in Broad Ripple, and you are one of them.



  • what future flood?
    Well, if yesterday's flood was caused by human error, then I'm sure we can all rest assured that will never ever happen again.
  • Get over it.
    The residents of Broad Ripple are spoiled brats. They have the pleasure of living in a vibrant community with very few vacant lots or empty buildings, yet they do nothing but complain about the businesses that are there or trying to join. They would rather buildings and lots sit empty, so they don't have to sit at a stop light for one extra second. The ones that have been there for 40 years have allowed it to become the restaurant/bar/shopping district that it is. The 26 year old residents have moved there BECAUSE of what it is. Yet when someone has the chance to build something new and needed (proof of need is in the success) it is the end of the world. They act like their neighborhood is ruined. Many neighborhoods in many cities would love to have the demand that Broad Ripple has. If all you are worried about is parking and traffic, then it's time you move to the suburbs. I say the more bars, restaurants, shops, boutiques, salons that go to Broad Ripple, the better.

    Oh, and using yesterdays flood as a argument is ridiculous since the cause was someone forgetting to open the flood gates.
    • Location Location Location
      This whole thing lacks logic. That corner is not made for a parking garage, and if you can't understand that, then you clearly don't live in or around Broad Ripple and should stop reading now. The traffic pattern at that intersection is painful to say the least, you add in people coming and going from a parking garage and it will be complete chaos. There's plenty of available (or soon to be available, by my estimate) bar/restaurant space in BR, the old Barley Island space for example; while I am very much aware of the depth of the pockets of those who backed the planned new Kilroy's, i still can't believe that they are getting that location. THAT location is the perfect place for an appropriately sized 3 to 4 story parking garage. There is (or easily could be) easy access from all directions. And it would be in a busy, safe, well-lit area of the village. "Community Activist" is only derogatory when said by people who dont really know what a sense of community is. I'm no hippie, and I certainly was not born in the 70's, and as a 26 yr old professional working in the very industry trying to make these changes, I still say stop. This is MY home, MY community, and quite a bit of it is inhabited by MY generation. We're the ones that are going to inherit this village, and I'm tired of decisions being made about it by people 2 & 3 times my age from some conference room in Hamilton County or a majestic building downtown. Know your audience; it may take more poking than usual, but I welcome the day when the prevailing ignorance being pushed upon us is enough to wake the unapologetically fierce, sleeping bear that is my Information Generation.
    • Hmmm....
      Sounds like John Galt works for Keystone Group...
    • Look Up Ad Hominen
      Also, John, generally, the people who are opposed to the garage are opposed to it because the location and design are inappropriate, they are not opposed the basic idea of a new parking garage. In fact, most of them would like more public parking Broad Ripple.

      You might also want to attend some neighborhood meetings or just get out of your house once in awhile. Your stupid comment about "70's hippies" seems to indicate you know very little about the people in the neighborhood or what motivates them.

      Not to mention, your remark makes you come across as some sort of dinosaur. We are glad you can remember the early 1970's, but that was 40 years ago. The rest of us are living in 2012.

      If you have something substantive to contribute to the debate, then by all means add your comment. However, if you can only think to dodge the issues by making silly insults against the people who live in the neighborhood, then you should find more constructive things to do with your time.
    • costs for garages
      I will add info about parking garage costs. Most construction people in town know that a garage costs between $15,000 and $20,000 for a parking space in a garage. This factors in all site costs. $20,000 is for a VERY nice one on a complex site. So, if the average is $17,500/space, time 350 spaces, the total cost is $6,125,000. Period. All in. Now, if you want to add in retail build out, with tenant finishes, that is more. But that's not the deal that was proposed to all of us. So, the City is paying for the entire garage, and getting nothing back.
    • Wrong, John, The City is Paying for It
      John, perhaps you should read the contract between the city and the developer.

      The city is not "financing" the garage. Financing means to loan money and get it paid back with interest. The city is giving the developer the over $6 million up-front, and per the contract city funds must be used before the developer chips in anything. Allegedly the $6 plus million is "prepaid rent" for 10-years for the small police substation that will be in the garage. Of course, the city has offered no evidence it could not rent the same amount of space in the general area for less, and certainly without prepaying 10 YEARS of rent.

      So, yes, the city is paying a substantial portion of the garage's cost. Also, as already noted, several of the spaces in the garage will be used by the commercial tenants and their patrons, which reduces the net increase in parking spaces for Broad Ripple in general.
    • not against garage
      The BZA voted against building the garage below City flood plain requirements, not against building the garage. Make sure you know what you're talking about before responding. The development of the garage on this site was already approved. The developer sought and was denied relief from the Flood Plain requirements. Simple as that.
    • Re @Paul
      Paul, please explain your expertise in parking garage costs. I'd like to see this proforma which you have generated to determine a 350 car garage with a full first floor retail would only cost $6 million.
    • Why Here?
      I still don't understand why the garage has to go in at this intersection. To me it seems like this would be the perfect place to have a high density mixed use project. Imagine if the city was able to get all three corners of this intersection redeveloped.
    • Zoning Board fought for 3 Kilroys spots...
      City is financing this, not paying for it. There is a big big difference.

      Anyway why are people so against a parking garage here? If BR wants to be taken seriously as a culture center competing with cities in the midwest is has to GROW. I find myself not going to several places because there is nowhere to park!

      Remember the same 70's hippies that are opposing this, were all over Kilroys's in broad ripple's patio because it took away 'parking spaces.' Kilroys literally had to cut in half it's outside patio to make 3 more parking spaces. But we don't need the 350 space parking garage because somebody's Suburban might get some water up to it's bumper on the ground floor... sometime in next 100 years.

      Logic is missing in this. Too many self serving altruists running around being 'community activists'

      • Also
        The building does not have to be elevated to meet the code. Raising the finished floor area is just the most common way of complying. Other structural floodproofing methods can be used in the construction, therefore, there wouldn't need to be the awkwardness of having entrances several feet above the sidewalk. Look at other new construction in Broad Ripple. There was a commercial building constructed on the 900 block of Westfield a couple years ago (I believe it has a yogurt place) with the entrance flush with the sidewalk.
      • Chris is correct
        Keystone President and CEO Ersal Ozdemir said the project could move forward without the variance. “We’re going to assess our options and determine what our next step is,” he said.

        And that option would be to make a just slightly less obscene amount of money on this crooked deal. Just because they advertise it as a $15 million garage, doesn't make it so. It just makes the $6.3 million subsidy look less obscene, if they can get people to believe the $15 million figure.
      • Correction
        Chris said: "However, the developer already has a sweetheart deal for the city to pick up half the cost of the project, so the only real impact is that it will somewhat lessen the fat profit margin of the developer"

        Let me correct the misleading impression of this comment, which I otherwise agree with. There is absolutely nothing to indicate Keystone is paying for half of this project. The $15 million figure for the garage was made up out of thin air, undoubtedly to make it appear Keystone was putting money into it. Garages this size generally cost $6 to $7 million which matches the City's contribution. If the garage costs what it should (in the $6 to $7 million range), then Keystone may not be requiured to contribute anything to the project under the contract. That is why Keystone is fighting the additional expense relating to the flood issue. The company may have to actually contribute money to the garage's construction.

        I would also point out that under the contract, which I have read twice, Keystone will have 100% ownership of the building and get 100% of the parking revenue and 100% of the revenue from commercial rents on the building. (The amount of the garage devoted to commercial was increased after it was introduced to the public.) It appears the parking is pretty much only going to be used by the commercial tenants and patrons of the garage. Given its location in Broad Ripple, very few people will park in the garage if not doing business in one of the businesses located in the new Keystone building.
      • Bingo Chris!
        I was going to respond, but Chris wrote everything that I wanted to write. So, ditto.
      • Ballard's Crony Capitalism Doesn't Rule!
        How corrupt we did not have $12,000,000 to digitize the downtown parking meters, raise the rates and have the city keep 100% of meter revenue but we have $6,000,000 to give to a Ballard Grafter.

        Poetic Justice they killed Ballard's grafting. BR is flooding, perhaps the city should have contributed the $6 million to the Army Corp of Engineers and forced the levee issue along to benefit all the citizens in that area not just lining the pocket of a Ballard Crony.
      • Greedy....
        Greedy, greedy, greedy developers.
      • Garage
        Chris, you hit the nail on the head with your comments. My thoughts exactly!
      • They Will Be Fine
        There are plenty of buildings that have an elevated entrance, including many that get a huge amount of foot-traffic. You simply put in a gently sloping ramp (something usually required in most new construction in any event in order to meet ADA requirements) and the alleged awkwardness is eliminated. No one is proposing that anyone leap up 4 feet from the sidewalk (what little strip of it the developers have deigned to build).

        Also, since when has a 350-car parking garage with drive-through retail that has been granted every variance in the book as far as been absolved of meeting encroachment, setback, and sidewalk width requirements, etc., ever been considered pedestrian-friendly?

        The only legitimate issue is that elevating the structure will make the garage cost more money to build. However, the developer already has a sweetheart deal for the city to pick up half the cost of the project, so the only real impact is that it will somewhat lessen the fat profit margin of the developer. Too bad for them, they are still going to make a lot of money off this deal.

        The smart move would be for the city to pick a more affordable (and appropriate) construction site in Broad Ripple (and the city financed parking study noted various alternatives) and then use the tax money that would have been funneled to the developer to instead build a city-owned garage. The city could still contract out the operation of the garage, if it made economic sense. Instead, the city is financing a massively over-priced project crammed onto an inappropriately sized and shaped lot, mostly for the benefit of a politically-connected private developer.
        • Irony
          Ironic that this meeting took place on a day when Broad Ripple experienced some (minor?) flooding.

          "Keystone countered with a proposal to raise the elevation of the garage to two feet below the flood plain, which would meet federal guidelines but not city requirements."

          This makes the most sense to me. It would keep the first floor retail at a more pedestrian-friendly level while seemingly not impacting the federal flood insurance premiums paid by nearby homes and businesses. I understand wanting to meet city regulations, but how awkward is this design going to be if the first floor sits 4 feet above the street?

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          1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

          2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

          3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

          4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

          5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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