Kite’s plan sparking controversy: Condos near Fashion Mall likely to face ‘battle royal’

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A partnership headed by Paul Kite has ambitious plans for a mixed-use development featuring midrise condominium towers and retail space on the last undeveloped corner of 86th Street and Keystone Avenue.

A proposal from PK Capital LLC, Kite’s partnership, calls for more than 180 condos and about 60,000 square feet of retail space on the north side of 86th Street between Haverstick Road and Keystone Avenue. The 10-acre property lies just south of Our Lady of Peace Cemetery and a narrow strip of single-family homes.

Plans for the site call for an upscale grocery store, identified in one site plan as Whole Foods. PK Capital’s attorney, Thomas Michael Quinn, confirmed the Austin, Texas-based grocer is the target tenant for the space, but said no deal has been signed.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Amy Hopfens- perger said the company has been interested in an Indianapolis location for some time, but a store here isn’t on the announced store-opening list.

Paul Kite runs Kite Inc., a construction company. Kite Inc. was a sister company to Kite Development before parent company Kite Cos. reorganized and went public last August as Kite Realty Group Trust. Paul Kite isn’t an employee of the public company, although he maintains an office in Kite headquarters at 30 S. Meridian St. and owns shares of the company.

The project at 86th and Haverstick would be Paul Kite’s first major local project since leaving the development side of the family business when Kite went public last August.

The project already has stirred up controversy among neighbors in the Driftwood Hills neighborhood, just west of the site.

“Why come into an established neighborhood with such a misuse of land, we feel,” said Tim Greene, president of the neighborhood association in Driftwood Hills, an area with about 300 ranch-style and split-level homes built in the mid-20th century.

Neighbors have also expressed concern about traffic cutting through on 91st Street and about sewer and drainage issues the project would raise.

PK Capital has the mostly wooded site under contract pending rezoning. Most of the land is owned by Farahan Enterprises, which is controlled by the family that owns the Royal Gallery of Rugs in the nearby Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing. Just over three acres is owned by the Calvin W. Prather Masonic Lodge.

PK Capital would pay more than $6 million for both parcels, local real estate sources said.

Greene said most area residents question the need for more retail development when Woodfield Center on the south side of 86th Street has struggled to keep tenants in recent years.

The Marion County Comprehensive Plan recommends low-density residential development for the site. However, the site isn’t suitable for high-end single-family development because of its proximity to Keystone and 86th, Quinn said.

Developers and city officials have a second meeting scheduled for April 29 to discuss the plan and iron out differences, but the matter may not come up for a public hearing until early this summer, he said.

The last project proposed for the site, a commercial development by Kosene & Kosene, met with similar resistance in 1999. Kosene principal Gerry Kosene predicted a “battle royal” with residents over the current petition.

Kite’s plan calls for two eight- or ninestory condo towers with about 120 units facing the ramp from Keystone Avenue to 86th Street; the remaining 60 or so units would be in townhouses along the northern and western edges of the site.

Retail development would be concentrated on the southern edge, facing 86th Street. A garage would house most of the parking for residents and retail customers.

The site plan is still being finalized, Quinn said. One of the concerns is the effect of underground parking for retailers, he said. The number of units is also still under discussion.

Current plans call for the condos to range from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet and to be priced from $250,000 to $350,000, in line with or slightly less than other recent north-side condo developments.

“The plan is to attract the type of people who would want to buy a similar type of condo downtown but who don’t want to live downtown,” Quinn said.

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