Apartments rev up residential revival downtown

An apartment building spree downtown is getting fresh fuel with an $85 million development proposed for surface parking lots just south of the Cosmopolitan on the Canal.

Map of Block 400 projectThe plan—first reported on on Jan. 24—calls for 487 apartments, a Marsh grocery store, a parking garage and additional retail space on properties bounded by Michigan Street, Capitol Avenue, Vermont Street and Indiana Avenue.

The project by locally based Flaherty & Collins Properties would join a handful of other apartment projects either under construction or on the drawing board around downtown, including the CityWay development at Delaware and South streets and a proposed $83 million, 485-unit apartment tower along Ninth Street between Senate Avenue and the canal.

The apartment market has been a bright spot in recent years in an otherwise gloomy real estate market.

Downtown apartment occupancy rates are near 96 percent, a record high. And there’s strong demand for housing near the IUPUI campus; a recent study estimated the campus could support more than 5,000 additional beds. But some market observers fear a glut of supply if every project on the drawing board comes to fruition.

Rendering of proposed Marsh at Block 400 project Marsh Supermarkets plans to open its first new store since 2004 on a parcel downtown. (Rendering Courtesy Marsh Supermarkets)

Much of the land needed for the Flaherty project, dubbed Block 400, is owned by locally based OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc., which uses it for employee parking. To make way for the development, the city would foot the roughly $13 million cost of building a 930-space parking garage for OneAmerica at the northwest corner of Illinois and New York streets.

The total cost of the development, including the city’s contribution from tax-increment financing district revenue, is projected to be $85 million. The deal will not include a property-tax abatement.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Marsh Supermarkets CEO Joe Kelley and officials with Flaherty & Collins announced details of the project at a press conference Jan. 24 after reported on the deal.

The new grocery store would be a welcome amenity for the neighborhood and nearby IUPUI campus, and it represents a significant milestone for the Fishers-based supermarket chain. It would be the first new Marsh store since 2004.

Marsh also will continue to operate its location in the Lockerbie neighborhood, a top performer for the chain.

The first step in the project would be to build the OneAmerica parking garage, which would include a skywalk across New York Street to the OneAmerica Tower.

Flaherty’s plans call for two mixed-use buildings and a parking garage. The Marsh store would be built at the southwest corner of Michigan Street and Capitol Avenue.

Also included in the project is a triangle-shaped parcel bordered by Indiana Avenue, Senate Avenue and Michigan Street where Flaherty had planned a second phase of the Cosmopolitan on the Canal, the company’s $33 million mixed-use project on the north side of Michigan.

A ground breaking for the new project is scheduled for the summer.•

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