Developer plans $32M senior housing project sandwiched between St. Vincent, 86th and Ditch

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A local developer plans to build a 160-unit apartment community for seniors of limited means just west of the highly traveled retail mecca at the intersection of West 86th Street and Ditch Road.

Birge & Held Asset Management is proposing the four-story affordable housing project on roughly 3.3 acres at 1621 W. 86th St. The yet-unnamed development is expected to cost about $32 million.

The development would feature studios and one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 512 square feet for the smallest apartment to 1,187 square feet for the largest, according to filings with the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development.

Jarod Brown, chief development officer for Birge & Held, said the project is intended to lock in long-term affordable units for aging Indianapolis residents. It would be one of the only affordable housing projects for seniors in that area.

The apartments also would also be a stone’s throw from the sprawling campus of Ascension St. Vincent Hospital at 2001 W. 86th St.

“The senior housing product that is available over there doesn’t really include anything on the affordable side, so … we thought being able to offer an affordable product with the proximity to the hospital would be good for the area and a good investment for us,” Brown said.

All of the apartments would be offered to those age 55 and older, at a reduced rent rate to accommodate those making up to 60% of the area’s median income. A studio would lease for about $769 per month; a one-bedroom, $805; and a two-bedroom, $959. The project would be for independent adults and not include an assisted-living component.

The firm expects to receive federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, which are disbursed through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, to help finance the project.

The project would also feature amenities like a fitness center and a cafe, and is a half-mile away from the 22-acre Daubenspeck Community Nature Park on Ditch Road. Brown said the firm is also evaluating options for some outdoor green space on the property.

The development is also right along IndyGo’s 86th Street crosstown route, with a bus stop on the northern edge of the site.

The project is among the first senior housing projects taken on by Birge & Held, which typically operates in market-rate and affordable apartment projects in Indianapolis and across 10 other states—as far west as Colorado and as far south as Texas and Florida.

Construction would require the demolition of two single-family homes and a now-defunct veterinary office, as well as a rezone to the D-2 dwelling district to allow for a multifamily development. The land is now zoned for commercial and single-family dwellings.

Birge & Held is also seeking a variance to allow development on land that is within a stream protection corridor because of its proximity to the man-made Howard Johnson’s Ditch.

The company has the land under contract pending city approval. Brown said construction could begin in spring 2023, with targeted completion by late 2024.

The zoning requests are set for a vote by the city Metropolitan Development Commission’s hearing examiner on April 14. If approved, it would go before the MDC for further consideration.

Indianapolis-based Blackline is the architectural firm on the project.

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4 thoughts on “Developer plans $32M senior housing project sandwiched between St. Vincent, 86th and Ditch

  1. Good for them but lets be realistic regarding seniors trying to get to the nature park. Who here has successfully, on foot, crossed the crazy intersection at 86th and Ditch and walked up to the park. Good luck with that.

    1. Totally agree about crossing the street at that intersection. Same issues with Crestwood South and people trying to cross Madison at any point. Keep in mind that so many of our elders are not “fast” walkers. In fact, I seem to remember that someone in a powered chair was killed along Madison and it is not as heavily traveled as 86th. Personally, I would have difficulty crossing 86th at almost any point and would feel like I was in great danger. Drivers are careless and there are numerous car to car accidents.

      However, never turn down any form of “affordable” apartments for anyone.

  2. This sounds like a great project and opportunity for lower income seniors that are still very mobile. I see little concerns about them walking up to the park. I’m sure that will be well appreciated by them when it is all done.