City gives OK for $60M apartment building on canal

April 18, 2012

Plans for a $60 million multi-story apartment building along the Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis can proceed after the developer finally won approval Wednesday afternoon from a city commission.

Investment Property Advisors of Valparaiso originally proposed to build an $83 million, 26-story tower designed for college students but encountered resistance from neighbors over its height and impact on traffic in the area.

It agreed to reduce the height of the building to 10 stories and the number of apartment units in the building from 485 to 319. The number of parking spaces also would shrink, from 434 to 278, within a three-level garage instead of the originally proposed six levels.

Members of the Metropolitan Development Commission approved the design of the building by a 6-1 vote, with Dorothy Jones casting the lone dissent. Lena Hackett recused herself from the vote, and Diana Hamilton was absent.

Developers Larry Gough and Chase Sorrick of Investment Property Advisors said they plan to seek construction bids in the fall, with a hopeful completion date of 2014.

“We felt pretty confident going in to today,” Gough said. “You can never please everybody, but we fully intend to work with our neighbors.”

Two of those, the nearby Gardens of Canal Court apartment complex and the Canal Walk Lofts building, voiced the loudest objections.

Attorneys for the building owners argued that Ninth Street, the only road providing access to the proposed project, cannot support the additional traffic.

Tim Ochs of Ice Miller LLP, representing Gardens of Canal Court owner The Sexton Cos., further argued that the 10-story building will block residents’ downtown view.

“If you had a business, would you put it next to a private dorm of this size?” Ochs asked commission members. “We think it’s questionable.”

The project received a favorable recommendation from MDC staff.

Commission members agreed to continue a vote on the project in March after MDC Director Maury Plambeck said his staff needed more time to review modifications to reduce the size to 10 stories.

The project will be built on two adjoining parcels along Ninth Street between Senate Avenue and the canal: a 1.2-acre property that includes the offices and warehouse of B.B. Kirkbride Bible Co., and a 0.26-acre canal-front sliver of land that the city in August agreed to sell to the developer. Kirkbride is set to leave its property.


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