Butler Automotive snaps up 96th Street parcel for dealership

One of the largest undeveloped parcels in the desirable Keystone Crossing trade area has been sold and is on its way to becoming a car dealership.

An affiliate of Butler Automotive Group bought more than 19 acres at the northwest corner of East 96th Street and Randall Drive in late December and is seeking permission from Carmel to build a structure that would house Butler Hyundai.

The two-story, 37,500-square-foot dealership would be built on the south half of the property and would be flanked by two outlots. The Carmel Plan Commission will hold a preliminary hearing on Butler's plans Feb. 19. If all goes well, approval could come a month later.

Tim Ochs, an attorney at Ice Miller who represents Butler, said his client anticipates starting construction this year. Butler Hyundai would move from its location adjacent to Butler Toyota, which is south of 96th Street and closer to Keystone Avenue.

There are more than a dozen car dealerships along that stretch of 96th Street.

What will happen to the 10 acres immediately north of the newest one is unclear. Butler immediately relisted that property and the two outlots with Michael P. Sloan, a broker with The Broadbent Group who facilitated Butler's purchase of the site.

The outlots, both of which front 96th Street, are listed for $1.4 million and $1 million. The 10 acres north of the dealership are listed for $300,000 an acre. The entire 19-acre site was listed with Sloan for $4.9 million when Butler bought it, though it's not clear what the automotive group paid.

Sloan began marketing the tract and another 13.6 acres at the northeast corner of Keystone and Interstate 465 in May 2011. He was hired to sell them by John Tyner, whose family has had large land-holdings in the area for generations.

Sloan said the Tyner family once owned the land that North Central High School sits on, and John Tyner and his siblings used to own most of the land along the north side of 96th Street between Randall Drive and Gray Road to the east. John Tyner died July 3 at age 82.

Sloan still has the listing for the 13.6-acre tract closer to I-465. It's listed for $5.9 million and has generated interest from hotel companies, office space developers and car dealerships, Sloan said. He said the Tyner family trust that owns the property doesn't want to sell it piecemeal, so he anticipates lining up multiple buyers for a simultaneous closing.

As for the property he now has listed for Butler, he said the first priority is to sell the outlots. "We have had interest from several fast food and sit-down restaurants, banks and gas stations," Sloan said in an e-mail.

The northern half of that parcel abuts the Williamson Run subdivision. Sloan said its probably most suited for recreational or apartment use.

The broader Keystone Crossing trade area is one of the richest in the state. In 2011, before the commercial real estate market began shaking off the effects of the recession, one broker described the area like this: "It's bulletproof. It's been a true powerhouse for 20 years."

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