Besides parking, garage could aid Broad Ripple

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The parking garage set to open this month in Broad Ripple should alleviate a shortage of spaces that for years has plagued the trendy neighborhood.

But some think the three-story structure at the southwest corner of College Avenue and Westfield Boulevard also will attract commercial development by giving employees and customers a better parking option.

“When you bookend the village with the parking garage, and everything is within a half-mile, it makes development very attractive,” said Brooke Klejnot, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association.

broad ripple The garage is expected to be completed this year. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Plans for one such project three blocks east—just north of Broad Ripple Avenue between Winthrop Avenue and the Monon Trail—call for a three-story building with first-floor retail and two floors of office.

An existing building that housed a United Package Liquors store would be demolished. Lor Corp., which owns the liquor-store chain, has owned the prime Broad Ripple site since 1988.

In December, Lor moved the liquor store to its Broad Ripple Station shopping strip to the immediate southeast. The development at 1002 Broad Ripple Ave. would feature a rooftop deck and a large bike rack on the side of the building facing the Monon Trail and more bike parking on the north side of the building.

Lor wants to start construction on the 9,300-square-foot structure as soon as it can secure zoning approvals. CEO Adam Hill hopes the building will be completed in 2013.

“We believe the parking garage is a benefit to the Broad Ripple community,” Hill said, “and I think there’s a demand for commercial density.”

Locally based Keystone Group is developing the $15 million garage and retail project with about 350 spaces and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

A large restaurant could anchor the roughly 7,500-square-foot corner space. Other planned tenants include Marco’s Pizza, Firehouse Subs, a frozen yogurt shop, a bank with a drive-through accessible via College Avenue, and a small Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department substation.

Many of the garage spaces will be used by visitors to Keystone’s new first-floor tenants. But Bill French, a retail broker at Cassidy Turley, said the remainder could be attractive for entertainment-type venues.

“Broad Ripple is one of the most sought-after areas in Indianapolis for restaurants, bars and nightclubs,” he said. “There’s lots of density and disposable income in the immediate area.”

French noted, however, that it could take 12 to 24 months following the completion of the garage before Broad Ripple notices any uptick in new development.

The area could even have a hotel operating sometime this year.

Developer Debbie Stolen Hasbrook first presented plans to the city of Indianapolis in 2010 for a 22-room hotel between Westfield Boulevard and the Monon Trail.

With the prolonged downturn in the economy, she’s scaled back her plans to nine rooms. That the properties at 6520 and 6532 Westfield Blvd. are within a floodplain also has delayed permitting.

The design incorporates the historic Merrill Stage building at the south side of the lot, which will house five guest rooms and common space. The other building will have four rooms.

Hasbrook’s goal is to create a boutique hotel with a European design.

Though parking will be available onsite, she supports the new garage and how it might benefit the surrounding area.

So does Keystone Group. It will charge market rates for parking spaces, though the city retains rights to “buy down” the rates if it sees them as too expensive. The city contributed $6.35 million in taxpayer money to the project.

“There is that sense of, if you build it, it will add to the economic base,” said Paul Okeson, Keystone’s vice president of business development.•

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