Broad Ripple project takes heat at Village meeting

The developer of a proposed residential and retail project in Broad Ripple faced stiff opposition, and occasional jeering and catcalls, from area residents during a meeting Thursday evening of the Broad Ripple Village Association.

“I would be against this project,” local resident David Duvall told IBJ newsgathering partner Fox59. “It’s out of scale with the neighborhood.”

Browning Investments Inc. has staked out about two acres northeast of the intersection of College Avenue and the Central Canal for the $18 million project. It would include 35,000 square feet of retail space—currently earmarked for a Whole Foods—a parking garage and as many as 88 apartment units.

Tempers often flared at a BRVA meeting Thursday night, in which members of the public were invited to listen to Browning’s pitch and sound off on the project. At one point, an association leader had to admonish the crowd for “getting way out of control.”

Residents expressed concern about how the development would affect traffic and potentially change the character of the low-rise neighborhood, which even in its commercial sections has managed to maintain a residential quality.

City officials have yet to rule on zoning changes that would allow the project to move forward.

Another issue dogging the project is the potential use of tax-increment financing to help fund development. The project is within the North Midtown TIF district, which was established to help finance new projects in struggling neighborhoods. City-County Councilor John Barth, who pushed for the creation of the district, has told IBJ he thinks Broad Ripple is attractive enough on its own to garner private investment.

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