City Center expansion plans could cost $100M

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Six more buildings planned for the massive Carmel City Center development are ready to come off the drawing board.

Developer Pedcor Cos. on Tuesday unveiled conceptual designs for four mixed-use buildings, a parking garage with ground-floor commercial, and an addition to its Pedcor Square office complex. The additions are expected to cost $80 million to $100 million, and take four to five years to build.


Work is under way on The Nash, a three-story, $10 million mixed-use building that kicked off the second phase of the ambitious redevelopment project earlier this year. More than half of the commercial space there already is leased, said Bruce Cordingley, Pedcor's president and CEO.

Tuesday’s announcement provided a glimpse of what else could join the sprawling commercial-and-residential hub at the corner of City Center Drive and Range Line Road. Also part of City Center are the iconic Palladium concert hall and the Center for the Performing Arts, projects that represent a public investment of about $200 million.

"This is our vision" for all but the last two or three buildings at City Center, Cordingley said, calling the designs preliminary. "We welcome ongoing input."

Cordingley said the timing and financing of projects will be determined after talks with the Carmel City Council and city development groups, expected to begin early next year.

Outgoing City Council President Rick Sharp and council Finance Committee Chairwoman Luci Snyder each expressed support for Pedcor's plans, saying that finishing the City Center project is a priority. After her public remarks, Snyder said public funds could be used to pay for roads and other infrastructure, including parking.

"That's our job," she said.

City Center’s first phase included 106 apartments and 62,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. The Nash, which is going up along Range Line Road south of City Center, will have 8,000 square feet of street-level commercial space and 31 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.

The city agreed to pay for $2 million of infrastructure improvements for The Nash, Cordingley said. Pedcor's investment is about $10 million. The developer likely will ask for a similar level of city support for the rest of the second phase, he said, citing the 5-to-1 ratio of private-to-public investment. 

Developer Anderson Birkla, meanwhile, is working on The Mezz—a pair of five-story buildings going up on either side of the James Building, which houses the Tarkington Theater and other tenants.

Pedcor has developed the bulk of the ambitious City Center project in partnership with the city of Carmel and its redevelopment commission, which has contributed tax-increment financing revenue.

Plans for a boutique hotel there have not yet come to fruition, but Mayor Jim Brainard said that’s still on his wish list. Residences on the upper floors of a planned six- or seven-story tower—one of the buildings unveiled Tuesday—could be converted to hotel rooms, he said.

Here’s a rundown on the planned buildings, most named for noted British architects:

—The Baldwin and The Chambers: a pair of four-story structures to be built south of Carmel City Center and north of The Nash. Office and commercial space is planned for the first two floors; upper floors will be residential. Cordingley said The Chambers likely will be the first building constructed, since it will fill in the streetscape along Range Line.

—The Holland: a five-story building west of The Nash, along the east side of the Monon Trail. Plans call for first-floor commercial and four floors of residential or office space, depending on market demand.

—The Wren Towers: a six- or seven-story building just west of The Baldwin and City Center (and south of the future hotel site). Plans call for ground-floor parking and commercial uses, plaza-level commercial and residences on the upper floors.

—Parking garage: a four- or five-level parking structure, likely with 650 spaces, west of The Nash and south of City Center. Retail and offices are envisioned for a portion of the ground floor. The parking garage must open about the same time as the first mixed-use building, Cordingley said.

—Five Pedcor Square: a two-story office building connected to underground parking at Pedcor’s existing complex at City Center Drive and 3rd Avenue NW. A partial third story could be added. Cordingley said Pedcor is in talks with a possible tenant.

If financing falls into place, the City Center expansion could begin as soon as next year, he said. Each building takes about two years to complete.


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