A local developer plans to build a five-story office building on the site of a closed American Legion post in Broad Ripple.
At 85 feet, the ambitious project would be the tallest in the village, even topping by 10 feet Browning Investments Inc.’s proposed retail-and-apartment development on College Avenue near the Central Canal.
County records show Joseph Brougher of Brougher Investments paid nearly $1.3 million in March for the property at 6440 Westfield Blvd., just south of East 65th Street and west of the White River.
Brougher declined to provide a development cost but said it would be “significant.”
The Broad Ripple Village Association’s land-use and development committee gave the project its blessing July 22. The next step is to seek city approval to break ground in November, with an April 2016 completion.
The village’s master plan, Envision Broad Ripple, calls for buildings in the area to rise as high as 100 feet, or eight stories, whichever is less, Brougher said.
“What the plan envisions are multi-story buildings along the Westfield corridor coming from 65th Street down,” he said. “We may be the tallest at this point, but I doubt we’ll be the tallest for long.”
The building would boast three levels of parking, one underground, and two stories of office space totaling more than 70,000 square feet. In addition, plans call for 4,700 square feet of restaurant space at the rear of the building, fronting the Monon Trail.
The demand for Class A office space in Broad Ripple is growing, brokers said.
“There’s some office space in Broad Ripple, but there’s not an abundance of it,” said Scott Lindenberg, a partner of the Reliant Partners Commercial Realty brokerage.
Reliant Partners received city approval in March to demolish two homes along North College Avenue and just north of Kessler Boulevard to build a two-story, 5,700-square-foot office building. Reliant hopes to break ground in September, and Lindenberg said he has commitments to fill the entire space.
North of Broad Ripple Avenue sandwiched between Winthrop Avenue and the Monon Trail, LOR Corp. is finishing construction on a three-story building with first-floor retail and two floors of office space. Chipotle will occupy the ground level and a tenant is close to signing an agreement for the upper two floors, said the tenant’s broker, Matt Waggoner of Summit Realty.
An existing building on the triangle-shaped property previously housed a United Package Liquors store.
“The challenge for Broad Ripple right now is, there’s no product, but there’s certainly a demand for it,” Waggoner said. “A handful of our clients would love to be in that area.”
The area is most appealing to startups and technology firms whose employees might want to bike or jog to work on the Monon, he said.
Brougher, meanwhile, submitted the winning bid to purchase the American Legion property. The post had been there about 40 years. Legion posts operate autonomously, but it’s unclear what led to the sale. An official for the Indiana division of the American Legion did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Another American Legion post that’s active on North College Avenue sits within blocks of the Westfield Boulevard location.
Because the site on Westfield is in a flood plain, plans for the building show it raised about three feet from the ground and accessible via a ramp. Brougher hopes to construct a sidewalk along 65th Street to improve pedestrian traffic in the area and also work with Indianapolis Power & Light to bury some electrical lines.
Features of the building include a patio along the Monon, an area for bicycle parking, a green roof on top of the garage that extends beyond the office portion, and electric-vehicle charging stations.
Brougher founded International Medical Group in 1990 and sold it to a New York private equity group in 2012. Located at 2960 N. Meridian St., IMG administers insurance policies for U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas. He bought the former Indianapolis Life Insurance Co. campus where IMG is now and redeveloped it along with business partner Tom Moses into Brougher Plaza.
They also renovated the former Clemens Vonnegut Public School 9 at 407 Fulton St. downtown into office space and sold it to advertising firm Young & Laramore.•