Buckingham reignites plan for Lantern Commons project

Buckingham Cos. is planning to develop the long-dormant Lantern Commons project at 161st Street and U.S. 31 in Westfield.

A conceptual plan filed with the city by the Indianapolis-based developer shows a mix of residential and retail uses, with anchor space totaling up to 150,000 square feet along the highway.

To the east, three outlots also would be available for retail uses and would front a newly built Poplar Street. The street, shown winding through the property, would separate the retail portion of the project from apartment units to the north.

The 63-acre property at the northeast corner of 161st and U.S. 31 hit the market last September after Illinois-based Pine Tree Commercial Realty proposed an upscale retail project in 2007 totaling 430,000 square feet that never got off the ground.

A call to Buckingham was not returned Monday morning. But the listing agent for the property, Bill French of Cassidy Turley, said the developer has the land under contract and is seeking to amend the planned-unit development ordinance to meet its needs.

“Right now, it’s in the embryo stage of moving forward,” French said.

Buckingham is set to introduce its plans Monday evening to the Westfield City Council, which will take no immediate action. The developer’s request to amend the PUD is scheduled to be heard by the city Plan Commission Sept. 2 at a public hearing and could be approved by the commission Sept. 18 before heading back to the City Council for final approval.

Westfield’s land-use plan, adopted in 2008, calls for limited retail along U.S. 31. City leaders envision the highway developing as an employment corridor, and the 161st Street interchange is the only undeveloped retail node along the route.

Sitehawk Retail Real Estate served as Pine Tree’s broker for the project until 2008.

“It’s a site that makes a lot of sense,” Sitehawk principal Mark Perlstein said. “The road construction’s going to be completed. From a geographic standpoint and where the growth is going, it could be a great project.”

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