Kite, Milhaus planning 7-building apartment complex next to Glendale

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Glendale Rural Kite

A pair of local developers are seeking a zoning change so they can construct a seven-building apartment complex next to Glendale Town Center.

Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust, which owns Glendale, this month filed a request with the Marion County Board of Zoning Appeals to change zoning for some of the parking lots it owns along Rural Street, just east of the mall at 6101 N. Keystone Ave. The petition deals with overflow parking lots east of Rural and a portion of the main parking next to the former Macy's store west of Rural.

Kite wants to use the 5.7 acres for a 267-unit apartment project it would develop with Indianapolis-based Milhaus. Kite is seeking to rezone the property from classification C4, which allows for shopping mall development, to D-P, a planned unit development district.

The developers will need to persuade city officials to overturn a land covenant that dates to 1969 and prohibits development on most of the property. The project also faces concerns from neighboring residents.  

Kite presented plans for the development to some area residents last week, including those from the Riddle Manor neighborhood directly east of the parking lot.

The plans say none of the seven buildings will be taller than four stories. The filing with the zoning board calls for no more than 60 units per acre.

The front facades of the buildings would face Rural Street, with the road acting as the main artery for vehicular and pedestrian traffic to the complex. Site plans indicate the project would include at least one parking space per unit, with bicycle parking throughout the complex.

It’s unclear whether a commercial element is planned for the project.

While the parking lots are owned by Kite, the properties east of Rural Street, composed of 4.2 acres, are subject to a covenant stating they cannot be redeveloped. The covenant was enacted in 1969 when Glendale was converted from an open-air mall into an enclosed shopping center.

The document gives property owners near the lot a say in changes to the site plan, and allows for legal action if the covenant is breached.

Kite purchased Glendale in 1999 for an estimated $20 million and spent about $45 million on a major renovation completed in 2000. Further renovations over the next eight years converted the mall back into an open-air "lifestyle center."

In its zoning filing, Kite asks for the covenant to be overturned, but that would need to be approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission.

Beth Henkel, a neighbor whose property directly abuts the parking lot, said she has concerns about the project.

“You might call it NIMBY-ism, but I call it being a good neighbor,” she said. “Of course, people are concerned there's a proposed development near them, but this is not just a knee-jerk reaction against progress and development, because we do encourage that.”

Henkel, a practicing attorney who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, said she questions whether an apartment complex is the “most appropriate use of that space and is lawful.”

Both Henkel and her husband, Dan, said they plan to oppose the development as it makes its way through the approval process.

“We really would like to see perhaps a better development on that lot,” Dan Henkel said. “We [as neighbors] should be working together because we own property rights (for) that parking lot.”

He said he would like to see any redevelopment of the lot focused on non-residential uses, such as restaurants, a coffee shop or retail.

A date for the proposal to be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals has not yet been made public.

Milhaus referred all questions about the proposed project to Kite, which is the lead developer the project. Kite declined to comment.

Kite is facing major redevelopment questions at the 61-year-old mall following the recent closure of anchor Macy's. The 237,456-square-foot, three-level department store took up about 45 percent of the square footage in the 530,249-square-foot shopping center.

In January, when Macy's announced its plans, officials for Kite said they were looking at the closure as a “redevelopment opportunity.” The company said it was considering uses for the vacated real estate that include retail, multifamily or "innovative and community-focused" possibilities.

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