The Carmel Plan Commission on Tuesday night voted to send a proposed apartment project in the Old Meridian District to its Commercial Committee for further review and gave a favorable review to an age-restricted neighborhood at the northeast corner of Keystone Parkway and 136th Street.
Avant Apartments Phase 2
Michigan-based apartment developer and manager Edward Rose & Sons is hoping to move forward with the second phase of its Avant Apartments complex in Carmel after it is reviewed by the Commercial Committee on Sept. 1 and, eventually, the Carmel City Council.
The proposed development calls for 94 apartment units and 14 townhouses in the Old Meridian District. The developer would like to start construction by the end of the year.
Edward Rose Development Carmel LLC was approved in 2015 to build an $80 million mixed-use development along Old Meridian Street and Grand Boulevard. Already completed is the 303-unit first phase of the Avant Apartments, the 159-unit Rose Senior Living of Carmel complex, the Fairfield Inn & Suites, several townhouses by Lennar and a nearby retail center.
The second phase of the Avant would cap the overall project.
Site plans call for the development to be built on a vacant, four-acre parcel on the northwest corner of Old Meridian Street and Fairfax Manor Drive. If approved, the 135,000-square-foot, four-story building would feature a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from roughly 800 square feet to more than 1,600 square feet.
The project includes 151 parking spaces and 20 attached garages for lease to residents. Planned amenities include a clubhouse lounge, coworking space, a fitness center and bike garage.
“When the project was originally planned, it didn’t look anything like it does today,” said Steve Hardin, an attorney with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath representing the petitioner, said about improvements to the project.
Hardin did not disclose the project’s total cost during Tuesday’s meeting, and representatives from Edward Rose & Son’s offices at 11611 N. Meridian St. could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.
Plan commission member Carrie Holle echoed concerns from five years ago by questioning whether there is a need for additional apartments in Carmel.
“I worry that we keep building more and more apartments that we don’t have a use for,” she said.
Commission President Brad Grabow said Carmel’s apartment-occupancy rates were above 90% the last time he looked.
“That being said, it’s certainly a free market here and it’s the developer’s decision to decide whether there’s too much or too little,” he said.
In addition to the apartment complex, Edward Rose & Sons is planning to add 14 townhomes along Fairfax Manor Drive. However, those were not included in Tuesday’s review and might be developed by a different builder.
Courtyards of Carmel
The plan commission also voted to favorably recommend Ohio-based Epcon Communities’ proposed age-restricted neighborhood, called the Courtyards of Carmel, at the northeast corner of Keystone Parkway and 136th Street.
Epcon altered its initial plans after neighbors expressed opposition to the 55-and-over neighborhood. It reduced the total number of planned single-family homes on the property from 169 to 149. The developer also eliminated a connection to Smokey Road Trail to prevent cut-through traffic, added two interior roundabouts and made commitments to provide larger lots and varied architectural styles.
Commission member Holle, who previously voted against the project, voted in favor of the proposal Tuesday night.
“I didn’t think they would make such significant changes, but they did. We were upset about density, they came back with 20 fewer units. We were concerned about the aesthetic, they came back with four-sided architecture,” she said.
Holle recognized that original concerns about traffic impacts along 136th Street were not addressed beyond the city engineer’s determination that the roads were capable of handling the neighborhood’s additional traffic.
“That’s not for me or any of us to say because we’re not engineering experts, so we leave it to the city’s engineers to decide whether it’s going to work or not,” she said.
At the end of the discussion, the commission voted to forward the project to the city council with a favorable recommendation.