Developer teeing up big residential district on north-side golf course property

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A preliminary concept plan for the Buckingham Cos. project. (Image courtesy of the city of Indianapolis)

An Indianapolis-based firm plans to redevelop a par-3 golf complex on the north side into an expansive residential district, complete with single-family homes, townhouses and hundreds of apartments.

Buckingham Cos. hopes to construct nearly 450 residences on a 25.5-acre property at 1775 E. 96th St., which is currently used by Shortee’s Golf Course. The development would sit just south of Interstate 465 and immediately west of Westfield Boulevard.

The project—development plans for which have been filed with the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development—would consist of 65 single-family homes, about 58 townhomes and up to 324 apartments, along with a multimodal trail and public park.

The proposed project was set for a zoning hearing Wednesday with the Metropolitan Development Commission. It has been postponed to Nov. 17.

Once farmland, the site has been home to Shortee’s since 2000.

Buckingham indicated in public filings it has the Shortee’s property under contract for the development, pending city approvals. The Metropolitan Development Commission must approve a request to rezone the property to a DP, planned development, from its current SU3 designation for a special use in a residential neighborhood. 

The single-family homes would run along the western portion of the property, with the townhouses snaking north-to-south through the middle of the property. The apartments would occupy most of the eastern half of the property.

The townhouses would be built across 13 three- or four-story buildings, with each unit containing a minimum living space of 1,800 square feet, according to filings. Each home would include a two-car rear-load garage, and it would have facades constructed largely of fiber cement panel, fiber cement lap, cast stone or a brick wainscot, with vinyl siding largely absent from the public-facing portions of the buildings.

The apartment units would be spread across nine buildings, either three or four stories in height. The apartments would have a dedicated clubhouse with a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and lounge area, along with a coffee station.

The single-family homes would vary between one and two stories. They would have either attached or detached two-car garages and be constructed of similar materials to the townhouses.

As part of the project, Buckingham plans to deed about 2.75 acres along the western edge of the property to Indy Parks to create a public park and green space. The city has the option to decline the donation, in which case the park would be incorporated into the district as a common area that would be maintained by the three homeowners associations in the neighborhood.

The development would include three retention ponds. A timeline for the project has not yet been made public.

A representative for Buckingham did not return calls from IBJ requesting comment.

A similar project proposed by local developer Herman & Kittle Properties Inc. in 2015 failed to come to fruition. Dubbed Links at 96th, the $45 million apartment community was slated to contain nearly 400 units. Nearby homeowners objected to the plan due to traffic concerns and what they considered to be an excessively dense unit-per-acre ratio.

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20 thoughts on “Developer teeing up big residential district on north-side golf course property

  1. On October 7, representatives of Buckingham met with the Nora Northside Community Council. The council voted 10 – 0 (with one abstention) to overwhelmingly OBJECT to the rezoning proposal.

    1. The reasons against their proposal can be summarized as follows:

      1) The DENSITY proposed (410 total units averaging 17 units per acre) far exceeds the recommendations made just 2 years ago by the Marion County Land Use Commission of 10 units per acre.

      2) This same Land use commission also recommended that 50% of the land should remain green space. Buckingham is only committing to about 11%.

      3) The DENSITY proposed (17 units per acre) far exceeds the Sherwood Forest neighborhood that surrounds it. Sherwood Forest consists of 182 homes averaging close to 2 units per acre.

    2. 4) The already CONGESTED TRAFFIC on Real Street will increase to unacceptable levels. Sending rush hour traffic from the neighboring office buildings directly through the middle of this new neighborhood makes no sense at all.

      5) Vehicles who will want to avoid the new Real Street bottleneck in the NEW neighborhood, will find an alternate route through the existing Sherwood Forest neighborhood. This will cause additional and dangerous traffic through a quiet neighborhood that boasts many walkers – including children and pets.

    3. I so agree with Mike K. We are loosing trees at a phenomenal rate so that companies can make money. There are alot of us who don’t want to live in the country but would like the feel of country. Instead most housing communities have MOST OF TREES CUT DOWN AND HOUSES SMUSHED TOGETHER SO THE home builder can make more money!

  2. The density (not caps) is fine. Indianapolis actually is a city. The density is in a small area, not the entire township. The density equates to a more efficient use of available land.

    Projections for massive traffic impacts, congestion, and danger is but a red herring. Should this be the case, then produce the appropriate traffic analysis findings.

    The lack of density in Sherwood Forest represent an inefficient use of land; however, it will not change and will remain available for the enjoyment of residents. Given the lack of density in Sherwood Forest, the overall density and circulation for the subject area reflects a well planned community of diverse housing types accommodating myriad housing needs and desires in a conscientious manner.

    1. Density = Congestion. Congestion is not a good thing and neither is density. Broad Ripple has been pretty much been destroyed by people who think more congestion is a good thing.

    2. Fitting more housing units in an acre does not really mean it is a better use of land. Yes Indianapolis is a big city but if you have lived in a highly condensed city like NY, LA or Seattle then you know you don’t need to fill every acre with as many houses as possible. There is no reason to fill every vacant space.

  3. It sounds like Mike K. needs to move out to the country and cornfields. I agree about the density issue but like others stated this is a city, correct? Saving space, mixing in actual parks, and pushing for public transit is the end goal. With the current housing shortage going on I seriously doubt this project will blocked.

    1. I agree, obviously the developer would not invest as far as he/she has unless they feel confident that this has a chance to pass. Near north side vote/ opinion could have been predicted by a 1st year law student.

    2. This proposal definitely does NOT include a park. Look at the plans. It is a thin strip of green space to act as a bit of a buffer between the new development and the existing neighborhood. I assume the reason they want to “gift” it to the Parks Department is so that they will not need to be responsible for maintenance. The Marion County Land Commission also suggested just two years ago, that 50% of this property (or about 11+ acres) should remain green space. The 2-1/2 acres offered falls far short of that recommendation.

    3. This proposal definitely does NOT include a park. Look at the plans. It is a thin strip of green space to act as a bit of a buffer between the new development and the existing neighborhood. I assume the reason they want to “gift” it to the Parks Department is so that they will not need to be responsible for maintenance. The Marion County Land Commission also suggested just two years ago, that 50% of this property (or about 11+ acres) should remain green space.

  4. Adding some context for why the neighborhoods are concerned about trafic. There are two other projects proposed in the same area, one approved the other pending. As both are still plans on paper and not yet built is impossible to do a real traffic impact analysis.
    1) Just to the north at 96th and Westfield construction has begun on 300+ apartments with further development plans pending.
    2) To the West at the SE Corner of 96th and Meridian an infill redevelopment project is proposed with a hotel, two 60K SQFT Office buildings, and 600 apartments.
    The sum of the additional dwellings in a one-mile radius is about 1400+ with no consideration to widen the streets, add sidewalks or bike lanes ,or any other means to increase the capacity and flow of traffic.

    1. I’m a bicyclist. Don’t add bike lanes. Most of those bike lanes are poorly designed and make commuting by bicycle more dangerous. And they take away much needed traffic lanes.

    1. Just like Brainard in Carmel, everyone want to develop “upward” to maximize property taxes. We need green space to offset our carbon footprint. Stop trying to fit as many units as profitable. Think less about profits and more about leaving a legacy.

  5. It seems that most commenters are ignoring the fact that the developer has obviously and very consciously addressed congestion to the best of their ability with the Westfield overpass situation. The re-alignment of Real Street is a key factor in smoothing out traffic congestion in this area. It allow for more stacking and better visibility than there has ever been. Being cognizant of Sherwood Forest to the southwest, they have stepped down the density substantially, utilizing townhomes along Real Street, and then stepping down further by dedicating the southwest portion of the property for single family use. Yes, these aren’t the 3/4 acre lots of Sherwood Forest, but they aren’t relying on septic systems, allowing for more density that makes the investment viable.

    The red herring that there isn’t enough “Green” space is ridiculous as well. A privately held and not walkable (a grossly underused and ill-maintained golf course) is not an amenity to the surrounding neighborhood or area in any way, shape or form. We need to stop with the Nimbyism in Indiana and let folks develop what they can make work. If you don’t want something developed, then buy it up and preserve it yourself; either on your own or as a group with your nimby neighbors.

    1. RJC
      You obviously don’t care that our trees are being demolished by the thousands just so builders can make money. Do like seeing houses smushed together with a tree or 2 on the lot?