Two Indianapolis-based developers are planning mixed-use projects in Carmel featuring more than 1,400 apartments, townhouses and condominiums.
However, the Carmel City Council voted 4-3 in two separate votes to delay discussion on the projects, called Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace and Valentina, to 2024 after they were introduced Monday night.
Councilor Adam Aasen suggested tabling the projects until after the new city council takes office in January, due to the projects’ size and the length of construction time. The incoming city council will have four new members next year.
City councilors still heard introductory information on Monday about the Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace and Valentina projects.
The developers have requested the city issue a total of $76 million in developer-backed bonds to help cover the cost of design and construction of the projects. The bonds would be repaid via tax-increment financing, a method for redirecting increased property taxes generated by the projects, with the developers on the hook for any shortfalls.
Indianapolis-based Buckingham Properties LLC is looking to redevelop areas between East 126th Street and East Carmel Drive, west of Keystone Parkway, for the Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace project. It would include redeveloping the existing Gramercy apartment complex and Carmel Marketplace retail center.
Carmel Redevelopment Director Henry Mestetsky told the council that the $300 million project would be built in four phases through 2030.
Plans for the project include 191 for-sale townhouses and condominiums, 850 apartments, 28,000 square feet of retail space, a 650-space public parking garage, art, a public plaza and a solar component. Four of the many existing Gramercy apartment buildings would be spared and renovated.
The project would also involve extending Kinzer Avenue south to Carmel Drive and adding a roundabout at Carmel Drive.
Buckingham is asking the city to issue up to $53 million in developer-backed bonds for the project.
The existing Gramercy apartment complex, built in 1967, includes nearly 550 units. Buckingham renovated the property about a decade ago and added a clubhouse, fitness center, leasing office and pool.
The current Carmel Marketplace property in the 400 and 500 blocks of East Carmel Drive has two strip mall-style buildings with businesses that include Jack’s Donuts, FedEx Office Print & Ship Center, Forensic Accounting Corp., The UPS Store, Number One China Buffet, The Learning Studio and Hoosier Tropical Sno.
Indianapolis-based Keystone Group is also looking to redevelop a 5.5-acre property at the northeast corner of Gradle Drive and 3rd Avenue Southwest.
The $150 million Valentina project would have 380 apartment units, 17 for-sale townhouses located along the Monon Greenway, 50,000-square-feet of office and retail space, a 600-space public parking garage, art and a solar component.
Keystone is asking the city to issue up to $23 million in developer-backed bonds.
In July 2022, Keystone purchased two industrial buildings on the site in downtown Carmel. The buildings, which total 69,000 square feet, are south of The Center for the Performing Arts. On Monday, the city council also heard an introduction to rezone the property from I1/Industrial District to C1/City Center District. The two existing buildings will be razed.
Aasen proposed tabling discussion on Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace and Valentina to 2024 due to the size of the projects and because construction on Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace would take place over a decade.
“When we were out talking to voters, the number of for-rent units was a big topic, and if you combine [Gramercy/Carmel Marketplace] with [Valentina] … you have over 1,200 new rental units being added to the city,” Aasen said.
Councilor Sue Finkam said she did not see the value in tabling discussion on the projects. Finkam will take office as mayor on Jan. 1.
“I feel the discussion should continue,” Finkam said. “And if we get to a point we can vote on it, we should. But if these things come to us to vote on, I think we should handle it now or at least start the process.”
In two votes, Aasen, Teresa Ayers, Laura Campbell and Tony Green voted to table consideration of the two projects to 2024, while Finkam, Kevin “Woody” Rider and Jeff Worrell voted against the motions.