Local developer planning $58M apartment project on South Meridian Street

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A preliminary, conceptual look at the planned TWG development on South Meridian Street. Image courtesy of TWG.

TWG Development LLC plans to spend up to $58 million to develop a multifamily project along South Meridian Street, just north of Interstate 70.

The Indianapolis-based apartment developer hopes to break ground on the 253-unit building at 915 S. Meridian St. by mid-2021.

Most of the apartments in the building are expected be studio and one-bedroom units, but about 20% will be two-bedroom units.

Preliminary plans for the development, which does not yet have a name, call for a rectangular building with an outdoor courtyard in the middle containing a swimming pool. They also show a second-floor outdoor patio on the structure’s northwest corner.

TWG CEO Tony Knoble said his company hopes to receive incentives for the project from the city, as part of what he calls a ”potential public-private partnership” supported by tax-increment financing.

Knoble said whatever portion is not paid using TIF dollars would be covered through a traditional split of debt financing and equity. The total cost of the project is expected to be about $58 million.

About 20% of the units will be reserved for individuals making 60% of the area’s median income—an affordability-focused prerequisite for the city to consider any incentives for apartment developments. The remaining units will be market rate.

The structure would sit between Meridian and Charles streets on land TWG now has under contract for an undisclosed price.

The firm plans to ask the city to rezone one of the parcels involved in the project, 943 S. Meridian St., from its current commercial designation to one that would allow for multifamily development. Public records indicate the request has not yet been filed.

The John Bragg Photography studio at the northwest corner of Ray and Charles streets—on the southeast edge of the proposed development location—would stay intact, while the rest of the buildings in that proximity would be torn down. The corner of Ray and Meridian streets would be landscaped.

TWG also plans to add a surface parking lot with about 100 spaces on the east side of Charles Street, across from the apartment building. The road would remain open to vehicular traffic.

Knoble said the Meridian Street development is inspired by another TWG project in Pittsburgh, known as Connection@Southside. That project, expected to open in spring 2021, has 280 units and is in a burgeoning part of that city. The units there are expected to range from 550 to 1,000 square feet.

The TWG project is one of several developments proposed just south of downtown. Multiple hotels are now under construction in the corridor, including the Tru by Hilton and TownePlace Suites by Marriott. And multiple expansions of the Union 525 tech campus near the Rolls-Royce headquarters are also in the works.

Knoble declined to share how much TWG hopes the city could contribute to the project. Filings requesting public funds—which would come in the form of tax-increment financing—have not yet been submitted. The city declined to comment for this story.

TIF deal structures can vary greatly, but they often come in the form of developer-supported bonds that are paid off using some of the gain in property tax revenue generated by new development.

For example, an apartment project on Pennsylvania Street that was awarded nearly $10 million in incentives last year will receive 80% of the tax revenue increase from the project (the city will get the other 20%) over the next 25 years, which will be used to pay off debt.

Block 20—a two-site project near Massachusetts Avenue—last year received $7 million in TIF bonds as well, through a similarly structured deal.

Some packages create a single-use site for developments, while others utilize an existing tax-increment district. It’s unclear what will happen in this case if incentives are awarded, as the project would be within the Old Southside TIF district.

The site also lies in at the southern edge of an Opportunity Zone, which is likely to create additional opportunities for tax breaks on development.

Knoble said the buildout for the project would be likely last 18 to 24 months, putting it on track for an early- to mid-2023 opening.

TWG, the designer of the project, has developed more than 4,000 multifamily units in Indiana and 11 other states and has more than 3,000 units under development. Its local projects include 333 Penn Apartments, 707 North Apartments, 1010 Central Apartments, 800 Capitol Apartments, Canal Gardens Apartments, Fall Creek View, Pulliam Square Apartments and Lockerbie Lofts.

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