Onyx+East plans $6.5M town house project on 10th Street, but faces skepticism from city

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A rendering of Near 925, looking from the intersection of 10th and Sterling streets. (Image courtesy of Onyx+East)

Local residential development firm Onyx+East is eyeing a 1.5-acre plat of undeveloped land east of downtown for a $6.5 million town house project.

The Indianapolis-based company plans to construct 21 townhomes across six parcels at the northwest corner of East 10th and Sterling streets, according to filings with the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development and a company official.

The development, called NEAR 925—a nod to Sterling Street, as sterling silver contains 92.5% silver—would consist of six buildings, with units ranging from 1,270 to 1,600 square feet. The unit prices are expected to range from $275,000 to $365,000.

Each three-story unit is expected to contain two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, with the larger units featuring rooftop decks and two-car garages. The smaller units would have rear balconies and one-car garages. 

Most of the buildings are expected to be about 39 feet tall, with one building containing the larger units estimated to be about 44 feet tall.

Brandon Bart, a senior development associate for Onyx+East, said the company considers the project an opportunity to jump-start additional development in the Windsor Park neighborhood.

The project requires multiple approvals from the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission, including rezoning the property and permission to vacate an alley that separates the northern parcels from those to the south.

The amalgamation of land is currently zoned D-8 and C3, for single-family homes and commercial developments, respectively. Onyx+East is asking the city to allow the entire property to be rezoned to D-P for a planned development.

The company in recent weeks confirmed plans for another townhouse and flats project in partnership with Extra Space Storage in the Lockerbie neighborhood.

The land is owned by Jackson Control Properties Inc., but Onyx+East has it under contract, pending city approval.

But city staff has so far recommended denying each of the requests tied to the project.

The reasons include concerns over the density of the development, whether vacating an alley is in the public interest, and the overall layout for the project, which would have interior roadways and a private, interior courtyard.

Development standards for the Windsor Park neighborhood generally recommend any residential units built there front a primary road—in this case, East 10th or Sterling streets.

A staff report also indicated the project statement lacked specifics necessary for the city to complete a complete and accurate report. Onyx+East submitted documents in November and December, but city staff said they were not enough to give the city proper scale for the project.

“(The) lack of details, dimensions and scale of the conceptual site plans make them virtually unusable for establishing development standards,” the staff report said. “Even if all the previous (reasons) provided by staff for denying this request would be invalidated, the lack of an adequate reviewable development plan is reason enough to deny this request.”

Bart said while the city’s recommendation is not a surprise to the company, it was surprised by “a ton of inaccuracies” within its pages—including particulars about the project and references to documents submitted by the company.

“We want to make sure they are referencing everything that was submitted accurately, and we can clean up the staff report,” Bart said. “I don’t think the recommendation is going to change necessarily—which we were prepared for because … there’s just not a lot of good zoning classifications for what we do.”

Asked about the discrepancies Bart noted, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development referred IBJ back to the staff report due to its policy of not commenting on active cases.

Even so, Bart said he is hopeful the project will still be able to win approval. He said Onyx+East has met with the city architect in recent weeks to discuss the project, and expects the request will be heard during the Feb. 5 meeting of the MDC.

“We’re working to make some potential changes to the design,” he said. “We’re really just taking the next few weeks to … put in a stronger application.”

Indianapolis-based Rottmann-Collier Architects is the designer on the project.

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6 thoughts on “Onyx+East plans $6.5M town house project on 10th Street, but faces skepticism from city

  1. What about pricing? We need reasonable pricing on these things. Both the city and the builder need to come together so that all requirements don’t prevent entry to the market by crazy pricing.

    1. Its outrageous to believe that city requirements are what are driving the insane prices. Entry level pricing is nearly always going to come from existing stock, not new construction.

    2. The fact that we are still getting hung up on density near Downtown, where land values are high, doesn’t help. If the developer is going to be forced to have fewer units on the site, then each unit is going to be more expensive than the original proposal.

    3. It would seem the issue isn’t an opposition to density in general, but an opposition to density done wrong. The City does not, nor should it, settle for density at any cost. Particularly in the name of affordable or entry level-priced housing. Sure, less lots naturally means more expensive. But more lots does not necessarily equate to a proportionate/significant reduction in cost.

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