Plans percolating for east-side multifamily project by proposed Baptist church

An Indianapolis developer is working on plans for a residential project with up to 200 apartment or townhouse units on the city’s east side, as part of a larger undertaking that also involves building a neighboring church.

KCG Cos. is seeking city approval to rezone nearly 19.5 acres at 4005 N. Franklin Road from the SU-1, special use, designation to DP for a new development in partnership with Mt. Paran Baptist Church, which is located on the property and owns the land. The otherwise vacant tract is located just east of Interstate 465, near the southeast corner of Franklin Road and 42nd Street.

The rezoning request is expected to go before the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday. KCG has built several multifamily and townhouse projects across the United States, but the Franklin Road project marks its first in Indianapolis. The company specializes in affordable housing.

The development—a price tag for which has not yet been determined—would be completed in two phases: first the housing component, followed by a church and an adjacent multi-purpose structure for use by Mt. Paran.

Filings indicate KCG expects to build 186 to 200 residential units, ranging from one to three bedrooms, across 10.45 acres. Most of the units are expected to have rents below market rate, as the company has tagged the project as “workforce housing.” The term typically is defined as housing affordable to residents earning between 60 and 120 percent of area median income

Mo McRae, a development analyst with KCG, told IBJ the firm’s plans for the property “are in the works,” and acknowledged it has had limited dialogue with neighborhood residents about the prospective development. She said the company is committed to conducting community meetings after the city signs off on rezoning.

“We’re very aware of the area and some of the broken promises that been given to the east side,” in terms of prospective development, she said. “We want to … see if we can get the density required, then start engaging with the community. Because if it’s not possible—if we can’t have the site rezoned—then we become one of a long list of broken promises for the east side.”

She said KCG is still trying to decide whether it plans to do walk-up, garden-style apartments, single-family attached townhouses or a combination of the two—some units could have up to four bedrooms.

A preliminary site plan shows six buildings, each ranging from 22 to 72 units, as well as a clubhouse, a pool, gardens, and at least 276 surface parking spaces. The residential component is expected to occupy the eastern and southern portions of the site.

An architect of record has not yet been hired for the project.

“We’re still very early on,” McRae said. “At this moment, we’ve just done a preliminary test fit on the site, and we’ve tested a variety of types of housing. [We] don’t know yet what the firm unit mix will end up being.”

Plans for Mt. Paran’s proposed church, which would occupy the northwest corner of the site, are also still being ironed out. According to the site plan, the church would connect to the auxiliary building through walkways. The secondary building could be used for church offices, a school, daycare facility or family community center, filings indicate.

The parking lot nearest the church would have about 240 spaces, while a second lot north of the auxiliary building would have about 20 spaces.

A complete timeline for the development has not yet been finalized, but McRae said the design and community discussion processes will kick off in 2021.

“We welcome any opportunity to build in Indianapolis, for a variety of types of housing,” she said. “We think that this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to show some collaboration with local stakeholders, in our own backyard, and have a local presence.”

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