Downtown apartments, northwest-side housing proposed in Carmel

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The Carmel Plan Commission considered two residential projects Tuesday that could bring roughly 200 residences to the city.

Carmel-based JC Hart Co. Inc. is planning to raze a 26,000-square-foot office building at 615 W. Carmel Drive to build the $19 million second phase of its Lakeside Apartments of Carmel. The project calls for three, four-story buildings with a total of 110 apartments on about three acres. At the southeast corner of 146th Street and Shelborne Road, Logan Group LLC is requesting the city rezone a roughly 37-acre vacant parcel to make way for Albany Village, a neighborhood with 82 single-family and duplex homes.

The commission voted to refer the Lakeside Apartment project to its December commercial committee meeting and to give that body final voting authority. The Albany Village project faces a longer review process and must go to the residential committee in December before returning to the full commission for a final recommendation to the council.

Jon Dobosiewicz, a land use professional with Carmel-based Nelson & Frankenberger, represented both petitioners at the meeting.

He said the proposed Lakeside Apartments are the final component of a planned unit development district established in 2013. Lakeside’s 283-unit first phase opened about five years ago. Winamac-based BraunAbility, which manufactures wheelchair-accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts, is constructing a 20,000-square-foot research and development and technology center immediately adjacent to the site of Lakeside’s second phase.

The Lakeside plans call for 30 one-bedroom, 64 two-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom apartments. Average monthly rent would be about $1.400. The project’s early design shows a minimum of 220 parking spaces, including as many as 12 internal garages in each of the three buildings. Construction should start next summer and take about 18 months.

“There really aren’t a lot of items of concern,” Rachel Keesling, a planning administrator with the city of Carmel, said. “The architectural design, the lighting, the landscaping, the signage—they’re all just fine.”

Dobosiewicz said the project’s amenities will include bicycle parking, a fire pit and gathering space and a bocce ball court. Additionally, the developers are planning a new connection to Guilford Road that will run south of the adjacent office building to the west.

One of the project’s few requested variances will be to allow private residential entrances along West Carmel Drive.

Logan Group, whose members include Steve Pittman of Pittman Properties and Paul Rioux of Platinum Property Management, is proposing the city rezone 37 acres at 14407 Shelborne Road to make way for Albany Village.

Pittman said the proposed $35 million neighborhood of for-sale homes would include a mix of 40% single-family and 60% two-family attached units. Depending on the style, the houses would cost from the mid-$400,000s to the low-$600,000s. The attached units will range from the mid-$300,000s to the low-$400,000s.

Dobosiewicz said the attached units would be located on the northwest side of the site, closest to the intersection, to promote a smooth transition from adjacent single-family neighborhoods. The project also comes with nearly a mile of walking paths that will ultimately connect to the property on the west side of Shelborne Road that was recently purchased by Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.

Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation purchased that 27-acre parcel in September and is planning to develop a a $6.5 million park there within the next five years.

Neighbors who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting said they were concerned about the neighborhood’s smaller lot sizes and the lack of a connection to 146th Street. Council members’ questions touched on those subjects and also commented on the need for more variation in design.

“I’d like to see it more broken up,” commission member Christine Zoccola said. “Maybe add a little green space in there, or alter designs so that we don’t have a monotony of garages and driveways.”

If Albany Village receives the approvals it needs, Pittman said he envisions breaking ground on the project in May or June of next year.

Pittman said Carmel’s leaders have challenged the real estate community to come up with an innovative housing product at an affordable price. Residents who try to down-size are currently met with a supply of smaller homes that are even more expensive than their current living situation, he said, and that forces those residents out of the city.

“Our paired patio product is an attempt to fill the gap and meet that need. When we attempt to do that as we go through the planning process, many times we are asked to do things that prevents us from meeting this need,” Pittman said. “We have seen several projects that get approved in Carmel that never get built for exactly this reason. This low maintenance, paired patio product is not being built in any of the new communities in Carmel for exactly this reason.”

Pittman and Prioux are also partnering on a nearby project called Ambleside Point, at 1235 W. 146th St. The proposed 60-acre subdivision less than a mile east of Albany Village could bring a mix of 260 single-family houses and town houses to the corridor.

The 130 town houses in Ambleside Point along 146th Street are expected to start in the high $200,000s. That project’s single-family homes start, depending on the style, either in the mid-$300,000s or the mid-$400,000s.

Since it was first proposed, Pittman and Prioux have reduced the total number of units from 285 to 260, increased lot widths and added guest parking spaces. Carmel’s council sent that project to its land use committee for further review earlier this week.

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