Developer plans $55M resort-like Noblesville apartment complex

Indianapolis-based Maefield Development Corp. is proposing a 611-unit apartment complex for young professionals on the southern edge of Noblesville, stirring controversy as it seeks to rezone a portion of the property.

It’s a familiar fight for Maefield, which won approval for the 680-acre Noble West mixed-use development at 146th Street and Hazel Dell Road in 2003. Plans called for 1,600 single-family homes and 520 multifamily units, plus commercial and office space.

(Maefield also gave the city 76 acres for Dillon Park and helped pay for road improvements.)

A total of 37 acres were set aside for apartments and townhomes, but in 2007 the developer asked to shift about eight acres of multifamily land to commercial use after its Kroger-anchored Hazel Dell Crossing retail area got off to a fast start.

Then the recession hit, the housing bubble burst and the rental market exploded. And now Maefield wants that still-undeveloped property for the $55 million apartment project, located north of the shopping center.

It’s pitching an upscale community of one- and two-bedroom apartments with resort-like amenities such as poolside cabanas, sand volleyball courts and a hammock zone intended to appeal to young professionals.

Rents would range from $900 to $1,850 per month, land-use attorney Steve Hardin told the Noblesville Common Council at its Tuesday meeting.

The city’s Plan Commission reviewed Maefield’s proposal and voted 7-2 this month to forward it to the council with a positive recommendation.

During that discussion, the developer said it would come up with a tree-preservation plan for the wooded property and agreed to a pair of conditions intended to assuage neighbors’ concerns about the project: It won’t build any three-bedroom units and it won’t accept any rent subsidies.

Some nearby homeowners aren’t convinced. A half-dozen area residents spoke out against the proposal at the council meeting Tuesday, raising concerns about increased traffic and decreased property values.

They’re also worried about the density. Maefield’s 611-apartment proposal needs city approval because it exceeds the 520 multifamily units originally approved as part of the Noble West plan. (The 100 townhomes already built on the west side of Hazel Dell mean the new project would be limited to 420 units without a change.)

Councilor Mark Boice echoed their concerns about the increase, saying he’s not convinced existing city infrastructure can support a project of that size.

“It’s so far over the master plan, I have a hard time seeing how it would fit there,” he said.

The council will revisit Maefield’s request at its next meeting.

What’s your take on the dispute—and the underlying question one resident raised: Do young professionals want to live in Noblesville?

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