Developer plans housing on former Carmel golf course

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Carmel-based Old Town Development LLC is planning to transform the former Sunrise Golf Club into a residential community targeting empty nesters.

The development arm of custom homebuilder Old Town Design Group submitted the winning bid for the 77-acre property at 9876 Westfield Blvd. this spring. If an as-yet-unfiled rezoning request is approved, construction could start next March.

Although the purchase price will remain under wraps per the terms of a confidentiality agreement, Old Town principal Justin Moffett said the developer plans to donate a wooded area along the Monon Greenway to Carmel-Clay Parks and Recreation.

The public park likely will include a memorial to Vera Hinshaw, a lifelong Carmel resident whose family held the land for almost 150 years. The Vera Hinshaw Family Limited Partnership offered the property for sale following her death last year.

Nine-hole Sunrise closed in October after nearly 25 years on the site.

Letting go of the land was a difficult decision, Hinshaw family spokeswoman Judy Singleton said, but Old Town presented a "thoughtful and thorough" proposal they hope will preserve the character of the area.

"They want to create a community based in history, so it won't feel like another suburban development," she said.

The family also was drawn to Old Town's local roots, eschewing offers from national builders.

“We knew there would be a lot of contenders” for the land given its size and location, Moffett said. The deal is contingent on the developer getting the necessary city signoffs.

Old Town is working with national design firm Looney Ricks Kiss on a land-use plan for the property, Moffett said. He expects the project to include the small-lot, single-family homes the local company has been building in Carmel’s Arts & Design District, likely with a multifamily component added to the mix.

“Carmel needs a great location for empty-nester housing,” he said, citing baby boomers’ preference for low-maintenance, main-floor living that is convenient to medical facilities, shopping and cultural amenities.

Home prices likely will start in the $350,000 to $450,000 range, Moffett said.

He expects to have an initial site plan assembled by mid-July to begin the rezoning process. The golf course property is zoned for low-density residential uses.

It’s too soon to put a price tag on the project, said Andrew Greenwood, an Old Town Development partner, but he acknowledged the property was “highly sought-after.”

Indeed, development is heating up in the area. As IBJ reported last month, local developer Pittman Partners and multifamily specialist Barrett & Stokely Inc. are planning a $35 million apartment community to the east across Westfield Boulevard, and M/I Homes is proposing a 43-lot neighborhood for empty nesters to the west, on the other side of the Monon.

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