Pedcor promises plenty of parking at Carmel City Center

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Carmel City Council is expected to vote Monday on a $20 million tax-backed bond issue that would pay for a parking garage and other public infrastructure for the final phase of the signature Carmel City Center development.

The council’s finance committee voted 3-0 to recommend approval, but not before committee Chairwoman Luci Snyder—considered the swing vote on the full seven-member panel—persuaded developer Pedcor Cos. to strengthen an already-unusual array of project guarantees.

Pedcor CEO Bruce Cordingley hand-delivered a letter at the committee meeting Thursday promising that the Park East garage would be at least four floors and have no fewer than 620 parking spaces, a demand Snyder made to address what she says is an ongoing problem at the mixed-use development.

“There’s not enough parking and never had been,” she said.

When Pedcor proposed the first phase of the City Center project, it planned to build a two-story underground parking garage. But a high water table made two levels cost-prohibitive, and half the spaces failed to materialize.

Snyder considers that a broken promise, and said she would not have supported the new project without a written commitment from Pedcor to provide at least 620 spaces—enough to serve existing tenants and the 575,000 square feet of retail, residential and office space yet to come online.

Previously, the developer had said only that the Park East garage would be three or four stories, have a 470- to 625-vehicle capacity and cost $11 million-$13 million.

Bond proceeds would pay for the garage, an extension of Veterans Way, other streets and walks, and an outdoor gathering area dubbed the Spanish Steps.

Pedcor expects the private investment to total $80 million to $100 million.

To win Snyder's support, Pedcor also commited to several site-plan revisions intended to improve vistas and create more public open space. Cordingley said he’s pleased with the changes. (Extra: Compare the 2013 and 2014 site layouts and check out the original 1997 plan.)

The council’s land-use committee also is reviewing Pedcor’s proposal; its recommendation is expected to come at a special meeting Monday before the council’s 6 p.m. proceedings.

If the bond is approved, Pedcor plans to start construction on the Baldwin and Chambers buildings—finishing out the Range Line Road frontage—by mid-2015. Crews should be moving dirt for four more buildings by the end of next year, Cordingley said, and work on the garage is expected to begin by early 2016.

Garage construction will take about 15 months, he said. City Center buildings typically take about two years.

Work on the under-construction Nash Building on Range Line is scheduled to be complete this month. About half of the 9,000-square-feet of retail space is leased, Carmel Redevelopment Commission Corrie Meyer said in her latest report to council.  The tenant: cooking-supply shop Mondana Kitchen.

Also in City Center: developer Anderson Birkla’s The Mezz/Monon Lofts, a pair of structures on either side of the James Building/Tarkington Theater. The $7.8 million office-and-residential project, which is behind schedule, now is projected to be done in February.

Monon Lofts, located adjacent to the Monon Greenway, lost a tenant because of the delays. Carmel marketing firm Fat Atom switched courses and is in the process of buying a converted residence in the Arts & Design District.

Anderson Birkla is moving its headquarters to The Mezz, along Third Avenue SW.

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