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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Redevelopment options at east side site include housing, green space and retail space

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Community members on the east side want to bring more employment, add housing options and provide green spaces to the former Black Mountain site on the corner of East Washington and Ewing streets.

The city and its consulting team asked the community what they wanted to see at the former site. Nearly half of the respondents said there needs to be better grocery options and places to eat, especially sit-down restaurants. Many expressed a desire for better pedestrian infrastructure, including improvements to connecting sidewalks and crosswalks, and better lighting in some areas. The few sidewalks that connect to the site are cited as unsafe or uninviting, according to the draft for public comment.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they wanted to see more parks and green spaces in the area. Green spaces are known to enhance youth support, reduce stress and violence, and improve physical and mental health. A green space would provide safer walking conditions.

The site allows for varied redevelopment options. The city has come up with three potential concepts to address the guiding principles that the community wants to see. The concepts include townhome residential space, small retail space, flex industrial space, and temporary or permanent green space.

A flex industrial space is a modern warehouse with taller ceilings, capable of holding modern HVAC equipment, flexible floorplans and more loading docks with wide turning radius for semis.

Scenario A
The first scenario would be the best green infrastructure option to mitigate stormwater and emphasize conservation. Industrial flex space, which is a modern warehouse big enough for several loading docks, would address employment opportunities in the area and be developed on the north end of the site closer to East Washington Street. The rest of the land, approximately four acres, would be converted to a green space. The green space would need financial support or maintenance from the owner, according to an Indy Civic Comment online document.
Details:
• 20,000 square feet of flex industrial space
• 5,000 square feet of office space
• 24-foot ceilings
• Approximately four acres of green space
• Cost: Approximately $10 million

Scenario B
The second scenario would be a mix of constructed materials and green space. This plan would develop multifamily housing and commercial space at the north end of the site. An industrial flex space would be developed at the south end of the site with green space in between. The green space would need financial support of maintenance from the owner. This scenario would address employment opportunities, mixed-income housing and green space.
Details: 
• 70 housing units
• 3,000 square feet of commercial space
• Approximately four acres of green space
• 20,000 square feet of flex industrial space
• 5,000 square feet of office space
• 24-foot ceilings
• Cost: Approximately $26 million

Scenario C
This scenario would include maximizing the use of the land as allowed by zoning requirements. This plan would also develop multifamily housing and commercial space at the north end of the site and flex industrial space at the south end of the site. The middle portion would be used as an interim green space until future development. This scenario would address employment opportunities, mixed-income housing and temporary green space.
Details: 
• 70 housing units
• 3,000 square feet commercial space
• Approximately four acres of green space
• 20,000 square feet of flex industrial space
• 5,000 square feet of office space
• 24-foot ceilings
• Cost: Approximately $26 million
A final draft of the community vision project is available for comment until Nov. 25. Comments can be made directly on the public draft document at indy.civiccomment.org.

Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett at 317-762- 7847 or by email jaydenk@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.

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