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Broad Ripple Parking Garage Moves Forward

Broad Ripple Parking Structure Rendering (image source: City press release)

Broad Ripple Parking Structure Rendering (image source: City press release)

Last week, the Mayor’s Office announced that they had selected a winning proposal for a parking garage to be located in the Broad Ripple Village. The garage was hinted at when the parking meter lease was closed although details were very fuzzy at that point in time. Before I dive into an analysis, here are some basics according to the press release from the city:

Mayor Greg Ballard today announced the City’s selection of a developer and operator of a new mixed-use Broad Ripple parking development located on the lot at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue.  The parking garage will contain about 350 parking spaces. The first floor will feature retail space as well as a police substation provided free of charge to the City.

“Broad Ripple Village has long needed a garage of this magnitude to alleviate parking issues and allow for implementation of a residential parking permit system on neighborhood streets,” said Mayor Ballard. “Visitors to the Broad Ripple area will have a safe, secure, well-lit area to park their cars, while residents and their guests will more easily be able to find on-street parking near their homes.”

The total cost of the project is about $15 million, $6.35 million of which will be provided by the City of Indianapolis from the upfront payment in the parking meter proceeds, which must be used to fund infrastructure projects in the Downtown, Mass Ave and Broad Ripple areas.  The project will not receive a tax abatement and is expected to generate about $350,000 in property taxes per year.  The developer and operator, selected through an RFP process, is a partnership between Newpoint Parking, Keystone Construction, Ratio Architects and Walker Parking Consultants.

Contained in those two paragraphs are everything that defines the project as it stands. A new structure is going up, it will contain retail and a police station and a neighborhood permit program will be put into service. Urban Indy has spent plenty of keystrokes fighting the lease of the parking meters as well as the concept of a parking structure in the village. Kevin had a really great post earlier this year examining the need for more density in the village. Within that post, was a map highlighting the large number of surface parking located within the village that could possibly someday be used for useful purposes besides automobile parking given that a parking structure such as the one announced were to come to fruition.

Broad Ripple Parking (image credit: Kevin Kastner)

Broad Ripple Parking (image credit: Kevin Kastner)

So what happens next? This structure will begin to take shape this summer with completion coming sometime next year. While final design plans are not available, I would assume that some sort of streetscaping features as well as an improved crosswalk and perhaps a transit stop will be included with the final built form.

Looking further into the future, it would be nice to see some of the parking space that Kevin pointed out, be converted to some sort of other useful purpose such as infill development. A big factor in how the future of the village will develop is still being worked out with input sought from the Envision Broad Ripple meetings of the past couple years. The finished product from that process will be a new Neighborhood Village classification using form based codes as the guiding principal. According to volunteer director of the BRVA, and frequent Urban Indy reader Tom Healy,

“We’re working closely w/ DMD staff on a new zoning category called Neighborhood Village that will enshrine form-based code as a guiding principle. The new code is still in development but the community has been able to introduce components of it in several initiatives like the Broad Ripple Avenue repaving project, the recently proposed Midtown Redevelopment Area, and of special note given today’s announcement, the crafting of the Request for Qualifications for the mixed use parking structure.”

Site of future garage as of 6/24/2011 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

Site of future garage as of 6/24/2011 (image credit: Curt Ailes)

If all goes as planned, it would be nice to see these new codes put into service soon. I know that some recently proposed projects that were subjected to regulatory review were held to some of the standards being developed. Additionally, a circulator to reduce visitor’s need for a car would be a step in the right direction in helping to reduce parking requirements. Long term, and if you are a frequent reader and know my thoughts, a modern light rail system traversing the village would go even further towards reducing visitor’s need for automobiles altogether. However, a vision for that could be much further off.

College Ave crossing; will this be upgraded? (image credit: Curt Ailes)

College Ave crossing; will this be upgraded? (image credit: Curt Ailes)

In conclusion, I think I speak for many when I say it is sad to see land being used for parking garages. At least retail space has been preserved and a brownfield is being re-mediated where the new garage will be located. According to a developing Village Master Plan, increasing the density of residents in the village is a key long term goal towards building a stronger case for Broad Ripple rail transit. In that regard, it would be inspiring to see mixed-use apartments or condos going up on this site instead of more space for cars. Moreover, it would be nice to see increased transit options put in place via Indyconnect’s proposal that would decrease visitor’s need for automobiles, and thus the need for unsightly parking garages. I know that Tom shares my desires and he says as much,

“Don’t for a minute think this one structure will solve all of Broad Ripple’s parking dilemmas. But it’s an important step in the right direction. We still encourage our patrons, employees, clients and neighbors to bike, walk, ride IndyGo, carpool or take a cab when they visit the Village. If we have our way one day we’ll see the trolley return to College Ave.!”

I hope that for the sake of the future of Broad Ripple that this garage stimulates the trend of taking existing village surface parking and developing it into better uses, and that longer term, the garage can be looked back upon as a key moment in building a case for rail transit.

20 Responses to “ “Broad Ripple Parking Garage Moves Forward”

  1. JP says:

    I agree that mixed use apartments or condos would be better for this prime location. However, I was somewhat intrigued by the fact that one of the proposed locations was the area behind the Vogue. I would like to see mixed use apartments go up there.

    I have recently heard something about the promenade plan near the Canal (according to IBJ currently supported through private fundraising). I wonder if this can be somehow incorporated in with this project (to reduce construction costs). The city doesn’t necessarily have any funds dedicated to do this, but it might be of interest to them. It could spur new development.

  2. Matt Stone says:

    This parking garage is a complete scam operation, plain and simple.

    Pat Andrews (http://hadenoughindy.blogspot.com/2011/06/are-taxpayer-dollars-being-flagrantly.html) delved into old documents from a 2007 study, ironically done by some of the same contractors who are working on the current proposal. They concluded that a new parking structure would cost about $5 million. Pat dug up some stats about the rising cost in construction and pegged an estimate at 6.5 million, yet we’re being told this structure is going to cost $15 million. And the recently completed Ivy Tech parking structure with 4 levels and 500 spaces cost $7 million.

    I know the purpose of this site isn’t to delve into the “politics” of these deals, but if you’ve ever wondered why public transit (among other things) are always getting shafted as far as funding goes, it’s because we piss away money to politically connected contractors so there’s nothing left for IndyGo, the library, etc…

  3. Curt Ailes says:

    Yeah, the costs dont add up. In all of my education, which is limited to experts and people who do this for a living, an easy estimate of cost is $20k per parking space. With 350 spaces, that comes to $7 million for this garage. Its difficult to figure out how much more is sunk with the commercial space and a police station but with all the information we have, that has to be the source for the additional cost of this structure.
    .
    It would be a total failure if a corporate giant like Walgreens or CVS were allowed to provide “free” parking to it’s customers. It would make me feel a little better if that happened and it was noted publicly that Walgreens or CVS were paying for this space. No need for taxpayers to subsidize a corporate retail giant’s additional parking needs. They make enough money to do that themselves apparently based on their expansion plans in Central indiana.

  4. Brad says:

    This deal sticks from the head down,the Mayor was told not to build it at this location. It was recommended it be built behind the Vogue.One of the Mayors best buddies owns the property where the new garage is being built

    Not only that but ca you see 300 drunks trying to get across Collage ave at 3:00 in the morning,very bad idea,but the Mayors friends make money, so it’s OK..ow you still think its a good idea?

    • Curt Ailes says:

      The information that I have suggests that the owner of the parking lot behind the vogue is uninterested in contributing to the vibrance of the village, and thus would likely charge even more for such a structure than if it were located where it was placed.
      .
      I also saw renderings for the parking structure were it to be located on the lot of the old Shell station north of the canal on College Ave. It would have required the demolition of some of the apartments and likely cost a lot more. However, this is just me spitballing so I dont know where all that talk landed.

      • Curt, if the property is acquired in eminent domain, which it could have been, he doesn’t have a choice how much he gets paid. Not suggesting that…just pointing it out.

  5. JP says:

    It’s hard to discuss numbers or any wrongdoing without all the facts. I’ve read Ogden’s blog analysis, and it’s very simplistic. However, I would like for the city government to be more transparent, especially when they chose the bidder that had very cozy relationship with the mayor’s office (e.g. mayor’s former chief of staff now works for Keystone Construction).

    My bigger concern is how our mayor is using the money received from what basically accounts to sale of assets, but that’s a whole different topic. There is not a lot of things that I can say with certainty, but I can guarantee you one thing, he will spend it all before his term is up :)

    • I always try to keep things “simple.” :) Really the blogger you want to read on this subject is Pat Andrews of Had Enough Indy as well as Kara Kenney’s reports on WRTV. When someone like Pat is writing on a subject of this type I usually defer to her knowledge and analysis.

    • Brad says:

      When it comes to anything that the mayor does you will not get the full facts. The ACS deal is pure proof of that.The Mayor is using city funds to make his friends rich. that is the bottom line. North South, ACS, Etc.

  6. Gabe says:

    I don’t see how this is a step in the right direction. Using public funds to subsidize below-market parking distorts parking markets and guts the incentives associated with transit use. Keep doling out cheap parking and no one will ever want transit. What a country. Only the sick can afford to get rich or educate their children, but the government will always pay to make sure you can park where ever you damn well please.

  7. Joe says:

    Did anyone notice the car on the left side of the rendering has pulled up into the crosswalk at a red light. Sorry, it’s been a long day at work, but it goes to show some instilled priorities.

  8. ryan says:

    i wonder if some of the extra cost (using the 7 million figure as a base) is for the purchase of the marco’s pizza site as well as environmental remediation? i can’t imagine that is cheap with the decades of oil/gas on the grounds.

  9. Potter says:

    Great, now 1,000 drunks all trying to cross collage at three in the morning…? Really,?

  10. Matt Stone says:

    Potter makes a great point. The area at Bripple Ave/Winthrop and College is already a congested traffic stop. Adding 300 cars to the area that were previously spread out throughout other lots and the neighborhoods could make it much worse.

    Ryan, from what I gather, the Marathon and Marcos land is all owned by one person, meaning Marcos is renting or leasing or something like that. It’s valued at $889,000 by the assessor, which is up from it’s past couple years even though most of the lot is vacant.

    Unfortunately, the city has denied open records requests for the exact breakdown in figures citing some BS exception in the Open Records Laws about “trade secrets”

  11. Interesting discussion. However, I’m going to let others discuss the politics behind the garage, instead focusing on the potential impact of the development:

    - I still hate parking garages, but they are less offensive to me than asphalt lots.
    - Encouraging inebriated people to park in one location could be a big problem…but it would make it easy for police to do some random Breathalyzer checks. I might tackle our insane zoning laws which encourage car parking for bars at a later time.
    -If other lot owners are not encouraged to sell their lots for infill development, I will consider this garage at least a bit of a failure.
    -Letting the citizens who live in Broad Ripple apply for parking permits would be a positive for the neighborhood.
    -Question: Will there be bicycle parking and a prominent bus stop installed?
    -As for pedestrians crossing College Avenue, I hope they install a scramble light.
    These are the questions and comments which come to mind at this moment.

  12. Curt Ailes says:

    I honestly dont mind that drunk people will be walking to and from a garage. Im really indifferent to the issue, but if it keeps people out of the church parking lots and people’s front yards then it is overall, a good measure for property & business owners of the neighborhood. It is hardly a top tier issue related to this garage. Overall, the potential benefits outweight the negatives in that regard.
    .
    I am a little curious how the price was allowed to become so inflated. It will be interesting to see if Tom chimes in on this one for a bit of insight, or if the documentation eventually sees the light of day.
    .
    Otherwise, you all know my stance. I feel like this thing could have avoided altogether with premium transit service being provided, but that is a bigger issue outside of what the village can handle on it’s own. Left to tackle it’s own issues, this seems to be a livable mid-term solution.

    • Chris Barnett says:

      Amen: how much could it have cost to lease the big Glendale “outlot” on Rural and run shuttle-bus service four-six times an hour on a loop from there to College & Broad Ripple and back? Couldn’t that kind of a deal have been more self-supporting?

  13. Matt Stone says:

    Chris, according to the study that I linked to, Broad Ripple only really has a parking problem in a few sectors at the hours of 11pm-3am or so on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We don’t even need shuttle service running constantly, just during those hours and on those days, and possibly during special events such as concerts at the Vogue.

  14. Ryan Gallagher says:

    What are the opportunities presented for infill development as a result of this garage? There is the parking lot across from MacDonald’s next to Three Wise Men where some street side development could occur but I don’t really see that happening. There is also the lot behind the Vogue but as it is surrounded on all sides I don’t know what that could become so I don’t see that changing, either. Are businesses (CVS, the Vogue, the strip mall with Shalimar…ect) willing to trade their street level parking for a garage down the block? How, other than the on-site improvements, does this garage change the outlook of Broadripple?
    Of course, I am just playing devil’s advocate, here. While I have mixed feelings about this garage I like that we are doing something with the space. And I want to say that I hope we take this future transit stop language seriously and hope that this is not just empty rhetoric to silence some vocal critics.

  15. JP says:

    Not related to the new garage, but Barley Island Restaurant & Brewhouse has closed in Broad Ripple (right across from the new garage). Scholars Inn Bakehouse couldn’t make that corner work either.

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