The past year, civic boosters have cheered new infill development occurring in the city. Noteworthy among these developments, are 2 that I would like to focus on here. The first being the multi-use parking structure in Broad Ripple, something we have reported on heavily in the past, and the second being the new Block 400 project located in the NW quadrant of downtown Indianapolis’ CBD (core business district).
Broad Ripple’s structure has been raked over the coals multiple times at this blog as well as other local blogs about it’s cost, necessity and location. While those are valid topics of discussion, the bottom line for this story is that the structure represents 350 spaces for $6 million.
The block 400 Project is an infill project that will be replacing an existing surface parking lot with 487 apartments, a grocery store anchored by Marsh and additional commercial retail space available along Michigan Street. When announced, the project details indicated that the city would be backing the costs of a 930 space parking structure to be placed at the intersection of Illinois and New York Street; to make up for the parking spaces being taken away from the surface lots for One America employees. The dollar figure cited ranged from $11-$13 million.
This week, the initial step of Block 400, the aforementioned parking garage, is up for approval through the MDC regional center hearing examiner. With the exception of a couple of minor requests from the examiner, the garage appears to be headed for a green light. The IBJ is reporting the financial impact to be $13 million.
From an urbanist’s perspective, this thing is horrendous. It devours half of an entire city block of the CBD, soars 5 stories into the air and is comprised of design ques taken from the One America Tower; itself an uninspiring and ground level activity deflating structure. What’s more, this structure will stretch from New York St on the south side, to Vermont Ave on the north side, totally decimating any chance of activating either Illinois or Vermont Street.
It strikes me as odd that our city’s administration props up the concept of connectivity as one of the core principals behind infrastructure investment, and yet it chooses to invest our tax dollars in a mammoth structure that defeats the concepts of walking and biking and takes an entire city block worth of frontage to do so.
The bottom line here is that with the Broad Ripple multi-use structure and the Block 400 parking structure, our city has now committed $19 million of taxpayer money to structured parking which could be invested in numerous other projects with a higher social return on investment such as our underperforming park space, the Downtown Indianapolis Streetcar Corp starter route , or any other number of projects that don’t encourage more driving in a city and state already over the belt line in the obesity department.
These are the facts folks. Digest them as you will.
Editor’s Note: Design was delayed on 5/24. Developer has until June 14th now to resubmit a design that is more inviting to pedestrians – See story at the IBJ.