This document includes 1) Notes from the Nov 15 Community Meeting re: the Coal Factory redevelopment and 2) Additional facts on the the Coal Factory development.
Notes from 11/15/2016 Community Meeting Regarding Coal Factory Development
Irvington Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall, 55 Johnson Avenue, Indianapolis, IN
Presenters: Jarod Brown and Antone Najem, Third Street Ventures; Craig McCormick, Blackline Studios
- Jarod thanked everyone for attending. “We’re working diligently to create a property that everyone can be happy with.”
- Jarod acknowledged previously mentioned neighbor concerns, including parking, population density, lighting, and screening. With those concerns in mind, Third Street is revisting and reworking the proposed plans.
- Regarding the process for gaining the necessary approvals through IHPC, Jarod noted that only the zoning variance has been approved. IHPC will hear additional items in January or later if necessary. (Update: the IHPC will hear the petition February1, 2017.)
- Third Street has submitted the application for the Section 42 Tax Credits through Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA). They applied for this funding to open up the most sources of funding to produce the best-quality product. Awards will be announced in late February.
- If that funding is denied, Third Street does intend to explore going forward with the development. There are other potential sources of funding.
- In regard to the number of units on the property, there are some requirements attached to the tax credit funding, with some wiggle room. Third Street would need to stay close to the proposal they submitted to IHCDA, so likely the property would end up with 45-55 units.
- In regard to the brownfield issues on the property, John Mundell of Mundell & Associates confirmed that he has conducted an environmental assessment and determined that the property may be appropriate for residential with some remediation, but that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has the final say. Antone confirmed that Third Street is working hand in hand with state agencies to meet or exceed their requirements.
- A neighbor asked about asbestos that might be on the property and how the development team would handle it. Third Street assured neighbors that if the assessment shows that there is asbestos on the property, they will hire the appropriate professional services to mitigate it properly in accordance with regulations.
- Craig McCormick acknowledged neighbors’ concerns about the timing issue regarding the zoning variance. He explained that it was necessary to obtain approval to rezone the property because the application for tax credits from IHCDA required it.
- Craig presented a proposed site design, created with neighbors’ concerns in mind. The new design includes 45 residential units, commercial space, additional parking (90 spaces onsite; 10’ x 20’), and oversized drive aisles to accommodate delivery trucks. Third Street and Blackline are also looking into installing a bioswale (similar to a rain garden) in place of the previously proposed retention pond. They’re also looking into the potential for some type of community garden space. With this proposal, no parking variance is required.
- Depending on funding, the market, and other factors, the residential space would include mostly 1-bedroom apartments, some studios, and possibly some 2-bedroom apartments.
- The developers have not yet engaged a civil engineer, so some matters regarding the site can’t be answered at this time.
- In regard to neighbors’ concerns about the existing drainage issues, the developers expect their efforts to improve the drainage issues throughout the area.
- Current neighbors report issues with water pressure. As required for any new development, they will have pressure testing done before construction. The developers mentioned that tap fees will cost approximately $2,300 per unit.
- The tax credits program caps the tenants’ income at approximately $28,000 per year for a single resident. If two people reside in a unit, the income cap is raised to about $36,000 per year combined.
- The rent per unit will be close to the current market rate in the area. Size of the units is to be determined, but rent for a studio apartment is expected to be approximately $300 and a 2-bedroom apartment would rent for somewhere near $600.
- Jewel, a resident of the Lofts, spoke. She works for a not-for-profit in Irvington, and helps people with disabilities. She sometimes tries to place clients in the Lofts. She likes living in the Lofts. Speaking to neighbors’ concerns about income caps residents of the proposed development, she stated, “Just because someone makes a lower income doesn’t make them a lower-quality person.”
- An attendee commented that there were already too many affordable apartments in Irvington. Margaret reported that the only other apartments in Irv with any government subsidy were the Lofts and the Mission Apartments. All the other apartment buildings in the neighborhood are considered market rate, which means they charge as much rent as the market is willing to pay.
- The developers are still considering feedback regarding the architectural style of the development and will present two options at the next meeting. IHPC discourages designs that mimic older styles. They support architecture that is the best of its era and push developers to raise the standards of new construction. Also, the architect is considering making the ground floor units open directly to the outside of the building.
- Developers are still working out the details of what type of privacy screening and landscaping the property will include. An 8-foot-privacy fence was requested by a neighbor.
- The site contains serious and costly infrastructure drainage issues. The tax credits are a preferred financing mechanism because they can lower the cost of financing so that developers can also deliver a high-quality product. They mentioned that these factors impacted the previously proposed development which led to their inability to proceed given their budget.
- Some neighbors again expressed concerns about property values and asked why the developers wouldn’t instead build higher-rent apartments or townhomes. The developers responded that the numbers (cost of construction vs. the rent rates they could charge given the Irvington market) don’t work out for that.
- The developers mentioned that they expect $2 million in expenses to clean up the site, install the utilities, mitigate the drainage issues, and grade and pave the parking lots.
- Neighbors asked about IDO’s financial stake as a co-developer. The response was that it’s too early in the process for a dollar figure of what IDO would earn, but that if IDO proceeded as a co-developer, yes they would receive a fee for their services. Someone else asked how IDO is funded. The response was with fundraisers and memberships and previous fees for professional services (as with the Lofts development). Someone else mentioned kickbacks and a conflict of interest. Someone explained that this is how community development nonprofits are funded; across the nation it’s done this way.
- There was discussion about what types of people might live at the new apartments, such as artists, teachers, and waitresses.
- Another Lofts resident, Diana who is a retiree, spoke. She was the third resident to move into the Lofts when it was completed three years ago. She wanted to live there because she had two home-owning daughters in the neighborhood, and she wanted to be near her grandchildren. She intended to live at the Lofts as long as she could. She said she had not expected to be living on a limited income when she retired, but was very happy to have a quiet, safe, and attractive home.
- There was a request for the property to be beautiful and perhaps include some sort of “Welcome to Irvington” sculpture along the Pennsy. The developers said they are in favor of that idea.
- What is the future of Coal Yard Coffee? Michelle said that she plans to stick with Third Street Ventures, that she trusts them and will continue to talk with them about an opportunity for CYC to be included in this new space.
- Someone asked if credit checks and background checks for potential residents will be conducted, and the answer is yes, an extensive background, including criminal, was done before anyone could lease an apartment.
- Is there a demand for affordable income housing? Yes. There’s a long waiting list for the Lofts without any advertising or marketing. Many of the Lofts residents work in Irvington businesses making it desirable.
December 6, 2016
at the Irvington United Methodist Church,
30 N. Audubon Rd.
Irvington Development Organization and the Coal Factory Development Fact Sheet
On Monday, October 24, 2016, the board of the Irvington Development Organization (IDO) – made up of neighbors like you – voted unanimously to approve a resolution to join Third Street Ventures LLC (Third Street) as co-developers of the Coal Factory property at 5543 Bonna Avenue. This is in keeping with IDO’s mission to promote positive growth and development in Irvington. To explain the reasoning and the history of events so far, here’s some background and a summary of events:
- The current Coal Factory plan is, unfortunately, not going to happen. The current owner Irvington Brewing Real Estate LLC (IBRE) faces expenses nearly double the original budget. This is due to unexpected complications developing the property, installing utilities, etc. IBRE has agreed to sell the property to Third Street.
- The plan put forth by our co-developer, Third Street, proposes a be mixed-use development: apartment units, limited new commercial space, and some of the existing artisan production and studio uses.
- The proposed development is in line with the Neighborhood Plan, which recommends that this land be developed for residential use. http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DMD/IHPC/Districts/Pages/plans.aspx
- At its October meeting, the Historic Irvington Community Council (HICC) – elected representatives from the neighborhood – voted to support Third Street’s proposal to rezone this area to include residential, with the stated recognition that issues and concerns still needed to be addressed by the developer with the neighbors.
- IDO co-developed the Irvington Lofts apartment complex, at 5855 East Washington Street, with one of the partners in Third Street. The Lofts development has proven to be a successful project, and we believe these same partners have the expertise needed to help the Bonna Avenue project succeed as well.
- The residents of the apartments will have low to moderate incomes compared to the median incomes of the area. That means:
- A single resident can’t make more than about $28,000 a year. That number goes up as the household size increases.
- For comparison purposes, at least 25% of current Irvington neighbors earn incomes comparable to that amount and could qualify to live there.
- Much like your neighbors living at the Lofts, residents of these apartments are likely to include a mix of retirees, local business employees, artists, people working for nonprofits, recent graduates, and others with limited incomes.
- The proposed development meets a need for quality, affordable rental housing in the area. There is up to a two-year waiting list for the Lofts apartments.
- The same company that manages the Irvington Lofts, Mark III Property Management, will also manage the Coal Factory Flats. They manage 12 market rate and affordable properties in Indianapolis. They are a local company with 20 years of experience in apartment management. The criteria for screening and keeping tenants is the same or higher for the affordable apartments. Both screen for criminal, credit, and rental histories. Affordable properties are subject to inspections and audits by HUD and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Mark III reports a very low turnover rate for the Lofts apartments, resulting in the long wait list. When tenants do move out, very little maintenance is needed to prepare them for the next tenant.
- Since the Lofts have been built, a number of additional positive projects have been refurbished or are being developed in the area. The doctors’ office next door was rebuilt and two houses across the street were sold and are being restored. One is now on the market again for $200,000, and the other will soon open as a bakery. The apartments to the east and two across the street were recently sold and are being renovated for market rate units. The Irvington Office building is being converted to market rate apartments. While the apartments were being built, a home immediately to the west of the Lofts was sold within a week for more than the asking price. Far from dampening property values around the Lofts, the construction has helped to spur additional investment and improvements.
- IDO and Third Street recognize that there are concerns about parking near the development. Because we live here too and care about the impact of any changes to the current residents and businesses, we share that concern. We’re committed to finding workable solutions.
- By joining the project, we ensure that Irvington neighbors have a say in the development of this key piece of real estate.
- We’re excited to bring new residents to Irvington! These folks, like you, will help support our neighborhood businesses. IDO’s mission is to lead the charge for positive new growth in Irvington. Providing safe, quality, well-maintained housing opportunities for new residents is key to growing our vibrant, diverse neighborhood.
- The proposed rezoning is to be heard by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on November 2. The application for the tax credits, the funding mechanism to make the apartment rents affordable, is due November 7 with award announcements in late February. The plan is to continue meeting with the neighbors and stakeholders in the interim to refine the design and site layout.
- For more information, contact email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Irvington Development Organization
Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses. To donate to IDO or become a member click here.