Date: February 10 – 15, 2019
Location: Irvington, Indianapolis, IN
Sponsor: City of Indianapolis, Department of Metropolitan Development
Subject Area: Transit-oriented development, neighborhood-scale redevelopment
Panel Chair: Alan Razak, AthenianRazak, Philadelphia, PA
Background and Panel Assignment
Irvington is a well-established neighborhood to the east of downtown Indianapolis. Over the next several years, a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) line will be constructed along Washington Street, Irvington’s main commercial corridor. This presents the opportunity to look at the potential for transit-oriented development around proposed BRT stations. The sponsor approached ULI to conduct an Advisory Services Panel to provide strategic recommendations on approaches to redevelopment of two sites near a proposed station at Irvington Plaza. The panel was also asked to provide recommendations on multimodal connectivity at these sites and in the surrounding community.
Summary of Recommendations
After briefings from the sponsor committee, a tour of the study area and more than 65 stakeholder interviews, the panel came up with the following key strategic recommendations addressing the Sponsor’s questions:
With some assistance from the city, there is a feasible market for development at the sites in and around Irvington Plaza and the project area is big enough to have an impact on the area submarket.
The Irvington Plaza sites have the potential to become the gathering place Irvington needs, surrounded by a new neighborhood that is knitted back into the fabric of the surrounding community.
The portion of the Ford site identified by the sponsor for this panel to the south of Irvington Plaza and the Pennsy Trail could accommodate amenity recreational uses.
The plan presented by the panel is a suggestion not a prescription. It was designed to provide flexibility of the built forms and speed of execution. In any iteration, the panel encourages the City to these embrace key attributes included in the plan:
- Include a central plaza that creates a sense of place, capable of hosting year-round uses
- Celebrate the plaza by signifying it with a special iconic gesture at the Irvington Plaza BRT station
- Reconnect the neighborhood by extending the adjacent street grid into and through the site
- Emphasize walkability and diversity of uses
- Extend the Washington Street commercial corridor to the plaza by encouraging zero-lot-line commercial development and extending streetscaping to the plaza
- Reinforce the Pennsy Trail so it can play a prominent recreational role in the community and Indianapolis. Complete it in the places where it currently stops and connect it in a clear way to its companion trails
- Make a serious commitment to the personnel and resources that will be required over an extended period to make this project happen
- Plan and implement a robust community engagement program from start to finish.
- If the City takes the once-standard role of master developer promises many benefits including flexibility in timing and financing and the ability to engage developers, builders and other industry players of a broad range of sizes which could lead to a natural diversity of architecture, configuration and building types, just like a normal neighborhood.