Three development proposals could transform the city’s economic growth
Three major developments will be introduced to Westfield’s Advisory Plan Commission monthly meeting on Sept. 4. The multi-million dollar proposals involve commercial investments, retail stores, office space and multi-family housing.
Grand Park Village
The largest development is the proposed 220-acre Grand Park Village, which is estimated by Henke Development Group LLC to bring $217 million in assessed value to the Grand Junction TIF district.
“There’s a lot of interest in economic development,” Steve Henke said, adding that four different groups of hotels have expressed interest in the proposal.
Grand Park Village will feature the creation of a variety of land uses just south of Westfield’s new Grand Park athletic fields, the largest complex of its kind in Indiana. GrandPark is currently under construction west of U.S. 31.
At the heart of the plan is a “lake village,” which, with a boardwalk and a 20-acre lake, would be built at an estimated cost of $30-$35 million. The development’s centerpiece would provide water activities such as kayaking, paddleboats and beach and swimming areas. Surrounding the lake on the boardwalk will be restaurants and shops, offering relaxing views and outdoor entertainment for diners.
“We want to create an entire experience for people coming to town year after year after year,” explained Henke. “The boardwalk and shops on the water are an experience you don’t find around here.”
A trail would be built around the lake for pedestrians and cyclists to use. It also will include a trailhead for those seeking a destination along the Monon Trail and quick access for all visitors and local residents going to and from Grand Park . Henke said two bicycle shops have already expressed interest in locating on the boardwalk.
“It’s a great enhancement of lifestyle recreation,” he said.
Grand Village Park will include restaurants, retail stores, offices, medical buildings, multi-family housing hotels and entertainment options. Because Grand Park will host youth sports tournaments in soccer, baseball, softball and other sports, Henke said parents and players need something to do during the hours in between games.
“This helps to keep people here and allows us to get them to the Grand Junction,” he said.
Land for Grand Village Park is owned by Don Day and his family.
The development of Towne West will feature a mixture of commerce and senior living near146th Street and Towne Road. The 120 acres will include a 50-50 split of retail/general business and multi-family living.
“We’re excited about this opportunity,” said Matt Price, attorney for Paul and Steve Polizzi and John Levinsohn.
Price said the retail area uses included a hospital complex or hospital campus, which may include medical offices, in-patient and out-patient facilities, skilled nursing care and medical-related research facilities. While exact details were not known or announced, Price said the hospital could be a smaller facility similar to the one at 116th Street and U.S. 31 (IU Health North). Price said the multi-family portion would consist of apartments, attached senior living garden homes, assisted living facilities or skilled nursing care.
One problem with the development is access to the complex. Price said the owners are working with the Hamilton County Highway Dept. on creating an access point on 146th Street.
“It would be a right in, right out for the hospital,” he explained. “Decisions are being made with 146th Street on what uses are permitted or permissible on this parcel.”
If the project is not accepted by the county, Price said the developers would be willing to pay for the construction if an agreement for a TIF district or financial assistance can be made with the city.
Price said the development would also look to create a regional intersection sewer service which would include adjoining property owners.
“It would help drive the economy for that intersection,” he said.
Price said the decision and construction of the roundabout could happen in six to eight months or two years. He said completion of the development is three to five years away.
“There’s work in front of us that will take that period of time,” Price said.
Facing the hardest path for approval is the 6.5-acre commercial development on the southeast corner of 161st and Springmill Roads. Jesse Pohlman, attorney on behalf of Cooperstown Partners, said the development, which is located directly across the street from the Kroger grocery, would include a Walgreens store and other tenants.
“Cooperstown believe that its proposed redevelopment of the site provides an appropriate use at the intersection and that the high quality architecture proposed compliments and is compatible with the surrounding commercial and residential areas,” Pohlman said.
Pohlman said the economic impact would be $6.5 million with annual property taxes around $500,000 and local income tax revenues estimated at $44,000 annually. The development would also directly create 90 jobs with a payroll of $4.5 million.
If approved, Pohlman said construction would begin next year.
Approval, however, will come after a lengthy community discussion. Commercial growth on this corner has been controversial in the past and many neighbors fought the construction of the Kroger a few years ago.
“It has a colorful past,” said Robert Stokes. “It’s not a prudent move to develop here. It’s never just a Walgreens. CVS is looking and something follows that. We’re not looking at one corner; we’re looking at the other three.”
“How long are people going to be mad about it?” questioned fellow councilman John Dibbel. “I’m over it. It’s time to let go and yes, CVS will follow.”
Councilman Steve Hoover said the “damage was already done” when Kroger went in.
“We need to come up with a transition between what exists today and the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said. “We can use this opportunity to further develop the intersection and mitigate what was done there six years ago. I want to hear what people have to say about this.”
All three developments are in the form of Planned Unit Developments, which are designed to give developers more leeway to be creative in the way they piece together their master plan for business and/or residential growth. After the public hearing on Sept. 4, the developments are planned to have an Advisory Plan Commission recommendation on Sept. 17 and return to the City Council for adoption consideration on Oct. 8.