Developer attempts to purchase houses to construct $1B hospital in Carmel

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Developers hoping to build a $1 billion medical complex at 96th Street and Spring Mill Road are making offers for homes for 40 percent more than fair market value.

Ambrose Property Group and Bremner Real Estate are teaming to acquire property to build a hospital, according to a letter sent to homeowners. The medical group isn’t identified and the developers have declined to elaborate on their plans for the project with the media.

“We are engaged by a major health system to plan, develop and construct a large inpatient hospital, supporting medical office buildings and parking structures,” James D. Bremner, partner at Ambrose Bremner Healthcare LLC, states in the letter. “The new medical campus will enable our client to provide service excellence and innovative care for the surrounding communities.”

The developer is attempting to buy 13 homes in the Lacoma Estates neighborhood. These homes are described in the letter as “worthy of acquisition to complement our project but not absolutely necessary, however, to accommodate our plans due to possible future growth needs it would be prudent to purchase your home,” Bremner states.

A meeting was held Feb. 15 at the Drury Inn on Meridian Street to review the plan.

The first public hearing would likely be April 17 and the first reading of the proposed plan with the city council would be in August at City Hall.

“In addition, our planning staff and Plan Commission will give this project careful consideration, listening to the concerns of other property owners in the area, as they do for all projects coming through the planning and zoning process in Carmel,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said.

Some neighbors have speculated that St. Vincent Health is behind the project but nothing is confirmed. Some of that is based on the fact that St. Vincent has a master lease for the Parkwood West building, which is owned by Ambrose Property Group and is near the proposed project. Ambrose paid $47.8 million for that building plus 14 acres of adjacent undeveloped land in late 2016.

Lynda Cook, who lives on Copley Place with her husband, David, and their adult child, said they have no plans to sell their house. She said they are considering the options but likely won’t make any decision by the suggested March 1 deadline. She said they love their house and receiving the letter was very distressing.

“I’m feeling stressed and bulldozed,” she said.

She said she knows the letter states that the houses aren’t essential to build the project, but she wonders if their property value will drop if they don’t sell because it would back up to the hospital. She said they could stay put if they decide the development won’t be a burden to their house. She said holding out for more money won’t be a factor in their decision.

Brainard said his staff will review any proposal but that this project would require a rezone, which means it would be sent to the Carmel Plan Commission first. The commission would make a recommendation to the Carmel City Council for final approval.

“The proposed development is planned on a key piece of real estate located near our interstate highway and Meridian Street Corridor, which places it in a prime location for commercial development,” Brainard said. “Therefore, I wanted to ensure that we would not lose out on revenue for Carmel taxpayers and required that any company or entity planning a project there would pay taxes, or make payments in lieu of taxes.”


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