Community hears more on downtown Union Square project


Residents heard a detailed presentation Aug. 21 from Old Town Design Group CEO Justin Moffett about the proposed Union Square mixed-use development south of Ind. 32 and north of Jersey Street.

Moffett  also questions from the crowd.

“The goal tonight is to share high-level detail about a proposed project at the corner down here at 32 and Union,” Moffett said. “We want to share our ideas, get feedback and take questions. We are walking into this knowing it’s the beginning of a process, and we are imagining it to be a collaborative process with the community.”
Moffett gave a brief introduction about other projects Old Town Design Group has been involved with, including Midtown in Carmel, which includes office and retail space, and the Sun King Brewery food hall.

The ordinance for Union Square includes uses for office, retail and multi-family, such as condominiums and apartments. One of the concept plans is to incorporate different architectural standards to create a village-like feel.

“When we looked at moving forward with the possibility of a redevelopment project in downtown Westfield, our desire was to do something adjacent or very near the (Grand Junction Park and Plaza),” Moffett said. “We asked the question of some leaders at the city level of, why isn’t somebody pursing the block immediately north of Grand Junction Plaza?”

City officials informed Old Town Design Group the area’s biggest challenge is the seven or more property owners throughout the entire parcel who all have different needs.

“The response we felt like we heard was, ‘Go for it, let’s see what happens,’” Moffett said.

After approximately a year of working with property owners, Old Town Design Group now has the right to purchase the property it needs.

Moffett asked those in attendance for feedback after his presentation.

“We really are passionate about the idea of creation as a partnership with the community,” Moffett said. “We don’t presume to think we have the best ideas. They’re our ideas and based on experience, but we also like to listen and have a collaborative conversation with stakeholders.”

Concerns included preserving Westfield’s history and historic buildings on the south side of Union Street. Resident Linda Naas said children cherished Westfield Pharmacy at the corner of Ind. 32 and Union Street and would sit at the counter after school and eat candy.

“Are you planning to just destroy that building, move that building, adapt that building Will there be anything left that we will recognize in this area as it is today?” Naas said.

“In the context you said it, no,” Moffett said. “(Westfield Pharmacy) would crumble if we tried to pick it up and move it. If they would like to reinvent within the development plan, we are all for it and we can find a place within the development for them to rebuild. Our understanding is as the (Ind.) 32 (expansion) plan gets built as it’s going to be, the pharmacy gets taken out, anyway.”

Moffett also spoke on the possibility of building a parking garage with the develoment.

“We know we have the responsibility to park our own project, but we don’t believe it’s our responsibility in this development to park the rest of downtown,” Moffett said.

One possibility is to build a parking garage adjacent to the development, possibly to the west between U.S. 31 and the Union Square development, Moffett said.

Moffett said he wants construction to begin by the end of 2020.

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