Carmel city leaders working to secure $60 million development downtown

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CARMEL, Ind. (June 8, 2015) – In downtown Carmel, eye-catching attractions are a part of the philosophy.

“It’s a lot of fun to be here,” Gaby Melendez said. “There’s a lot of things to do.”

Marketed as the city to both live and work in, city leaders have been quietly negotiating behind the scenes to build another complex where residents can do both.

“It will grow more population and people can keep coming in,” Marie Lopez said.

A $60 million proposal would wipe away the old and vacant Party Time Rental facility, near city hall, which the city now owns. The 6.5 acres would fill with apartments, businesses, restaurants and offices.

“The city will have a substantial investment of several million dollars in the project,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said.

Brainard has been working with the city’s Redevelopment Commission and the proposed developer, Anderson Birkla.

The city would commit to returning some of the tax revenue to the developer to improve infrastructure and sell the property way below the market rate.

Critics have long questioned this approach.

But Brainard said the only way to ensure the city receives what it wants is to invest public money, projected between $9 million and $10 million.

“It’s important for the city to take a stand and say wait a minute,” he said. “We want to see development that pays its way, not only pays its way but makes up for some of the areas that don’t.”

The project would act as the southern-most post downtown, connecting a long line of development, from City Hall to Midtown to the Arts District.

“Well it is a major eyesore, and it’s one of the major corners as one enters downtown Carmel,” Brainard said.

The mayor hopes to have a final deal within the next few weeks to get the proposal before the full city council this summer.

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