Proposed development project in downtown Noblesville causes controversy

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – A proposed new development in downtown Noblesville is causing some debate. The $24.3 million mixed-use project would include apartments, retail, space and a parking garage.

The city announced the project on social media, and there are nearly 500 comments so far.  Some business owners  say it will bring much-needed foot traffic, but others say this building will take away from the historic charm.

The first rendering of The Levinson was released on the city’s Facebook page. It would sit on Maple Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets.

“I think all the business owners are excited at the potential of having more foot traffic down here and an opportunity for more people to live in the area is a good thing for business,” said the owner of Noble Coffee & Tea, Mark Littler.

The proposed project includes a four-level parking garage and 73 market-rate and 10 affordable-rate studio apartments with a rooftop deck and contemporary amenities. But some neighbors say contemporary isn’t welcomed there.

“It just looked, it was just too modern looking for me. I just didn’t think it would work down here,” said resident Julie Crask.

The developer says those concerns will be addressed. “I want to make sure as not just a developer but a community member that we get this right and so we’re sensitive to that. I met with the county historian to talk about the history of downtown Noblesville,” said Rebar Development President Shelby Bowen.

Bowen says this is a major growth opportunity. “I believe there’s ways to improve upon what’s here and really maximize the asset of a vibrant downtown. I think people want to live in a place where they can walk to the farmer’s market and walk to federal hill for a concert,” Bowen said .

Some residents are excited about the project and say it will bring new life to downtown. “Everyone loves our downtown and the quaintness of it, but if the merchants don’t continue to have business, then that’ll go away. I think this is going to help it, and I think they’re going to do a good job,” said resident Debbie Wofford.

In a statement a Noblesville city spokesman says:

“We believe the Levinson will attract more residents to support our local merchants, increase opportunities for a nighttime culture and increase public parking capacity, which serves the entire downtown. The 83 apartments provide urban density without over saturation and help fill a need identified from the 2016 Noblesville Housing Analysis with a design that complements the surrounding architecture and adds to our historic charm.”

Noblesville officials and Rebar Development will present The Levinson project to the Noblesville common council during Thursday’s meeting at 7 p.m.

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