NewsPublic AffairsGovernment / October 16, 2013

Controversial Broad Ripple Mixed-Use Project Gets Green Light

Sam Klemet
Controversial Broad Ripple Mixed-Use Project Gets Green Light

A roughly $25 million dollar project in Broad Ripple is moving forward despite some strong opposition.

The mixed-use development will have residential and retail space, including a Whole Foods grocery store.

After delaying a decision several times to further study designs and traffic impact, The Metropolitan Development Commission voted 5-2 to approve a rezoning request for the project to get underway.

"This is a vital piece of urban renewal and economic development that will aid the entire area and that, quite frankly, has aspects down the road to assist in the urban renewal and redevelopment in many areas," said Councilor Will Gooden.

However, Broad Ripple business owner Laurel Gilchrest thinks it hurts small businesses and goes against the foundation of the Broad Ripple community.

"Local businesses are small and they represent a village," she said.  "Contrast that to a 35,000 square foot, anchor superstore, with a 90-foot apartment building, and a parking garage.  To put the size into perspective, what they are suggesting is the same size as the federal building downtown."

One business that has been vocal about its opposition to the project since the early stages is Good Earth Grocery Store.   President Rudy Nehrling says having a large chain such as Whole Foods is detrimental to local business.

"This project will do nothing but take business and money from the local shops and restaurants that have built Broad Ripple and put that money in Texas where Whole Foods is based," he said.  "That doesn't help Indianapolis."

Jason Scimia who represents the developer Browning Investment says that is not a fair representation of the project.

"The proposed Whole Foods site is one sixth the size of a typical big box retailer," he said.  "To suggest to you that we are introducing big-box retail in Broad Ripple is simply not true and misleading."

The development is going up along College Avenue on the former Shell gas station site.

The project now goes to the City County Council for a final vote.



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