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Canal Pointe Project One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality

The Broad Ripple village is not exactly known for its high-end rental market. On the single-family residential side, there are smaller rental homes, most of which are short on space and lacking in modern upgrades, even though they don’t come cheap. On the multifamily side there are moderately-priced apartments, none of which would qualify as high-end in terms of construction and amenities. If everything goes right, that may soon be changing.

Canal Pointe is an apartments-and-grocery project that would breathe new life into the north side of the canal, with the addition of as many as 120 high-end apartments and a 33,000 square-foot Whole Foods market on the ground floor. Rents for the 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments are expected to range from $700 to $1,200. “Townhome” style units will also be available on the Carrollton Avenue side.

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The project took a big step towards becoming a reality when the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission approved a request to rezone a 2-acre parcel of land on the north side of the canal.

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James Browning serves as Vice President of Real Estate Development for Browning Investments, Inc. In a recent interview with FunCityFinder he said, “My own personal perception of this…what will happen is there will be further development on the north side of the canal, so we’ll be the catalyst to make that happen. And I think at the end of the day, what we’d like to see, and what lots of people would like to see, is something that really engages the canal, and involves more and more businesses along the north side of the canal.”

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But financial obstacles remain. Browning explains, “It’s no secret we’ve asked for economic development assistance. This is what I call an ‘urban infil’ project. It’s not like going out to a suburb and building on a cornfield. We’re in a flood plain, we need a parking garage, and so frankly to make the project happen economic development assistance is required.”

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Whether the economic development assistance comes through remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure: Anything is better than an abandoned gas station. Opponents to the project are generally resistant to new construction, particularly anything over 2 stories. There is a feeling that new development somehow undermines the historic, village quality that makes Broad Ripple such a distinctive area. The counter argument is that this only adds to that history, not takes away from it.

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I personally think this will make an outstanding addition to the Broad Ripple village. It hard to argue with the positive impact it will bring, both economically and demographically. It’s hard to argue that it does not represent a better utilization of the north side of the canal. It’s hard to argue that it is unlikely to spur new business. And it’s hard to argue that it does not fill an unmet demand for high-end rental units.

It may take another 3-4 months to know for sure whether the project will become a reality. Here’s to an infusion of new life in Broad Ripple, hopefully in the near future.