Changing scenery

Project Harmony introduces the possibility of blending city retailers, rural land in Westfield

 

The breezes whistling through the 277 acres of grass and empty earth may be muffled by the bouncing of basketballs dribbled by children, the chatter of empty nesters strolling on sidewalks and a sound most unfamiliar to the 136th Street and Ditch Road acreage: The busyness of business.

Landowner Jeff Farmer and Project Manager Brian Stumpfintroduced a new multidevelopment project to Westfield City Council two weeks ago, a project they believe would harmonize residential living and retail. Harmony is the project that could quickly evolve rural land to city-like living.

Stumpf said the project focuses on generational living, a destination that welcomes young families with a design that accommodates empty nesters. Stumpf said the project doesn’t end at residents’ doorsteps. The development’s design opens its doors to retailers such as restaurants and dental offices.

“Most of the time with mixed-use residential developments goes, the rooftops go in first and then retail happens, it’s exciting because the commercial demand is already there,” Stumpf said. “It’s not build it they will come, the commercial demand for that are is high without homes and it develops the tax base.”

Home prices:

  • Average home price- $350,000
  • Price range- $215,000 to $500,000
  • Home square footage:
  • Range from 1600 square feet to 3500 square feet
  • Lot sizes:
  • Range from 42 square feet to 80 square feet

Apartment complex:

  • House 260 units in a three-story building

Councilman Rob Stokes said Harmony could be a benefit to both cities, Westfield and Carmel.

“The revenue from retail could help our tax base; its proximity to Carmel could be advantageous to businesses to get more consumers,” Stokes said.

Stokes

Stokes said the development doesn’t fit the city’s comprehensive plan for the area, which lists the property as a fit for single-family dwelling homes. The land already includes water and sewer lines as part of the comprehensive plan’s projections for the area.

“Going back to the original comprehensive plan written in 2007, retail didn’t fall in the plan that was written,” Stokes said. “But, the area has taken on a different complexion during the years, and depending on the public’s response, it could be used for more than residential housing,” Stokes said.

According to Stumpf, the 146th Street construction area is getting a facelift, as part of U.S. 31’s Major Moves Project, 146th Street will make the streetwider than 465 to Allisonville Road.

“The magnitude of the road will not be a fit for single-family detached homes, homeowners aren’t going to go against the street like that,” Stumpf said. “What makes sense is to use that corner as commercial: it meets demands and the businesses will be a buffer toapartments behind retailers as the land begins to transition the land use to single family homes.”

Stokes said he’s waiting to hear from the public about the projectat the Advisory Plan Commission meeting on May 9 before he makes a decision about the development, and addresses his concern about Harmony.

“The area is zoned to allot 1 acre of land per home, so I’m a little concerned about the quantity of high-density housing included in the project,” Stokes said. “I want to know more about what the materials will be like for the development. It hasgood potential, but I want to hear the public’s input and the APC’s recommendation.”