GREENFIELD — Art galleries. Lounges. Private music studios.
Those are some of the amenities that would accompany an apartment complex planned for Greenfield’s downtown area. Apartments catering to young artists and entrepreneurs could be built along the Pennsy Trail in Greenfield if the city council on Wednesday approves a request to rezone the land at 210 Center St.
Keller Development, a housing development company out of Fort Wayne, proposes building a 54-unit affordable housing complex at the site of the current Center Street Shoppes, whose storefronts are mostly vacant. Plans call for the buildings that make up what once was a bustling colony of shops two blocks south of Main Street to be torn down to make way for an approximately 2.9-acre housing community targeting artists and entrepreneurs — such as architects, musicians, writers or photographers, officials said.
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The living spaces, called Broadway Flats, would be income-based, and residents must earn 60 percent below the area median income — or no more than about $32,000 annually.
The site would boast two two-story buildings with 38 two-bedroom and 16 one-bedroom apartments. The project carries a $8.5 million price tag, and, if all planning and building stay on track, should be open to new residents within the next two years.
Rent would be between $325 and $625 monthly, depending on the applicant’s income, officials said.
Keller Development plans to apply for state tax credits awarded to companies that offer affordable housing, and city officials say they’d be happy to work with Keller to fill out the application for the incentive. The developers have an agreement to buy the land from Eric and Kris Spicer that is contingent upon receiving the tax credits.
The development fits into city officials’ vision for downtown Greenfield and makes use of the Center Street Shoppes land, located just north of the Pennsy Trail, that has struggled to thrive over the years, they said.
The 12-building complex most recently housed Greenfield’s Dale E. Kuhn American Legion Post 119 and the small eatery, Uncle Monkey’s Picnic. This summer, the Legion vacated the building. Uncle Monkey’s Picnic’s sign still hangs from the building, but the restaurant is no longer open to the public, officials said.
Both the city’s downtown revitalization and comprehensive plans — blueprints for developing downtown and beyond — call for revitalization along the Pennsy Trail.
Though redeveloping Center Street Shoppes isn’t specifically mentioned in either plan, officials are excited to see development spark there, said city planner Joanie Fitzwater.
“It’s just the kind of project that would attract new talent and younger talent to our community,” she said, “especially being right on the trail. That would be a cool place to live.”
Keller Development has facilitated the creation of more than 30 affordable housing complexes across the state, though the property in Greenfield would be first to cater specifically to artists and entrepreneurs, spokeswoman Dawn Gallaway said.
Leasing applicants would undergo an interview to ensure priority is given to those working in creative careers, Gallaway said.
That segment of the population traditionally has trouble finding safe, affordable housing, and Keller Development wants to fill that gap, she said.
Plans call for the complex to boast private offices, work spaces and production areas, art galleries, soundproof music rooms and a theater, Gallaway said.
Keller Development had been eyeing Hancock County as a potential home for its next project for some time, Gallaway said. The county’s proximity to Indianapolis and Greenfield’s rising population make it the perfect area for Keller Development to expand, she said.
Keller Development representatives will give a presentation at the council meeting Wednesday before council members vote to rezone the land to allow for the development. The city’s plan commission and planning office have given the project a favorable recommendation.
Councilman Jeff Lowder, who sits on the plan commission, said he’ll vote in favor of rezoning the land.
For years, developers have tried to promote businesses at Center Street Shoppes, but nothing has stuck, he said.
The apartment complex will improve the area and is a better alternative than letting the vacant buildings deteriorate, he said.
Council president Gary McDaniel said when he first heard about the project, he was a little apprehensive, fearing the complex would have trouble finding enough tenants who fit the demographic the developers are seeking.
But the more he’s learned about the project, the more supportive he’s become, he said.
The apartment complex could be attractive to budding professionals, a segment of the city’s population officials want to see grow, he said.
“This is something that will be good for the Pennsy Trail,” he said. “I could see these young professionals staying here for a long time.”
The Greenfield City Council will meet Wednesday to decide whether to rezone land at 210 Center Street in Greenfield currently known as Center Street Shoppes. An apartment complex targeting artists and entrepreneurs is planned for the site.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at city hall, 10 S. State St.