Carmel aims to sell, redevelop communications center site

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The City of Carmel is looking to tear down the police communications center in the Carmel Arts & Design District and build a multi-story, mixed-use building in its place. The small staff operating at the building — which can be used as a backup 911 center for the county in an emergency — would be relocated.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said several years ago Carmel had its own 911 center there but now the county handles those operations in Noblesville. As a result, Carmel’s building isn’t fully utilized. Approximately five city communications employees still work there.

“It’s far more space than they need, and it’s in an expensive location,” Brainard said.

The building, which is at the northeast corner of Main Street and First Avenue NW, directly east of Sophia Square, is behind The Carmel Arts Council Gallery. There’s also some public parking available. Brainard said it doesn’t make sense to operate a government office on such a valuable property, right next to apartments and restaurants in a part of town with frequent street festivals. The City of Carmel has issued a minimum asking price of $1,224,000, which is the average of two appraisals. Brainard said the property is a likely candidate for a private-public partnership, meaning the developer could pay less than the asking price if the developer invests in public infrastructure, such as parking.

Brainard said he would like to see high quality architecture in whatever is built.

“I could easily see a condo with ground floor development,” he said.

Brainard said the building would be small compared to others in the district, possibly with a couple dozen condo units.

Brainard said some developers want to relocate the Carmel Arts Council Gallery, which has been moved before. He said he likes the gallery in that location but doesn’t want to commit to anything. He said he’d like to see plans that keep the gallery where it is.

“It’s our intent to work around it,” he said.

Brainard said the county plans to use a building in Fishers for a new backup 911 center, and the City of Carmel’s communications crew will ultimately move to the Carmel Police Dept. headquarters when a planned expansion is complete. In the meantime, Brainard said the city employees will work out of leased space elsewhere.


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