Carmel Redevelopment Commission tables proposal to purchase Monon Square shopping center

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The Carmel Redevelopment Commission voted May 22 to table a proposal to possibly purchase the Monon Square shopping center, which is on Range Line Road across from The Palladium.

Commissioners voted to table the proposal to pay either the average of two appraisals or $15 million for the commercial development owned by Mohawk Management. Vivien Lawhead, owner of Mohawk and the SoHo Cafe & Gallery, could not be reached for comment.

Commissioner Jeff Worrell said he wanted to learn more about the proposal before proceeding.

“I haven’t even seen the appraisals so I would not have felt comfortable voting at that time,” he said.

Although details weren’t released, Worrell said he believes the plan would be to redevelop Lawhead’s shopping center, which has a large parking lot facing the street and storefronts that are hard to view from Range Line Road.

Worrell said one concern is that he feels other properties should be higher priorities, such as the former O’Malia grocery store site at 126th Street and Gray Road.

“The council has been very active in trying to get a grocery store in that space,” he said. “We’ve had meetings with companies and we’re willing to look at several options to get a grocery store east of Keystone.”

City Councilor Ron Carter has been involved in those meetings as well. He said filling the O’Malia space should be a top priority.

“We can certainly do both projects, but the O’Malia space is a top priority,” he said. “We might have to look at redeveloping that area if needed. We’ve got some of Carmel’s finest neighborhoods surrounding that site, and I’d hate to see any decline.”

Carter said if nothing happens with either property in five years, he feels the O’Malia space could destabilize the neighborhood surrounding it. While he feels a redesign of the Monon Square shopping center might be eventually needed, it doesn’t currently have any major vacancies.


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