A proposed $24.3 million, five-story housing, retail and parking project was the topic of discussion at the Aug. 28 Noblesville Common Council meeting.
On Aug. 24, the City of Noblesville announced a proposal for The Levinson, which, if approved, would take up a half-block space just south of the square, bordered by Eighth and Ninth streets, Maple Avenue and the east/west alley south of Conner Street.
On the land sits a city-owned parking lot and Holt Legal Group and Ayer’s Real Estate, which would be bought outright by Rebar Development, who is the project manager with the city.
Nearly 100 attended the meeting at Noblesville City Hall, and those who spoke during gave the council overall positive feedback for the idea, but many had issues with the size and overall appearance and design.
“I cannot tell you how important is from generation to generation to not lose what we have here,” said Elizabeth Thompson, a downtown resident, who has lived in Noblesville for 17 years. “(People) want what centuries ago had. I respect what this project is trying to do … but what’s on the square speaks for itself … don’t diminish it with the new. This (project) would benefit my business, but this doesn’t bring my heart to stay in Noblesville.”
At the meeting, Rebar Development President Shelby Bowen said a goal of the project would be to highlight downtown’s history. A 2,000-square-foot public lobby would serve as exhibit space for historic downtown artifacts and photos.
Bowen said the project also is aimed at drawing and retaining millenials, empty-nesters, high-earning and workforce professionals to live downtown, which, in turn, he said would benefit nearby businesses.
The development would include 73 market-rate and 10 income-based studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Another feature of the building includes a third-story courtyard facing Maple Avenue for residents, but perhaps the most sought-after feature is that of a parking garage.
The parking garage would house 337 parking spaces, 237 to 287 of which would be public, netting 167 additional public spaces, as the project is being built on an existing parking lot. Those additional spots would more than double the number of public parking spaces available downtown today, approximately 140. Two levels underground and the third level above ground would be designated for parking, while the first level would a mix of parking and 5,100 square feet of commercial storefronts around the perimeter. The top three levels would be apartments.
As part of the developer’s agreement, the city is planning to use an economic development bond to fund $16 million, including $13.2 million for the parking garage. The city said it expects to garner nearly $185,000 annually for 25 years generated by the city’s downtown tax-increment financing by the addition of $8.8 million in new assessed value.
The council unanimously voted to postpone taking any action in order to gather and respond to feedback. Councilor Brian Ayer recused himself from the discussion for a possible conflict of interest as the owner of Ayer’s Real Estate, and Councilor Mark Boice was absent from the meeting.
The project will come in front of the Noblesville Common Council again at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Noblesville City Hall, 16 S. 10th St.