The Carmel City Council on Sept. 16 approved expanding the City Center Redevelopment Area to include Monon Square, one of the first steps in preparing the site for redevelopment.
The Carmel Redevelopment Commission purchased the 8.7-acre shopping center on the northwest corner of Range Line Road and City Center Drive for $15 million in October 2018. It plans to partner with a private developer to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a mixed-use development.
A site must be identified as a redevelopment area before it can be designated as a tax increment financing district. The city plans to redevelop the site using TIF, which allocates increased tax revenues from a certain area as a result of improvements to pay for related infrastructure.
“There are benefits to expanding or creating a redevelopment area well ahead of time before you ever consider a specific project,” CRC Director Henry Mestetsky said. “Oftentimes, as developers look for potential projects, they’re interested in projects that would go into existing areas designated as redevelopment areas.”
Mestetsky said the CRC has not reviewed specific proposals for the center. The council vote – which will become official as long as the CRC votes to confirm the expanded area – is a first step in getting developers to consider coming up with a plan for the site, he said.
Monon Square is home to several small businesses, including Union Brewing Company, Soho Café & Gallery and Jamaican Reggae Grill. Mestetsky said four tenants have left the center of their own accord since the CRC purchased it. Most other tenants have month-to-month leases, he said, adding that the CRC will give remaining businesses at least a year’s notice before they must leave the shopping center.
Since purchasing the property, the CRC has made improvements to Monon Square, including several air conditioner replacements and upgrades to the parking lot.
“The parking lot is in better condition than it’s ever been,” Mestetsky said.