Coal Yard Lofts Plans Heard by Commission

Developers and stakeholders in the Irvington Coal Yard Lofts apartment proposal for 5547 Bonna Ave. presented designs and requests for variances to the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on Feb. 1. The current design, created after feedback from community meetings, included Craftsman style architectural features in the complex, as well as a revamped parking area. As it stands at the moment, the Irvington Coal Yard Lofts will consist of 46 apartments, 3,000 square feet of commercial/retail space on the first floor, and 1,000 square feet of community meeting space. In addition, the site will continue to be home to the Black Acre Brewing Company’s brewing space at the south end of the property.
Third Street Ventures LLC, the Irvington Development Organization, and supporters of the project noted that the designers and planners have been extremely forthcoming about information and shown a willingness to adapt plans in response to community concerns. They also expressed concern that if the residential development did not go forward, the community would be left with a deteriorating building and property that detracted from the historic neighborhood. Residents opposed to the development expressed concern about the density of the development on the 2.5 acres, as well as a desire to seek out commercial/retail uses for the property.
IHPC staff reports noted that there have been past attempts to develop the property — most recently, Black Acre purchased the site in hopes of creating a light industrial/commercial/retail complex. However, due to previous industrial uses (including its original use as a coal yard), the costs of clean-up were too great to fix the environmental hazards as well as drainage. They noted that the new developers were aware of the problems and the considerable costs involved in clean-up, as well as building costs. They also noted that the original master plan called for the site to be residential.
Commission members asked questions about the designs and materials, as well as landscaping plans for the buffer and fencing between existing homes and the apartments. The developer agreed to go back and revisit the plans, and get more specific information about landscaping to satisfy  the community and the commission.
The petition was continued, and revised plans will be heard at the April 5 meeting of the IHPC.