A controversial new development in Broad Ripple could force dozens of people out of their homes. The $25 million project would construct new apartments, town homes, a parking garage and a grocery store in the 1.9-acre site along the canal on Broad Ripple and College Avenues.
If passed, the proposal would demolish several historic apartment complexes in the neighborhood behind the vacant Shell gas station.
The Metropolitan Development Commission granted rezoning of the area Wednesday to build a five-story upscale apartment with 103 units and a Whole Foods.
Patrick Skowronek, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 23 years, said he has nowhere else to go.
“The gentrification is just beginning,” said Skowronek. “There’s no way folks who live in these apartments, a good majority of them, could afford to live in these high rises that they’re building.”
Supporters said the project is all part of their plan to attract more money and diverse high-end residents, who are missing in the village mix. Owners of the historic apartments have also struggled to make a profit.
“Based on the market rent they can collect now, [these apartment owners] are not able to operate at a profit. It’s been operated at a loss,” said Councilor Will Gooden, who is in favor of the plan. “Sooner or later, the worms are going to turn with it.”
The issue has stirred up an intense debate for the past six months. Some business owners and residents maintain bringing in a large grocery chain could hurt local businesses and kill the village charm.
“We don’t stand in the way of progress but Broad Ripple is in a unique position to balance that progress,” said Councilor Zach Adamson. “Even doing the wrong thing for the right reason is still doing the wrong thing.”
For Patrick, it means uprooting his life.
“I’m going to stay until they come knocking on my door and tell me I have to leave,” he said. “Don’t plan on packing up and leaving. We’ve got a long fight ahead.”
The project still needs the approval of the City-County Council. It will vote on the issue on Nov.11.