A city commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to support the sprawling redevelopment of about 16 acres west of the Fashion Mall in Keystone despite pushback from the property’s neighbors.
Indianapolis-based Keystone Corp. plans to spend at least $168 million to develop a new mixed neighborhood on the northeast corner of Haverstick Road and East 86th Street, directly across from the Ironworks at Keystone development.
The Alexander at the Crossing project was brought forward by the Metropolitan Development Commission on a 7-0 vote. It will then be reviewed for final approval by the City Council.
The company’s plan calls for apartments, retail and offices, as well as about 35 townhouses and a new hotel. The entire east border of the property will retain a line of trees.
Keystone plans to consolidate the zoning of the site from the DP and DA designations to only DP, allowing for mixed-use developments.
As part of its presentation, Keystone shared previously undisclosed preliminary investments for some of the components of the development: $82.5 million for apartments, $10.5 million for townhouses, $25 million for the hotel and $15 million for the office buildings.
The recommendation for approval – in line with a recommendation last week from city planning staff – followed a hearing in which residents of the Driftwood Hills neighborhood adjacent to the property urged the MDC to vote against the project.
About five people opposed to the project spoke, many of them raising concerns about traffic and the continued commercialization of a largely residential section of the 86th Street corridor. Neighbors said the project also far exceeds what is called for in the city’s overall plan, and developers have not communicated their plans in a timely or effective manner.
“This is a direct threat to the overall plan for the city and its guiding rules established … by your predecessors,” said Driftwood Hills Conservation Chairman Jim Heaney. “A dangerous precedent is before you. The commercialization of the fence on the north side of East 86th Street, west of Keystone, and the destruction of the Comprehensive Plan will haunt the city of Indianapolis and the MDC for years to come. It reminds me [the movie] ‘Groundhog Day.'”
Keystone sought to build on the land – once a densely wooded area – to more than 10 yearsbut was generally met with backlash each time from nearby residents, including a Victory in court 2020 for Driftwood Hills compared to the previously proposed project. The site was originally rezoned commercial in 2005 as part of a big box store and townhouse project, but development never progressed.
Jennifer Pavlik, Keystone’s Chief of Staff, said in a statement that the company is “very grateful to have had the support of the Planning Department, MDC, City Councilors representing this area as well as neighborhood groups. We are excited to bring about meaningful transformational development that we believe will improve the neighborhood, attract talent and families, and be a place that so many in the community will enjoy.