Downtown redevelopment has been a key point of Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun’s second term of office. In 2019, a new plan will be put forth to alter the Public Square back to its roots and eliminate the circular traffic pattern.
Now, as part of the redevelopment project, Genesis Property Development is interested in purchasing the Methodist Building and the adjoining building. The plan is to create both retail and residential space and add a parking garage behind the buildings to meet future demand of downtown parking availability.
In addition, Chris King, executive vice president with Runnebohm Construction, is interested in building a 13-home residential neighborhood on the former site of Major Hospital, located west of downtown Shelbyville.
Ron Kelsay, representing Genesis Property Development — located in Shelbyville, and King attended the city’s Finance Committee meeting Wednesday morning at City Hall seeking a Recommendation For Proposal (RFP) from the committee as the next step forward to their projects that they feel are interlinked to the city’s redevelopment plans.
After committee discussion over the need for a downtown parking garage and the early limited design plans of both projects, a recommendation was made to send the proposal to the City Council for its approval. The next meeting of the City Council is Feb. 4 at City Hall.
“Now I will go to the full council for permission to move forward with the proposal,” explained DeBaun after the Finance Committee meeting. “The proposal process will be working with them and working with Ratio Architects to come up with scope to have a full proposal document that includes some basic designs.”
The mayor will not need additional funds to start the proposal process, he explained to the committee, because the 2019 budget includes funds for downtown planning.
“I will be asking for permission to spend it,” he said.
The city has spent many years assisting with the redevelopment of the five-story Methodist Building. Kelsay believes Genesis Property Development is ready to make that happen – if the downtown redevelopment project stays on track.
“The last thing we want to do is be ahead of the downtown redevelopment ... to be fully developed and invest $4 million into the Methodist Building and then be done and the city decides they are finally ready to go on this downtown redevelopment and are ripping up all the roads and parking,” said Kelsay. “That would be a disaster for a brand new development.”
Genesis envisions a retail option at street level of the Methodist Building and creating residential living and executive apartments on the remaining four floors. The company also is in discussion about purchasing the former Bradley Hall Furniture building next door to the Methodist Building. The plan is to put retail in the storefront but tear down the aging warehouse behind the building to make way for a parking garage large enough to hold 120-140 vehicles.
Finance Committee member Brad Ridgeway did not believe a parking garage was needed in the downtown area. The mayor agreed that it is currently not needed but with redevelopment, including the Methodist Building, there will become a need for more downtown parking.
“If the Methodist Building’s five stories are completely redeveloped, there will be a parking problem,” said Kelsay.
King, who purchased the Hamilton House property which sits next to the former Major Hospital site on W. Washington St., is seeking city assistance with infrastructure at the current greenspace that was deeded back to the city when Major Health Partners built a new hospital at Intelliplex Park.
“I feel downtown could really benefit from more single-family housing which would enhance the historical character of downtown,” said King. “So I started putting together some ideas.”
Referred to as the Hamilton-Major Project, King envisions 13 homes each about 3,000 square feet and costing between $300,00 and $400,000.
“If you look at what is developing around the state, in downtown Indy, the near northside of Indy and Meridian-Kessler, we’re going to try to emulate that quality,” said King. “You see those homes selling for almost twice what we’re proposing here. We’re keeping costs in check and keeping things in line so we can get some really high quality housing which will help raise the overall level of what is in downtown right now.”
The project falls in line with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and downtown redevelopment which is aimed at influencing more people to move to Shelbyville.
“This is about attracting people to our community and about getting people to live here ... focusing on quality of life issues ... and having high quality space in the downtown supports this,” said King. “I think that’s how we get things really going for a transformation in the community.