An Indianapolis developer’s plans to build a 22-story luxury apartment tower on a parking lot it’s buying from the city of Clayton is being met with criticism by neighboring residents and business owners.
The city negotiated a deal to sell the 0.86-acre lot at 8409 Forsyth Boulevard to Flaherty & Collins Properties for $1.1 million back on Feb. 3. The issue is scheduled to be reviewed by the Clayton Plan Commission Monday night, where it will likely be met with opposition from citizens who claim there is a parking problem not being addressed.
Critics say because this was planned in secret with little knowledge or input from surrounding neighbors, their parking issues have been ignored.
“Parking is one of the things that is most needed in Clayton and I don’t understand for the life of me how they can even think of selling that parking lot just so they can put up an apartment building,” said Ray Gallardo, owner of City Coffee at 36 N Brentwood Blvd. “That parking lot services my customers, the number of lawyers and business owners that have clients visit them. They all need a place to park and now they want to take it away.”
The area was identified as a top redevelopment priority in the city’s master plan in 2010 and released a statement on Feb. 3 saying the current lot “does not contribute anything to the school district or city services.”
As part of the agreement, at least 29 public parking spaces will be included in the project’s proposed 324-spot parking garage to serve nearby restaurants. The existing city-owned lot has 29 metered spaces and 100 leased spaces, but Gallardo and others say the new proposal will not be enough.
“They don’t have enough spaces to replace those. They need almost 500 spaces,” Gallardo said. “Not only do they not have enough parking spaces in that new building, but if they add retail and a new restaurant, where are they going to get the spots to handle all of that extra parking?”
Less than two weeks ago, the planned $70 million tower to be called Shaw Park Apartments was scaled down, according to the latest architectural plans filed with the city of Clayton.
Initial plans called for a 24-story, 264-unit high-rise that would also include a 373-space parking garage and 7,800 square feet of retail space on the ground floors.
New plans call for a 22-story tower with 228 units and a 324-space parking garage. A small amount of retail space was added on the ground floor. The project will still include a rooftop pool and sky bar.
Now, after being done in secret, nearby property owners are worried it is going to be ramrodded through the City without taking into account its impact on them and the surrounding neighborhood, which has seen three other apartment buildings go up in the last two years.
Dr. Andrew Galakatos, who lives in the Maryland Walk building nearby, has called for a 2-year moratorium on building in Clayton.
“Some of these elected officials have emphasized the desire of the Board of Aldermen to increase the “density” of the city both in terms of buildings and population, but at what cost?” Galakatos said. “Is the city in any financial straits that city-owned street-level parking lots and green spaces must be sold? What effect will the occupancy have on all the buildings currently being constructed… on existing small businesses and office spaces, infrastructure, streets, traffic, sewer system, school system etc… and the willingness of visitors to come to the city for products and services… relative to traffic and having to search for parking spaces?”
Gallardo and Dr. Galakatos said other nearby neighbors, including residential, don’t know enough about it to even be worried. The two men have been educating nearby residential and business owners on the issue and expect a large contingent to voice their concerns at Monday night’s meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.