We fought the law and the law won. And then the condo project went bankrupt

The Indianapolis Star’s top story today is “Failed townhomes, condo, to auction.”

The article highlights a number of high profile housing developments that have failed.  One of those projects is  The Kosene and Kosense/Gunstra Builders project in Broad Ripple called “The Townes at Winthrop.”According to the paper, only six of twenty eight units have sold.

This failed condo project is in my neighborhood.  For those who aren’t familiar with Indianapolis, Broad Ripple is a neighborhood that is famous for its nightlife, small businesses, walkability, and general pleasantness. My wife and I love living there.

Anyway, my letter to the editor about the building of these now failed condos was published in the Star, March 11, 2006.

Broad Ripple residents ignored in condo battle

The City-County Council’s narrow decision to go forward with the Kosene & Kosene Broad Ripple condo project is not about adapting to change as your March 8 editorial claims. It shows instead that a well-connected developer has more power than the desires of an entire community.

As standing-room-only crowds at the council meeting and during a previous town hall meeting show, Broad Ripple residents were united in their opposition to this project. It is too dense, overwhelms the neighborhood and destroys green space on the Monon Trail. Kosene & Kosene rejected ideas for a more sensible project and Broad Ripple Councilman Jim Bradford snubbed his constituents while lobbying his Republican colleagues to vote for the project. Of course, Indianapolis needs to adapt to change and have innovative planning, but we don’t want unaccountable politicians and shortsighted developers. 

Mike Oles III

Indianapolis

 

This was a heated battle and one of the few times I have seen an Indianapolis neighborhood get really organized.  They packed the city council meeting the night of the final approval of the project.

And then basically, the city council–a bipartisan group of Dems and Republicans– voted for it.

This all happened after  the builder’s lawyers smeared the neighborhood activists and the residents of Broad Ripple that night.  Never mind the fact that there was standing room only–a rare feat at the council–and  the crowd was nearly unanimous in its opposition to The Townes project.

The Indianapolis Star in its editorial on March 8, 2006 wrote:

The city council was right to approve the condo development, which will replace a handful of small, older houses.  The condos will provide affluent cstomers for the areas nightclubs and restaurants, as well as a clientele for more datime shops and services.  they also will generate badly needed property tax revenue.”

I guess they also owe the people of Broad Ripple an apology.

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