Building well-designed, but variances at issue at corner of College and 16th

Developers of commercial building planned for corner of College Avenue and 16th Street were advised to work with neighbors to resolve variance issues.

Members of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission approve very much the design of a commercial building proposed at 1572 N. College Ave., the southwest corner of the high-profile intersection with 16th Street.

The variances which accompany the petition, however, drew a considerable amount of concern not only from commissioners but also from several nearby neighbors. As a result, the petition was continued without a formal vote.

The project presented by One 10 Studios for property owned by Mainstay Property Group features a two-story building with a rooftop loft, as well as a 15-space parking lot. The owners envision the glass-covered first level to be a restaurant or coffee house, with the upper levels that would house office space.

The petition includes variances to allow less setback on a thoroughfare, construction in the clear sight triangle, less onsite parking than required, less transitional yard than required, and a dumpster and enclosure within the required transitional yard.

The first two variances would have applied to the previous building on that site, a two-story historic brick structure which was demolished in 2011 after a court decision overturned the IHPC’s denial of a permit to demolish. That decision followed a series of IHPC hearings to resolve the issue of the deteriorated building, a portion of which had already been cleared by city officials for safety reasons.

The Nov. 1 IHPC hearing featured testimony from several neighbors concerned about drainage issues and parking issues. Some commissioners sympathized with the worries about more serious drainage issues, but one commissioner said the developer should not be required to solve what is basically a long-standing city problem, while a second said that drainage issues were not within the IHPC’s authority.

Nevertheless, commissioners agreed that the developers should work with neighbors on compromises to their concerns.

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