Fishers, with more than 90,000 residents, is one of Hamilton County’s fastest-growing cities as well as one of the most livable communities in the U.S. Here’s how Fishers is growing and changing.
Fishers is moving forward with a plan for a large residential community on 116th Street that the city council put on hold last month because of concerns that the suburb was building too many rentals.
The Redevelopment Commission approved Thursday a $36 million economic plan for the Maple Del subdivision, a mix of garden-style apartments, three-story townhouses and two-story patio homes near 116th Street and Maple Drive. After delaying approval last month in a 7-2 vote, the council unanimously moved it forward at an Oct. 19 meeting.
The councilors said their concerns and those of nearby residents were adequately addressed by city officials and the developer in community meetings since then.
Among those concerns: the impact on home values, traffic, noise and how the project fits in with the city’s long-term goal.
“I am confident that the developer will find agreeable solutions with them,” Councilor Jocelyn Vare said.
Vare said she voted “yes” this time because she was convinced “it will add value to our community” and “meets the long-term goals to support downtown commerce.”
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But she said the city needed to better communicate the plan to homeowners to avoid future strife or confusion.
“I believe residents don’t know,” Vare said, “what that vision is.”
The long-term objectives, outlined in 2016, is “people, people, people,” said Tom Dickey, manager of real estate for the Hageman Group, which is building Maple Del with construction company J.C. Hart. Increased density downtown attracts businesses and that increases spending in the local economy and pads the real estate tax base, city officials said.
Fishers Director of Economic Development Megan Baumgartner said that goal is to eventually add 2,000 apartments to downtown, known as the Nickel Plate District.
About 1,000 units are built and planned so far, and they have generated $875 million in new investment and 7,000 jobs, Dickey and city officials said.
Some council members and residents have complained that there is now a glut of apartments but officials said vacancy rates are low and the percentage of apartments compared to single-family homes still lags behind other Hamilton County cities.
Dickey said the Depot at Nickel Plate is 92% occupied and the Flats at Switch Apartments are at 95%. In addition, Sunblest, built decades ago, is at 97% and the Mark at Fishers District, which only recently started leasing, is at 67%.
The developer is investing $30 million in the project and the city will issue $6.1 million in bonds, to be paid off over 25 years with increased tax receipts captured in a Tax Increment Financing District.
The agreement states that “without the assistance of the City Bodies and the provision of the economic development incentives described in this Agreement, the Project will not move forward.”
Hageman bought or has purchase agreements with 16 homeowners whose houses are being razed to make room for the project. One homeowner is holding out but the development can proceed without it being bought, city officials said.
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