Efficiently Addressing Needs

Efficiently Addressing Needs

Efficiently Addressing Needs

March 2007 - Paraphrased Article from Midwest Real Estate News

By: Brian T. Sutton

FISHERS, Indiana- After being an active developer in Indiana for more than a decade, Rick Arnos, president of Toledo, Ohio based Republic Development Corp., says that growth occurring in the cities of Fishers and Noblesville signaled the time to do something big.

Which is when they hatched Saxony, the 725-acre new urbanism-influenced development straddling Interstate 69 and the communities of Fishers and Noblesville. At buildout, Saxony is to have 3.5 million square feet of retail in five separate areas and 1,300 residential units. It is in its fourth year of a 10-year plan.

The single-family residential district features a variety of homes from the $120,000s to the $350,000s. The multifamily product will have 1,000 units for sale and lease with 68 townhomes at Hanover on the Green by Portrait Homes from the $140,000s and 40 custom townhomes at One Thirty One Place by Executive Homes starting at $190,000.

Parks are to be scattered about and total 55 acres.

A few years ago, the company acquired a chunk of land in the area and slowly added to it. Meanwhile, it also added to plans for the site, constantly tweaking or revisiting it until it had the right vision.

“It was around the time that really the concept of new urbanism was gaining traction,” Arnos says. “We were early subscribers in that kind of thinking; it makes sense and resonates in good development today. There is simply a lot of concern these days about smart growth and effective use of resources.”

According to the Congress for New Urbanism, the concept promotes “walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl.” Arnos says that philosophy fit nicely into the company’s idea for Saxony and the company worked to create mixes and uses that are efficient in the way they interact, but also had to make sense.

“There were a number of ideas that we though of and a lot that we borrowed from other good developments we examined. We also worked with good land planners. What we wanted was a pedestrian-friendly, vibrant neighborhood unlike any thing else in Indiana.”

So far Saxony is home to Wesleyan Church Foundation, Community Health Network, STAR Financial Bank, The Play School at Saxony, Verus Partners and residential communities. In the fall, Perkins Specialized Transportation announced that it acquired eight acres in Saxony on the Noblesville side to build a 40,000 square foot corporate headquarters with the ability to expand the building up to another 40,000 square feet. Clarian Health Partners acquired 95 acres on the Fishers side to develop health and wellness services in the integrated community in phases. Clarian expects to build a fitness center, sports medicine facility, a sleep center, occupational medicine facility, and imaging and urgent care facility, ambulatory care center and medical offices.

“We believe strongly that we can be effective in adding value, good value, to development,” Arnos says. “That means different things-different price points, different uses, [being] effective in zoning and entitlement and working closely with municipalities.”
Arnos says that working with municipalities was a must on such and ambitious project straddling two communities. Just planning where the roads will go was a fairly complicated process.

But rather than driving out to a small town and building a new community, Arnos says they needed the established network of existing, urban communities.

“We believe that large-scale development can be handled more effectively in urban areas. Think of it as a braid with a central district for the most community-wide uses (sports, legal, courthouse, etc.) and higher concentrations of uses, then go into the outlaying areas for other uses. You concentrate your development and include open areas, have nodal points with extensive usage, long roads that spread out. It’s similar to the Portland model. We think it makes sense and brings a sense of community.”