Downtown Carmel

My wife and I took a bike ride up to Carmel on Sunday.  Carmel seems to ignite firestorms on Indy-related blogs.  I just think it’s a nice termination for a bike ride.
This building may be a bit too much, but they’ve still put quite a bit of thought into it.

This is a continuation of the above building:

There is a bit of history on Main Street.  I like the color of this brick.
I really like this:
Some more history.  I’m guessing this was a general store:
If this building was proposed in Indy, would you look forward to it?  I know I would:
On the other side of the Monon:

Comments 9

  • Yep. They’ve done a great job up there. I get a little annoyed when people compare Indianapolis directly and unfavorably to Carmel because Indy has problems (poverty and aging infrastructure more notably) that Carmel doesn’t have to address, and I get really annoyed with the “edge city” stuff (insert well-worn Hudnut quote about being a “suburb of nothing”). That said, the world would be a better place if every suburb were as committed to design, aesthetics, and infrastructure as Carmel is. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s good for all of Indianapolis to have a first class suburb.

  • Thanks John. This doesn’t need to be a battle. Just praise them for thinking about design and hope others will follow their lead.

    I know these new buildings have parking lots in the back. However, that can be remedied as value goes up and perhaps something else can be built there. You get more people living and working in an area, suddenly you reduce the need to have a car. It’s a much easier fix than the traditional suburbs.

  • I agree with both of you. I used to live in Carmel and enjoyed the “arts district” when I went. The monon trail was a brilliant idea and Carmel has definitely taken advantage of what it can offer. People who choose to live in Carmel typically want things that Indianapolis can’t provide, like perceived safety, higher home values, and homogeneity. Carmel doesn’t compete with Indianapolis, it is part of Indianapolis. Without Indy, there would be no Carmel, and without Carmel, Indy wouldn’t be the same.

  • graeme, just for the record, the Monon was not Carmel’s “brilliant idea”, and they were 5-10 years behind Indianapolis in building the trail at all.

    It’s clearly a case where Carmel took a good idea and ran with it, once it was obviously a no-brainer.

    Ray Irvin in Indianapolis did all the heavy lifting, and Greg Lindsey of IUPUI proved the economic value in several groundbreaking studies.

  • thundermutt – I understand it wasn’t Carmel’s idea, I only suggested that they took advantage of it. And I wanted to congratulate them for that, since the post was about Carmel. I did not mean to offend either you, Ray Irvin, or Greg Lindsey.

  • Oh, I agree very much that Carmel was much faster than Indianapolis to realize the “beachfront” potential of a trail and to invest strategically around it. They poured a gazillion dollars into their new Central Park right on the trail, and they are building their new civic center/downtown around it also.

    The Carmel Redevelopment Commission really gets it.

    In Indianapolis, only the Broad Ripple neighborhood around the trail has appreciably densified…but even there, Buckingham was turned away once before their most recent approval on the south edge of the village, and there was considerable static over the removal (and replacement with appropriately dense development) of a half-dozen junky rental cottages on Winthrop Ave.

    That Indianapolis did not extend the Fall Creek Place project clear to the Monon (and into Martindale-Brightwood) is an example of lack of foresight.

  • That area between 16th and 25th near the Monon is seeing more development, but it seems it isn’t part of a concentrated effort. At least someone sees the potential.

  • These are the types of structures that should be being built in Broad Ripple. I also was up in downtown carmel this past week (eating at Bubs, yum!). I was very pleasantly suprised at the amount of pedestrian activity and just how quickly the densification has progressed.

  • Kevin, that potential is tempered considerably by the perception that the area isn’t safe. One of the important aspects of Fall Creek Place is that it changes perception by complete redevelopment and rehab.

    Bill Hudnut is quoted in this morning’s paper talking about horse and bicycle patrols downtown in the early days of downtown revitalization; horse and bicycle patrols in the neighborhoods around the Monon south of 38th would be an excellent start.

    By far the best thing for that area would be Carmel-style bulldozer redevelopment. That would work for the abandoned and underutilized commercial/industrial sites (land uses similar to the Carmel redevelopment area before they started). But it is politically impossible to bulldoze the remaining single-family housing for the purpose of densification and gentrification.

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