16 Park and the MLK Memorial

Last month, I walked around the new 16 Park development. These apartments have replaced Caravelle Commons, which by most accounts has been a positive change for the neighborhood.  Here is the aerial photo of the property that has been affected, taken in spring of 2011:

All of the buildings in the north of the aerial have been demolished, and work has either been completed or are near completion on the complex:

I found it interesting that they use the same lights from the Cultural Trail to illuminate the rooftop deck:

This last building farthest to the north has a curved frontage.  It is probably in a more finished state today.

I also walked a block to the north to this city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  I find this sculpture of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy to be intriguing.

There’s a plaque of the speech that Mr. Kennedy gave the night of Dr. King’s death, which has to be one of the greatest speeches in the 20th century:

Finally, across from the 16 Park development, there is an old school that is being renovated.  I’m not sure of the purpose, but it appears to be for a non-profit organization.  Please mention in the comments if you are aware of this development:

Comments 25

  • I was wondering about these projects, I had no idea the construction would have entire buildings completed by this time.

  • Good timing, I was just checking this area out a couple days ago. This neighborhood is really starting to come along.

  • They have begun work on the 2nd phase of this project. There are a number of new buildings that will begin frame work very soon from the looks of things on site.

  • The former Caravelle Commons is all to be demolished in phases. Caravelle is a Z- shaped property that wraps around the back of the Kroger store. Its northwest corner at 17th and the alley between Central & Park. It goes east a full block and then south to 16th & Park. From there it extends east along 16th to the alley between Broadway & College.
    Because Caravelle is “project-based Section 8”, there are “non-relocation” provisions for its longtime residents. As new 16Park units are finished, existing residents can be relocated on the site step by step, so that the old Caravelle buildings can be torn down.
    The new development replaces 60-70 townhomes with upwards of 100 units, which are mixed income and partly funded by low-income housing tax credits.
    Sometimes “wrecking ball” redevelopment is good. This is one of those times.

  • Good riddance to Caravelle Commons. I lived at 17th and Central for a couple years and that complex was BAAAAAAAD. Hearing gunshots at night was not uncommon. The cop that lived in our building said that 17th St. was closed down at the south end of MLK Park to stop a very common drive-by route.

    As for 16 Park, I think they did a great job with this one. We might quibble about too few and too small windows, but otherwise I think it’s a really well done project.

  • I really Like these buildings. I could totally live here, once the kroger gets reworked. Its mazing how comprehensive this project is. 16th street is a whole nother neighborhood from when i moved to town 6 years ago.

  • Also, rumor has it that plans call for opening up 17 th street. It’s amazing what building density/orientation and opening up a street does for the neighborhood…especially with it’s connection to Kennedy/King Park (a very under utilized piece of land). I say develop some mid-rise apartments on the North segment of the Park to increase it’s functionality. Residential density in that area—along with College Ave. is way too low.

  • There was so much resistance from the Old Northside & Herron Morton residents about this project. I wonder how much these people will miss Caravel Commons? It’s good to see something other than suburban style condos in this area. Kroger just needs to commit to the neighborhood. If not, let’s push for the first urban Meijer concept!

    • As a resident of Herron-Morton Place, I can say with certainty that there was no resistance to the destruction of Caravelle Commons. The reason the new project drew so much conflict within the neighborhoods, is that it has a potential to be a bigger Caravelle Commons. The original Caravelle Commons contained 65 housing units, 16 Park more than doubles that up to 155 and will maintain many of the same residents. It is entirely within the control of Indianapolis Housing Agency to make this into a wonderful new development or an expanded Caravelle Commons. Some residents felt that IHA didn’t have a proven track record in this type of environment, where other residents had faith that IHA would improve the situation – which resulted in the mixed support.

      It’s easy to misconstrue this as an argument against low income housing, but it’s not. There are many low income housing projects across the city that do not have high crime rates. In an area of town that is known for it’s rapid revitalization, and sometimes gentrification, Caravelle Commons was a bastion of the old, violent downtown Indianapolis. Caravelle Commons was entirely mis-managed and took no action against the small group of residents that engaged in drug and weapons trafficking. Assuming that IHA acts upon a no-tolerance policy, the 16 Park development will be a beautiful addition to the area.

      If you’ve stopped in Kroger over the past couple of years, their product selection has increased greatly. More recently, some of the produce I find there is fresher than O’Malia’s. I would also adamantly oppose an urban Meijer in these areas, and I think most of the other residents of the King Park area would do the same. Urban neighborhoods need more commercial properties that blend in with the neighborhood and not giant block consuming mega-marts.

      To your second post, I know that they are planning to extend Park up to 17th Street, but I don’t know if they have approval to connect 17th across MLK park.

      • Micah says: “Kroger just needs to commit to the neighborhood. If not, let’s push for the first urban Meijer concept!”
        Rodney says: “I would also adamantly oppose an urban Meijer in these areas, and I think most of the other residents of the King Park area would do the same. Urban neighborhoods need more commercial properties that blend in with the neighborhood and not giant block consuming mega-marts.”
        Rodney, I think Micah was saying that he was hoping for a cool, new type of Meijer that is more like the Walmart Fresh Market that is down by Keystone and 65. Maybe something in the style of Trader Joe’s. Something small and urban in design.

  • There are proposals for 17th St to be a bike blvd to connect with the Monon. I used to live at 19th and Central and I am not sure a lot of the neighbors realized that the Monon was a few blocks away.

  • I stopped in at that Kroger recently. My wife has a studio at the Harrison, and we needed something to eat and it was within walking distance so I went there. I was pleasantly surprised at the fresh food selection. I agree though, the outside can be a little off-putting.

  • I just drove to this and other new developments around the city, the hinge,fountain square,city way, trail side, the avenue, 1201 indiana, the two new hospitals saw the new fire station 5 construction site as well all this on saturday its all looking great and transforming and takeing indy to the next level, Also construction has started on the old bush stadium development saw this saturday as well. cool stuff for indy.

  • Rodney, I guess all I’m saying is optimism sets in when better URBAN design is implemented—whether the income level is high or low. The 16 Park development–although not the best design in the world–succeeds in that it fits into the neighborhood and helps the 16th street corridor due to it’s higher density. Caravelle Commons (with less people living there) would promote more crime because it was a scattered dump of an eyesore. And as far as my (unfortunately unrealistic) mentioning of an urban Meijer? Well, no one in Indy has better produce (except the farmers’ markets) than Meijer and it would be interesting to see how a ‘not so big store’ would look if properly placed up to 16th street with the parking in her rear. 16th street deserves more than Kroger’s current parking lot frontage, do you not agree? But it seems all of this resistence from the surrounding historic districts halts certain development because the focus is on higher density = more crime. Rodney, I will say it again: that mentality = NIMBY syndrome.

    let the war begin, folks…

    • While I certainly won’t deny that a lot of downtown residents (all residents, not just ones in historic neighborhoods) suffer from the NIMBY syndrome, I don’t think that was the primary opposition factor with 16 Park. For the neighbors who have lived around Caravelle Commons for decades, that property is a very sensitive issue due to the amount of neighborhood-impacting crime and safety issues it has generated. Whether it would be a horizontal or a vertical expansion, it would certainly have opponents. Not necessarily that higher density results in more crime, but that something needs to be done to effectively reduce the crime that already exists. Hence the concern around whether the new property management group would be competent in this area. I can say from personal experience that Herron-Morton Place never officially opposed 16 Park, which implies only a minority of residents opposed the project. I can’t speak for other neighborhoods, though. Personally, I think it’s a great improvement on the area and I’m glad it’s coming along quickly.

      I would argue the produce quality at Meijer, but that’s neither here nor there. It would be outstanding to see a street-aligned Kroger or other grocery store in that location. I am completely behind the commercial development of 16th street and 22nd street, and both areas have plans in place that direct them toward neighborhood-serving businesses. I don’t think big box stores are helpful to neighborhood growth, but grocery stores certainly are.

  • As a long time resident of the Old Northside and living within a block of Caravelle Common, my oposition to the new project was based on increased desity and the resulting question, “Can IHA manage this better than they did Caravelle Commons?”. IHA made committments to the neighborhod concerning their management of the new complex that includes onsite management in the old house that they restored along Park Avenue.

    • I believe the increased density is a good thing when you consider the location of the project. Caravelle Commons had an extremely inefficient and suburban land use, which does not belong a mile from the center of the city. This project is more dense than Caravelle Commons, but that does not mean that it is over the top or inappropriate with its density.

  • The new design will hopefully be a deterent against criminal activity. The old layout was insular and created havens in the parking lots hidden from the street. The front doors now face the streets, and with Park and possibly 17th becoming through streets the complex will have less appeal as an island for crime. I am still skeptical but something different needed to be done, and the area should include some low income housing.

  • Then why are you still skeptical?

  • Regarding 17th street…I have not seen any plans extending 17th street through (just discussion about the bike boulevard through the right-of-way). In fact, plans I HAVE seen include a comprehensive design of the southern portion of MLK park which crosses “17th street” and does not consider a Bike Boulevard or reopening of the street.

    Regarding the Kroger… it is convenient to have, but as a regular shopper there, the produce is sub-par. It looks alright, but absolutely flavorless. Can’t tell you how much produce I’ve bitten in to and just thrown out because it’s tasteless.

    Regarding 16 Park… MUCH better than what was there before, and increased density is great, although the general layout of buildings concerns me. Still a bit “project-ish”. Lots of hidden interior spaces for people to hide, cut-through, and potentially deal drugs. Traditional and true urban development tends to have better sight lines, better delineation of public/private space, and addresses the community (facing outward). I would argue 16 Park does not succeed in all these areas

  • I believe the biggest detergents of criminal activity are: the raised park area or green space above the parking and the fact that there are 4 stories ‘looking out’ onto the streets…for the most part. At least it doesn’t look abandoned or vacant within an isolated area— which IMPO promotes criminal activity more than anything.

  • I chatted with a few of the residents nearby to this development last week at First Friday and it was interesting. They were extremely wary of the development although they did appreciate the upgrade in design. They were also not fond of the increased density even after choosing to live less than a mile from the CBD of the 12th largest municipality in the country. When I asked what they would like there instead, the response was either 1) a park or 2) high end single family homes. These are intelligent, educated, family oriented, urban families who understand that it’s a process and appreciate that someone is looking to invest in their neighborhood. They are extremely uncomfortable with the prospect to the area becoming a larger Caravelle and wish it was a more privately built and run market-rate development. Unfortunately, the market is not there… but if handled correctly this be one more step to developing the market.

  • Old Northside residents should be skeptical for good reason. It is not unreasonable to worry that this will be a larger Caravelle Commons and continue to foster criminal activity. I really hope the new design and management tactics thwart this but time will tell.

    There is not a massive market for single family homes downtown. Herron Morton (near this site) is in need for infill. The market would be better served by building structures with 2 or 3 rental/condo units on lots that once housed very large multigenerational family homes. Much more appropriate for an urban neighborhood and would do more to grow that part of the city economically.

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