New Buildings at Fort Benjamin Harrison

The Fort Benjamin Harrison Reuse Authority has been around for quite a while (see these posts from 2010 and 2011), and now the planned public plaza is starting to fill in with to the north with new apartments.  There are two structures directly to the north of the plaza, with more just to the north and west of this.  This post will focus on the square.

 The public square:

The square includes bike lanes and brick crosswalks:

My initial thoughts to this development is that the buildings right on the square are pretty nice and well-done. I’m glad that the planted trees have had a chance to grow, which helps the authenticity factor. There is also a new building just to the west of this that is not as successful, unfortunately, and looks to be cookie cutter suburban in style. I hope that the remaining buildings look more like the former and less like the latter.  Also, none of these buildings look well-suited for retail, and perhaps they are waiting for a critical mass of residents in the area before moving along with that venture.

Comments 6

  • Kevin, they’re apartments, not condos. JC Hart is building them as luxury apartments (i.e. high-rent). I’ve been told that some of the buildings’ ground-floor units could be converted to retail, but there is considerable retail/commercial space easily walkable within blocks south and southwest. And Triton Brewing to the north. 🙂
    Even the “suburban style” building to the west is built up to the ROW with parking bump-ins at the curb and main parking in back.
    The thing to remember about Lawrence and the Fort is…they’re suburban. Fairly dense, but still suburban in character; you’re going to see gabled and hipped roofs out here, with spaces between buildings and surface parking. The Fort master plan also calls for respecting the building lines established by the historic/old buildings that are still in place, and the design standards favor red brick with white trim. I would have to look it up, but I think the height limit is 3-4 stories (36-40 feet) and the water table is high so underground parking would be fairly impractical.

    • Thanks for the correction, I was unsure if they were apartments or condos.

      Lawrence and the Fort may be suburban, but so is Carmel. I’ve seen better urban form in outlying Carmel buildings than than the one that I alluded to at the Fort.

      Regardless, I still think as a whole it is an intriguing project, and it gets more right than it does wrong.

      • No argument here: Lawrence is not Carmel. Of note: architectural review/approval is in place within the former Fort Harrison area.

  • Thanks for the article, Kevin. I haven’t been to this part of town in years. The fenestration on the lower levels still looks like it would be suitable for offices, which I presume the management company would happily take if retail doesn’t nibble.

  • No ground floor retail on the square??

  • Here’s an exercise. Go to Google Maps. Type in “56th & Post Rd. 46216”. Zoom in one click. In the same frame will appear these apartments and the various commercial storefronts within a couple hundred yards via sidewalks.
    Which is to say, a lot of stuff has already been buit very close by. There is no need for additional retail at the interior of the village yet.

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