Chicago developer builds new apartments near University Village
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - A Chicago developer known for innovative, architectural design is spending $15 million to build a new apartment complex near the University Village at Ball State University.
Brinshore Development, with 4,000 apartments and $1 billion in assets, came to Muncie this spring after finding a market of workers at two Muncie institutions, the university and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, that did not have new, close, affordable housing.
The old converted homes of student housing and some older apartment buildings near the Village don't have what working people now want in housing, said Brinshore President David Brint. And those households number around 2,000.
The plan calls for 80 new apartments in two and three story buildings in the 300 blocks of North Dill, Martin and Calvert streets, near where BSU proposes a $25 million hotel and conference center at University and McKinley avenues. The $15 million apartment development comes in 2013 after all zoning, variance and utility approvals are granted and should be ready by 2014. And federal tax credits for new housing will help finance the deal.
It is the second big apartment development in recent months after a North Carolina developer got zoning for a long vacant spot on McGalliard Road west of Oakwood Avenue where 200 more apartments will be built later this year.
It's been no secret that BSU intends to pull the plug on the largest housing complex on campus, LaFollette Hall, that has about 1,100 people living there. Depending on the state and their deep pockets, there's still no definite plan to replace those rooms.
On Monday, Muncie City Council took the first step for Brinshore to do more urban renewal near the university and approved zoning for the apartment development. The vote was 7-1 with council member Brad Polk voting no. Council member Julius Anderson was absent.
Peter Levavi, Brinshore senior vice president, assured local lawmakers that al zoning, utility and traffic issues would be addressed besides building a development that would impose a new urbanism design like the new public housing at Millennium and Centennial Place.
Brinshore will get variances for parking and building setbacks since only three city blocks are being used. And he assured council and some residents not in favor of living next to another BSU apartment building that Brinshore is a good neighbor and responsive to the community.
Last month, Brian Shaw, who lives on North Street, had mixed feelings given there were few recreational opportunities for children and he had experience flooding problems in his basement from clogged storm sewers.
Molly McMahan, an artist and longtime resident, was flat out opposed to more development, claiming Brinshore was telling a fairy tale that might not come true.
Council member Nora Powell, who lives in the historic East Central neighborhood, said Levavi addressed every issue she raised about the development, and was satisfied the Chicago company would be an asset to the community.
Polk was not so sure, given his questions about the height of apartment buildings and variances developers need for parking.