The Crusader Newspaper Group

Emerson’s scattered housing sites back on horizon

Photo caption: ARCHITECTURAL RENDERING of luxury townhomes planned for Miller area of Gary

The real estate developer that brought Broadway Lofts, a mixed use residential and commercial complex to downtown Gary, is ready to begin the next phase — building affordable townhomes in the Emerson neighborhood.

At a meeting of the Gary city council’s Planning & Development Committee on May 9, 2023, the city’s Development Department asked the council to approve the transfer of 25 parcels in the Emerson area for inclusion in Pivotal Housing Partners’ proposal for scattered site townhomes. The parcels are city owned and part of a collection of properties once under the umbrella of the dissolved Gary Urban Enterprise Association.

Development Director Wendy Vachet said structures on all the parcels, except 2, have been demolished. The properties are in the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut Streets.

Broadway Lofts was built by the Miller Valentine Group, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pivotal is a rebranding of MVAH Partners, an entity of the MV Group.

The development agreement between Miller Valentine and the City of Gary did not have an easy approval in the Gary city council. There were skirmishes over tax abatements and a community benefits agreement. The conflict over the community benefits agreement resulted in the Prince Administration suing the city council.

Broadway Lofts opened for occupancy in 2022.

Pivotal representatives appear ed at a public hearing on the townhomes proposal at the May 16 city council meeting. The developer was asking the city to support the project with a contribution of $2.6 million from its American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Tuesday night’s committee meeting also heard another housing ordinance, this time for townhomes in the Miller neighborhood.

The Zoning Division of the Development Department presented an ordinance recommending a zoning change from residential to multifamily for the property location of 8324-26 Indian Boundary Road. The Zoning division asked the city council to approve the petition of property owner Keith Ramsey to construct 4 luxury townhomes on the site.

The Miller townhomes’ architect Karl Ramsey, Keith Ramsey’s brother, said the townhomes will be 3 floors each, valued between $450,000 and $500,000.

Some of the neighbors were not happy, with complaints of gentrification and the townhomes raising neighborhood property values that will bring an increase in property taxes. Architect Ramsey said some neighbors complained the townhomes would destroy the area’s natural landscape. Construction will require the lowering of a sand dune on the property.

The City Council approved both ordinances at the May 16th meeting.

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