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April 3, 2014

Point Of Entry in Jeffersonville: Gateway Development design plans approved

Construction to begin by June on project that will be visible from I-65 at 10th Street

JEFFERSONVILLE — Designs for what will someday be one of the first sights for many travelers into Jeffersonville were finalized Tuesday.

The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission approved the plans at a special meeting for the Jeffersonville Gateway Development, which will be visible from Interstate 65 at 10th Street. The board called for a special meeting so that they could approve the plans by the April 12 deadline.

The design plans, drafted by engineering firm Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz Inc., in partnership with White Reach Development, were the second set proposed to the board; the original plans were submitted in June. The development will feature restaurants, a hotel and Falls Landing park near the corner of Indiana Avenue and 10th Street.

Jorge Lanz, president of JTL, said the placement of a combined sewer storage interceptor has changed the design slightly.

“We’re limited as to where that can go because of other existing infrastructure in the city,” Lanz said. “Because of that pipe, we also had to move the location of the McDonald’s.”

The interceptor, which will be a 13-foot by eight-foot concrete box buried 25 feet under the ground to collect sewage, can’t lie under infrastructure.

“So you can build a parking lot on it, you can plant trees on top of it maybe, but you cannot build a building on top of it,” he said.

The gateway project will be built in two phases — with Phase 1 extending between 10th and Ninth streets, and Phase 2 between Ninth and Seventh streets. The deadline for substantial completion of Phase 1 is March 1, 2015 — a timeline that Lanz said is tight.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to start construction [of the interceptor] July 15 or so,” he said. “As you guys can see, it could have an effect on the development of this gateway project because once these restaurants are built there, there’s no tunneling.”

Other planned restaurants include a fast food establishment in a 3,750-square-foot building and a confirmed 1,800-square-foot Starbucks at the corner of Spring and 10th streets, both buildings on Phase 1 space. Phase 2 will have a 12,000-square-foot sit-down restaurant and a retention pond at the back of the development.

Redevelopment Commission President R. Monty Snelling said some of the possible restaurants that could end up on the development include Zaxby’s, Panera Bread and Cracker Barrel.

The other significant change to the design plans is the consolidation of two hotels into one. White Reach Development has had a couple offers from bigger hotel chains, which would allow them to build a proposed hotel that may reach as many as 11 floors with a high-end restaurant on top.

Snelling said the hotel would have about 500 rooms, which is the same number that the two hotels would have had combined.

One concern brought up at the meeting was the road access. Indiana Avenue, which will remain a one-way road, will run through the development and may cause some directional confusion.

“The best thing for the development would be a two way street, but INDOT, the Indiana Department of Transportation, is not going to allow it, but I’m knock-on-wood, 99 percent sure that they’re not going to shut us off,” Lanz said of an Indiana Avenue closure.

To alleviate any issues at the five-point intersection at Indiana Avenue, 10th and Spring streets, Lanz said the intersection at Ninth and Spring streets will be improved and made the main entrance of the gateway development. A one-way only sign will be placed at Indiana Avenue, as well.

Lanz said he doesn’t think the star intersection will deter anyone from entering the development.

“ ... When they see the golden arches, they’re going to want to get off and get right in,” he said of commuters on the I-65 ramp.

Construction is scheduled to begin May 30, and the completion date for the project will be Nov. 1, 2015.

Snelling said the site used to hold an old sewage plant and a used car lot, and was often the first part of the city that was visible from the expressway.

“That location has been kind of a blighted location for years,” he said. “This going to a be gateway into the city of Jeffersonville.”


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